I received a pouch of Soap Nuts as a parting gift at a wedding last year and, like most wedding favors, they became lost, this time in the chaos of my bathroom closet. The question of “to give or not to give” favors was one that was often presented to us by brides when we were involved with Thallo full time. Our answer was usually no, since both of us had, at one point, tossed favors that deserved more attention into our messy closets, never to be found or used. The fate of wedding favors all too often involved the floor of a car or the very same position the favor was placed by a frantic mother of the bride (or florist) long after the party ended. When one takes into account the expense involved, it is one place we would suggest the budget-conscious bride trim.
I am happy though that as I reorganized my bathroom this month, the soap nuts reappeared. They are an all natural laundry soap, used for thousands of years by native Asians and Native Americans and an especially popular ingredient in Ayurvedic recipes. Four small pods, similar in size and color to a chestnut, inside a muslin drawstring bag can be thrown into your washer as an alternative to conventional detergent.
My least favorite chore is laundry and I usually put it off until my undergarmet selection is ridiculously low (or tight). As I embarked on an epic laundry endeavor this morning, I ran out of detergent. Well, of course I did. Convinced finishing the laundry today would provide me with a real sense of accomplishment and relief, I persevered and tossed the soap nuts in with my next load. They can be used repeatedly and cost between 9-12 cents per load.
I didn’t expect to be as pleased with the results as I actually was! I love to use natural products in the home, but sometimes the old Sara has a hard time getting used to new habits. I crave the scent of Fabuloso! And Tide with Febreze. The truth is, however, those products do contain harsh chemicals.
The soap nuts left my clothing soft and lightly scented. I don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets, but the clothes felt as though I did. I was surprised how much residual detergent scent remained after the soap nut wash and couldn’t help but think what this might mean for my skin? What about the waste water from the washer that contains these chemicals? Straight into the aquifer? No bueno.
So soap nuts might become my next clean living habit. If I can reduce my carbon footprint and avoid exposure to chemicals, maybe laundry will become a bit more enjoyable? Doubt it!
Please share any experiences you might have with eco-friendly cleaning agents so I can learn!