This was my first experience with soap nuts I received these and their wool dryer balls at a discounted price to facilitate this review. The following are my honest and unbiased opinions.
I have a desire to go more green in my everyday life. One area that I know we need improvement on is in the laundry room. My husband has a messy job that leaves his clothes covered in chemicals and my son has eczema. It can be tough to find a soap that is strong enough to clean my husband’s greasy work clothes but gentle enough to not exacerbate my son’s skin. Until now it meant using two different soaps for their laundry.
I’ll admit that I was super-sceptical when I first took a look at these things. Whether you call them nuts or berries, I wasn’t convinced they would clean my clothes. At first I didn’t find the directions very clear, but once I found the smaller canvas bag inside the larger bag I understood that I was only supposed to use a few nuts. I do wish they were a bit more specific on how much. I filled the bag about halfway with the nuts and then banged it on the counter to break them up, as suggested.
Before using them to wash your laundry, you need to “activate” the the soap berries. If you have a standard top-load machine, this involves just running the little bag under the hot water as it fills. If you use an HE machine like we do, you will need to soak them in hot water (or presumably run them under a hot water faucet) before using. For me this step was a bit of an inconvenience, because there isn’t really a handy sink near our laundry room. I just ran the bag under hot water in the sink before heading to the laundry room with our hampers.
Running the bag full of soap nuts under water immediately removed some of my skepticism. It was really cool to see the bag soap up and my sink fill up with bubbles under the flow of hot water. (Video coming soon!) There is a slight vinegar-y scent that intensified under the hot water, but it was not overpowering.
The clothes came out as clean as they do with our pricey name-brand laundry detergent. Everything smelled fresh without any hint of the vinegar smell I detected earlier. They say that you can dry the bag right with your laundry, but I had several loads to do so I just tossed it in with the next load. It worked just as well on the second load. The third laundry load was a bit smaller, but didn’t seem to be as clean. They do say that a batch of nuts will last about three loads, but I was doing pretty large loads. I just dumped out the little bag into the trash and refilled to rewash. I now add a few more of the soap nuts when I’m doing larger loads.
I wish the bag sealed closed a bit better. I did have some stray pieces of soap berries left in the washing machine and dryer. I even found a piece in my pants pocket. It’s not that big of a deal, but it was an annoyance.
I was really amazed that it cleaned my husband’s work clothes. He works with a lot of chemical products at work and they make a mess of his clothes. They never quite smell clean to me… even with a scented detergent… but with the soap berries they come out smelling fresh. The work clothes also tend to have an oily feel even after repeated washings, but that is now gone. All this cleaning power and it’s still gentle on my son’s skin. I’m very impressed!
I have not yet had a chance to use the soap nuts for cleaning in other areas of the home, but I am very confident that it will work well. They have been a great addition to our laundry routine.
Pros: No harsh or toxic chemicals. No unnatural fragrance. Effective. Multi-purpose.
Cons: Some inconvenience for HE washers if you don’t have a sink nearby. Left a few “berry” pieces behind in machines and on clothes.
Little Lamb Soap Nuts differ from regular laundry detergents, both in liquid and powder form, which contain numerous harsh chemicals which are toxic to the environment and even more dangerous to many people who have serious allergic reactions to them. When these dried berries are submerged in water, they release a natural surfactant (or soap). These Soap nuts which are also known as soap berries are placed inside a bag (provided) which is then placed inside the washer where the hot water activates the Saponin in the soap berries. It’s absolutely amazing! Soap nuts are good for your skin, good for our water streams, and good for your budget. With soap nuts, you won’t need another cleaning product in your house. When you boil a handful of soap nuts in a quart of water, the liquid will make the best anit-bacterial, anti-fungal product you’ve ever used. It’s great on dishes, granite, stainless steel, glass, ceramic, and wood. ($29.99; Buy on Amazon for $14.95)