Tag Archives | laundry detergent

Would You Wash Your Clothes with a Bag of Nuts?

DSC_0199 (3)I wrote about creating your own laundry detergent a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve been a little laundry obsessed since then. Believe me, that is not a normal obsession for me! As I was researching homemade laundry detergent, I came across the subject of soapnuts/soapberries.

Until last week, I had never tried these so I was skeptical. The soap nut grows on the tree Sapindus Mukorossi and looks like a nut although it’s truly a fruit. The shells contains saponins which are a natural detergent.

There are a variety of companies that sell soap nuts or products made from soap nuts. SoapBerries is one of those companies. They take the interior seed and replant it then put the shells in a compostable bag. It’s quite ingenious, simple and environmentally conscious. You can read more about more about SoapBerries on their site.

I received two free sample packs from Green Scientific, and I told the representative that I would try them out and give my opinion. I loved the eco-friendliness but wasn’t sure if they would actually get the clothes clean. I was very pleasantly surprised with the results.


I washed 6 loads of laundry with each sample. My washing machine is an HE and quite temperamental so any new products are a challenge. SoapBerries were simply awesome. Here are the best aspects:

  1. Easy – Throw a packet in the washing machine with your laundry. Use each pack 4-6 times and just lay the packet out to dry out a little between washes if you aren’t doing continuous loads.
  2. No Mess – I didn’t have detergent all over the place for a change. I’m not sure how I make such a mess with my detergent, but I end up with detergent everywhere even when I use liquid.
  3. No Residue in my washing machine which is a real issue for me in my HE washer. Typically, I wipe the inside ring of the washer after every single use with vinegar and a rag. Every detergent I’ve used leaves some residue in that ring in addition to lint and dog hair. I was surprised by how little I needed to clean out the ring in the washer.
  4. Clean Clothes – I did loads of towels which came out fluffy with no residue. We had some snow this past weekend so my daughter and I slid down the hill in my neighborhood which was more of a mud/snow hill than real snow. We had mud all over our clothes. I rinsed them out with water then threw them in the washer. I also died my hair with henna this weekend which ended up all over a turquoise tank top I had on. I rinsed it with water and threw it in with the muddy clothes. They all came totally clean!
  5. No Smell – Clean clothes shouldn’t have a mountain fresh smell. Clean clothes should have zero smell which was exactly the case with my clothes after washing them with SoapBerries. The berries themselves have a funny smell when they are wet, but your clothes come out clean with no fragrance.
  6. Fully Compostable Packaging – Easy to use and earth friendly!
  7. Inexpensive – Right now on their site, you can purchase two boxes for $39.98 (on sale). That’s enough to wash 240 loads of clothes (120 per box). That’s super cheap- actually it’s a few dollars cheaper than my homemade version.


Final Thoughts on SoapBerries

Frankly, I’m impressed! I would actually say that these SoapBerries are even better than my homemade laundry detergent at getting my clothes clean. As soon as I go through my box of homemade detergent, I plan to switch to SoapBerries. You can purchase SoapBerries here.


How about you? Have you ever used or heard of soap nuts? Let me know in the comments!


* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



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DIY Simple Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent


There are about a million different laundry detergent recipes out there so this should be nothing new if you are a forager of inexpensive DIY household recipes. This is my version, and I just made 3 batches this morning because it’s laundry day. It’s super easy, eco-friendly and inexpensive. You can even order the ingredients online and create the mix in less than an hour and get on with your life!


Grater – I set aside a cheap grater that I just keep in my laundry closet and only use for this purpose. You are only going to be grating soap with it though, so you can even just use your regular kitchen grater and rinse the soap off well when you are done!

Gloves – (Optional) I grated part of my fingernail into my laundry detergent this morning. Luckily it wasn’t part of my finger so gloves are a good idea if you are uncoordinated like me!

Container – An old laundry box would be a good re-purposed container. I use the larger plastic container in the photo to create my detergent and put a smaller amount  in the white container pictured (an old Oxy-clean container) on top of my washer for easy access.


1 Cup Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)

Washing soda works as a water softener, grease and stain remover. Apparently you can make your own from baking soda if you are having trouble finding it in stores.


1 Cup Borax (sodium borate)

Borax is a mineral similar to baking soda but stronger, with a higher pH. It’s antifungal, antibacterial, can dissolve dirt and remove odors.


1 Bar of Castile Soap

Castile soap is a mild soap made from plant oils.

Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint is my personal favorite because it’s eco-friendly and also smells great.


*Large Batches – I like to make large batches of this all at once using all the soap I have on hand. For instance, today I had 3 bars of soap so I grated all three bars of soap and added 3 cups of Washing Soda and 3 cups of Borax.


** Finding Ingredients – You can usually find all these ingredients near the laundry section. I was in Walmart a few days ago, and I found Washing Soda and Borax on the same isle as fabric softener and in the same area as baking soda, Oxy-clean and other laundry additives. The castile soap was in the bath/beauty section of the store. They did have a laundry soap – Zote, in the laundry section, but I was looking for a more eco-friendly option.


Grate the soap as finely as possible and add in the Borax and Washing Soda. Mix well. The soap will sink to the bottom of your container so just shake up the container before using.

Use 1 TBSP of laundry detergent per load. This detergent works great on baby clothes, gentle clothes, and is just fine for HE washers!



This detergent is low suds so it works great in high efficiency washing machines. I have actually noticed less build-up in my HE washing machine since switching to non-commercial detergent.



This detergent is extremely mild, and you could even use the unscented Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap to keep this even more mild. The nice thing about this detergent is that it actually works for the whole family so there is no need for separate detergents.


COST: Approximately $.20 load ($42.37 FOR 6 BATCHES)

I like to figure out cost based on all the ingredients you have to buy even if you don’t use up all of them since it’s not like you can order half a box of Borax. So, I’ll use Amazon’s prices for simplicity.

If you purchase through the links above on Amazon, you get 6 bars of Dr. Bronner’s soap, 55 oz of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and 76 oz of Borax for $42.37. This qualifies for free shipping so be sure to choose that option because Amazon will automatically choose standard shipping for you. Just click the free Super Saver Shipping option (5-8 days).

I love Amazon because for supplies like this because it’s no more expensive than going to the local super-store, and typically you’ll receive the items in less than a week. I’m not crazy about supporting big businesses, but for my laundry detergent I’d be buying those ingredients at Walmart otherwise so I prefer Amazon and not wasting half a day in Wally-world.

These ingredients will give you enough to make 6 batches of laundry detergent. You’ll have Borax left over (which you can use for a multitude of household recipes!) I would just go ahead and use the entire box of Washing Soda (close to 7 cups) and all 6 bars of soap, and just measure out 6 cups of Borax.

There are 16 tablespoons in 1 cup. Each batch of laundry detergent yields 2.5-3 cups so six batches will give you 15 cups conservatively. Six batches = 240 loads (15cups X 16TBPS per cup) That comes out to $.18 per load, and I just rounded up to $.20.



Buy the ingredients on Amazon in less than 5 minutes. Grating soap and mixing ingredients takes about 30 minutes. I grated 3 bars of soap and mixed up 3 batches of detergent this morning in about 20 minutes but if you ordered enough for 6 batches, you’d probably spend close to an hour including order time, grating time and mixing up the ingredients.


The Easiest, Most Economical, Most Eco-friendly 1 Ingredient Detergent – Soapnuts

Wellness Mama’s Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent

Crunchy Betty’s Laundry Detergent Recipe

Eco-nuts - Great eco-friendly laundry detergent if you don’t want to make your own.


How about you? Do you make your own laundry detergent? Let me know in the comments any tips or special ingredients you use in your homemade laundry detergent!

 Laundry Detergent 2

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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