By Molly Gracey
Washing clothes is a tiresome weekly necessity, unless like most of us this year’s lockdown has had you re-wearing the same pair of stained sweats.
Regardless, the time is here for us to venture back into the outside world. Besides, along with ditching our elastic waistbands comes a laundry related issue which is ready to be addressed.
Not only does the expense of mainstream washing products swiftly add up, but the excessive use of plastic packaging is detrimental for our deteriorating ecosystem. Yet, what if we told you there was an option that’s both environmentally AND economically more friendly. Magically found within, the earth provided, soapnuts.
Soapnuts are berry shells that naturally contain a cleaning agent called saponin. When released, saponin penetrates the fibres of your clothing and evaporates stains from fabrics. The unwanted dirt then runs into the water, rinsing away any evidence of last night’s carb-filled indulgence.
On the contrary to years of glamorized advertising, foam doesn’t indicate how well a garment has cleaned. Soapnuts don’t contain nasty artificial lathering agents like their commercial counterparts, their invisible properties work without causing any chemical harm such as build-up to your machine or skin irritation.
Soapnuts are gently hypoallergenic, which makes them a perfect choice for sensitive skin. Their properties are mild enough to make them suitable for baby clothes, with the bonus of providing anti-bacterial properties, essential for our Coronavirus ridden times.
Furthermore, soapnuts are safe for those with nut allergies and won’t cause any reaction, purely gaining their name from the way they dry into hard shells, resembling a nut.
Lastly, one of the biggest plus points comes in the form of savings. Soapnuts can cut your laundry costs by over half, and although a kilo of them cost double the same amount of mainstream detergent they last on average a year, opposed to only 25 washes!
Washing Detergent Recipe
The benefits which come from choosing this natural alternative only gets better with the unbelievable ease of using them.
We have created a simple guide to get you going with your soapnut washing regime!
1. Place 4-8 soapnuts, dependant on grime, into a small muslin bag and tie securely.
2. Place the bag into a jar with warm water for 3 minutes, which helps to release the soap. Once taken out of the water five-ten drops of essential oils can optionally be added onto the wash bag for fragrance and further anti-bacterial properties.
3. Load your laundry and soaked bag into the drum of your washing machine and wash clothes normally as directed by care instructions.
4. As easy as that you now have your freshly soft washing! Save the shells, as they can be reused up to four more times.
Soapnuts are 100% biodegradable, so once they have finished helping your washing cycle’s you can throw them in the recycling of your food or green waste bin. Alternatively, they can even be left in your garden as they assist in fending off snails and slugs, along with combining in soil to make an organic fertiliser for plants.
Usage options continue through creating other cleaning aids outside of the drum, one of which, an easy foaming wash. Add newly redundant soapnuts into a blender with 500mls of water, blend, then pour into a separate container. This multi-purpose product can clean dishes and surfaces, work as a pet shampoo or even a body wash.
Our final verdict is conclusive that soapnuts are a welcome addition to creating a greener life in our homes, waving goodbye to throwing unnecessary money and plastics down our drains.