As I typed the words “Soap Nuts” I had to chuckle. ‘Cause it really sounded like people who are “crazy about soap” and, well… isn’t it a little odd to be nuts about soap? Crazy about cheese maybe… chocolate for sure, but soap?
In truth, however, I am a bit crazy about soap: scented & silky handmade bars for bathing and now these chunky natural tree berries (“soap nuts”) that will actually produce soap as they wash your clothes. How cool is that–in a Euell Gibbons eats trees, chunky granola kind of way!
So when I was offered a review/giveaway of Eco Nuts soap nuts, liquid soap, and wool dryer balls, I jumped on it. “Try soap nuts“— now off the bucket list!
What are soap nuts
If you haven’t heard of soap nuts before, they are the shell of a berry (so not technically a nut) that contains a natural soap called saponin. They grows on the Sapindus mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas. Soap nuts are gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin, eczema, allergies and psoriasis—even for baby clothes and cloth diapers.
Eco Nuts Soap Nuts are great for septic and grey water systems—and they work in both regular and HE washers. Unlike commercial laundry detergents, soap nuts do not contain artificial foaming agents that produce lots of bubbles or foam. Don’t worry–foam is not an indicator of cleaning power (many handmade soaps and shampoos foam less too…)!
Eco Nuts Soap Nuts are even wild-harvested and certified organic. Saponin tastes bad to insects (“wash your mouth out with soap??”) so pesticides aren’t needed, and the trees naturally love poor uncultivated soil. How cool is that!
My husband is in charge of the laundry so he was tasked with trying out our sample products. He started with the liquid soap nuts and washed a test load of normal laundry plus a “kitchen rag” that had been used to clean out a really grimy grill pan. Result: clothes looked great, rag did not. So he rewashed the rag in conventional detergent PLUS BLEACH; it still looked awful. Conclusion(s): The econuts worked great. Don’t clean a grill pan with a cloth you ever expect to look good again.
He then tried a load with the actual soap nuts. Since you reuse these, they go into a cloth bag which you toss in with your laundry. The soap nuts worked beautifully as well. So with two thumbs up, we moved on to the dryer balls.
Now my husband and I are old hands at dryer balls and first started using them when we read about the chemicals (yuk) contained in dryer sheets. Our kids were tiny then which meant we were doing a ton of static producing (and chemical filled) drying. Dryer balls soften and help dry clothes by fluffing and separating them so you don’t have a sodden mass of towels thunking around your dryer. So when we spotted a package of plastic dryer balls at the State Fair we were hopeful, then happy when they seemed to do the trick.
When Econuts mentioned that their dryer balls were made of wool, however, that sounded even better. Especially as I was hit with a flash of eeuuwww, you’ve been bouncing overheated plastic in your kids’ laundry for years. My husband gave them a try, then carried a folded load up two flights of stairs for me to pat saying “I think these are even softer.”
Another listed benefit of dryer balls is to reduce drying time but we didn’t go so far as to test this. In my mind skipping the dryer sheets alone justifies the balls. Of course when my visiting (barely) adult daughter (now adjusting to paying her own laundry costs), heard about this, she picked one up and stroked it enviously. (Any bets on how long it takes her to talk us out of them?)
For another take on dryer balls, see this post by the Cloth Diaper Guru. Yes, for kids of all ages!
The Eco Nuts Company
Eco Nuts founders Mona and Scott give us a hint the the company’s origin on their website saying, “It bothered us that when we took walks on the beach, it was littered with the plastic bottles of so-called eco-friendly detergents and cleaners.” So when Scott’s uncle recommended soap nuts for Mona’s skin allergies, an idea was born. At the time there was a handful of small companies selling them to consumers—and these were routinely packaged in a lot of plastic.
Mona, a scientist, was also surprised to find that the sellers knew little about them other than that “they work great” and thus had little ability to troubleshoot problems. “We realized we could not only package and market soap nuts better than anyone else, but we could also build upon the wonderful properties of saponin and create other products. We called our company `Eco Nuts,’ which we thought was a great description for these fantastic little berries as well as wonderful play on words for people like us who are crazy about the environment. We hope you will join us by becoming an Eco Nut, too!”
And Now for the Giveaway
This is sponsored by Eco Nuts and includes the items I received (liquid soap, soap nuts, dryer balls). It is open to U.S. mailing addresses and closes at midnight CST on November 29 (right after Thanksgiving when you’ll have lots of dish towels to wash, right?). To enter leave a comment telling me what you are doing to live greener. For a second entry follow Art of Natural Living on Facebook and leave a second comment letting me know this (current followers can leave a second comment letting me know you are already a follower). The winner will be picked randomly, contacted by email and have 24 hours to get back to me with shipping information or a new winner will be chosen.
And If you don’t want to wait to check them out, take a look at this $5 (free shipping in the U.S. even) three product trial pack. Hmm, doesn’t that sound like a nice college care package? (Okay at the moment, just post press, the free shipping isn’t working correctly, but they were happy to take my order online–so I can attest to nice support folks too)
- Thyme Marinated Tender Pork Chops
- Fall Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad