I just got my first box of soap nuts, also known as soap berries, in the mail. I wrote a blog on them several months ago and had been meaning to buy some. I couldn’t find any locally but truth be told, I didn’t look very hard. I ended up ordering some online…my favorite kind of shopping– in my jammies with out pushing a shopping cart with children clinging to the sides or begging for junk. I ordered a box of Eco Nuts.

When the package finally arrived a few days later, I marveled at how light it was. The box of Eco Nuts was small, about the size of a large grapefruit except square. It said it contained enough soap nuts for 100 loads of laundry. It had cost about the same as the liquid detergent I usually buy, $11.50 plus tax. The detergent I buy will also do about 100 loads, or so it claims, but the bottle is extremely large and heavy. Anything that saves space is a winner with me as our house is small and storage is limited.

Since I had a pile of laundry ready and waiting (surprise!) I tried them immediately. I put the suggested 4 to 5 nuts in one of the two muslin bags that came with them, set the wash to warm with a cold rinse and let the saponins in the soap nuts do their thing. When the cycle was complete, I grabbed a handful of laundry and suspiciously sniffed at it. I couldn’t really smell…anything. It was strange. I stuffed the clothes into the  dryer before I realized that I must have stuffed the little muslin bag in with them. I had to sort through the clothes to find it which was an extra step. When I found it I took one of the nuts out and gave it a squeeze. Some small frothy bubbles squished out. They were still intact and according to the box, good for another nine loads.

When I finally pulled the clothes from the drier I smelled them again. They smelled clean and that was it. There was no other scent whatsoever. They also felt extremely soft. I was impressed and since my mother was visiting, I had her sniff the clothes. Anything artificially scented gives her a headache so I knew she could sniff out the slightest odor. Even she was impressed.  I sent her home with the extra little muslin bag and her own five soap berries to try.

I’ve done about three loads of laundry with my first bag of soap nuts so far. My laundry is softer (I never use fabric softener) and doesn’t smell like much of anything, which is fine with me. The soap nuts are fairly priced, the box is small and light and when I’m done I’ll toss them on the compost pile. There is really wasn’t anything I disliked about them. Now I just need to try them out on my cloth diapers though I’ll have to get some advice first so if you can give me any, please do! If you wash your cloth diapers with soap nuts, do you do a prewash or rinse or any sort first? Do you add anything else? If you’ve tried them, what do you think?

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