Soap Nut Laundry FAQ

How do soap nuts work?
Soap nuts have what is called saponin in them, which is a surfactant.  Soap nuts are natural surfactants rather than chemically manufactured like most detergents.  Surfactants break the dirt free from the fabrics in combination with the agitation of your washing machine.  

How do I get the most out of my soap nuts?
Use your soap nuts in your preferred method and when they are done you can often get more out of them if you boil them.  Then use the liquid from boiling them to do some more laundry.  After that they are completely used up and ready to be composted.   

What if I have a nut allergy?

Soap Nuts are actually a fruit and not a nut.  So nut allergies have no bearing on using soap nuts.  
Are soap nuts safe for my HE (High Efficiency) washing machine?
Soap nuts are low sudsing and perfect for HE machines.  In fact, the number one cause of washing machine breakdown is residue buildup and soap nuts leave no residue, they help clean residue left from previous detergents.  

Do I use the soap dispenser in my washing machine?
Yes you should use the soap dispenser compartment using either of the liquid methods or soaking your soap nuts for a minute in warm water.  Then put the warm water into the dispenser.  This actually will help clean out the dispenser and the plumbing of your washing machine since other detergents build up residue.  

What if I have hard water?
If you have hard water soap nuts actually help to soften it during washing.  You may find, depending on how hard your water is, that you need to add a few more soap nuts per load.  We typically say treated water 5-6 soap nuts and hard water is 7-8 soap nuts.  

Will they work in cold water?
Soap nuts will work in cold water but should be activated using warm water.  Simply soak your soap nuts in a small amount of warm water for 1-2 minutes or use either of the liquid methods.  For really dirty loads though warm or hot water is best, which is true of all detergents.  

Do soap nuts leave a residue?

Soap nuts do not leave a residue, in fact it actually will clean away residue left by other detergents over time.  

What if my soap nuts go through the dryer?
They are still good to be used, just follow the normal instructions.  It may, however, reduce the life of the soap nuts. 

Will soap nuts keep my whites white?
Soap nuts do not have a natural bleaching effect on whites because they are free of whiteners or bleaches.  Some people add 50ml of lemon juice or 1 teaspoon of citric acid to their rinse cycle.  Others add a scoop of oxygen bleach or a half cup of distilled vinegar to brighten fabrics.    

Will soap nuts go bad?
If stored properly in an air tight container the soap nuts themselves can last indefinitely.  They do absorb moisture quite well and can turn a darker colour and get sticky if exposed to too much moisture but will still clean.  Once they are added to water they only last about 1-2 weeks before they will start to ferment.  

Are soap nuts ok for my pets?
Soap nuts are great for your pets.  Soap nuts make a great shampoo and are a natural deterrent for fleas, ticks and mites.  The odour eliminating power of soap nuts works wonders on your animals.  

How can I tell if my soap nuts should be discarded and replaced?
The easiest way is if they no longer produce suds in water, they no longer have adequate saponin for your laundry.  Easiest way to achieve this is to soak them (can be kept in the washbag) in a small glass jar for a minute and then shake the bottle, if suds are produced, they are still good to use, if no suds it is time to replace them. 

Are soap nuts safe for those with sensitive skin?
We began using them 14 years ago because of sensitive skin in our family.  You will be hard pressed to find a detergent more beneficial for your skin.  It actually is not just hypo-allergenic but it is beneficial for your skin which is why we make shampoo and body soap out of the soap nut liquid.  

What do I do with the shells once they are used up?
They can go in your green garbage or you can compost them as they are all natural and organic.  

Are soap nuts safe for delicate fabrics?
Soap nuts are actually the best detergent you can use for delicate fabrics because there is no residue that clogs the space between fabric in clothes leading to gradual degradation.  Your clothes will last longer and maintain their colour longer using soap nuts.  

What sort of smell do soap nuts have?
Prior to using and as a liquid or added to water they have a sort of vinegar like smell, some describe as fermented smell.  After washing they leave no odour, in fact are infamous for removing odours.  We have mechanics, horse owners, and pet owners who swear by soap nuts for eliminating harsh odours.  

Are soap nuts good for cloth diapers?
Soap nuts are safe to use on cloth diapers and the most gentle detergent on cloth diapers.  

Are soap nuts good on really dirty laundry?
Soap nuts do as good a job as other detergents but for really dirty loads we do suggest you add a few extra soap nuts and also make sure to use fresh soap nuts.  That way you get the most saponin for dealing with the extra dirt.  

Will soap nuts remove stains?

Soap nuts will deal with some stains but typically no better than other detergents.  You will still need a stain remover for those really annoying stains.  If you want an alternative to harsh chemicals we make an all natural stain remover bar.