Soap Nut FAQ's
I don’t see suds. Are the soapnuts working?
The quantity of suds do not have any bearing on the effectiveness of the cleaning product. Although some soaps by nature are foaming, commercial detergents are generally low foaming with a foaming agent added to increase the perception of cleaning power. A surfactant is something that reduces water’s surface tension allowing water to break up dirt, grease and grime from fabrics. Continued sudsing is not required for effective cleaning. New “high efficiency” washing machines prove this by requiring detergents that produce very little suds, and this is why soapnuts are ideal for these washers.
Can I use soapnuts with cold water?
Yes! It's best to soak the soanuts just prior to using in hot water to release the saponins. The saponins release more slowly in cold water but they still work effectively.
Are they safe to use in all machines (front and top loaders)?
Absolutely - just remember to keep them in the cotton wash bag provided (or alternatively an old sock tied at the top) to avoid the shells sticking in any filters in your machine. If the nuts have come free in the wash check your filter to ensure none have become lodged. Soapnuts are superb in front loaders as the process of tumbling the laundry is actually better than top-loading agitators – further facilitating the release of the soapnuts saponin.
Do I need to remove the soapnut bag prior to the rinse cycle?
No, you do not need to remove the bag. Saponin is so mild that it will not be problematic, and is totally non-irritating to the skin. However, if you do choose to remove the bag prior to the rinse cycle you may get more washes out of the soapnuts.
Do I need to use fabric softener?
The saponins contained in soapnuts leave your laundry beautifully soft so there should be no need for further softeners.
Can you use soapnuts if you have a nut allergy?
Soapnuts despite the name are NOT actually nuts: they are a BERRY. They are not part of the nut family and won’t cause any nut allergy.
Can I use soapnuts if I have sensitive skin?
Soapnuts are ideal for people with allergies or sensitive skin, being 100% natural, free of sysnthetic chemicals, and hypoallergenic. They are recommended for people who are sensitive to the perfumes and dyes used in most commercial detergents. People who suffer from eczema, psoriasis and rosacea often report relief with soapnuts.
Will my whites stay white?
As soap nuts are free from chemical whiteners and bleaches you may find yourself looking for something to reinvigorate that sparkling white appearance over time. To do this you can add 50ml of lemon juice or 1 teaspoon of citric acid to your rinse cycle per kilogram of clothing.
Will my colours stay true?
Another advantage of soap nuts is that without chemical whiteners and bleaches your colours will not be faded as quickly as with other laundry detergents. Without the addition of reflective optical brighteners found in washing powders your colours will show their natural brightness wash after wash.
Will they remove stains?
They are effective at removing everyday stains but you may need to use a separate stain treatment for more stubborn ones. Of course, there will always be difficult stains, like those containing zinc for example, that will always require special treatment. Lipstick is a classic example.
For a really dirty load, we recommend using half the load size with the usual quantity of soapnuts. When you do use hotter washes (e.g. 60C +) you will probably only get around one or two washes out of one batch of soapnut shells.
Can soapnuts be used to handwash clothes?
Yes you can either make up a liquid soap or else you can soak them for a few minutes in their bag in warm water.
I live in a hard water area, are soapnuts still suitable?
If you are supplied with 'hard water', water that is heavily laden with minerals, your clothing will naturally grey in time as the mineral deposits build up in the garment. To prevent this, use soapnuts as recommended and add ¼ cup baking soda to the wash water or half a cup of vinegar to your rinse water for a full load. Please be aware that clothes will not have the same level of softness as they would without the vinegar.
Can I add fragrance to my wash?
As your clothes slowly relinquish the chemical residue from previous washings they will develop the odour that any fabric typically has when wet. It is noticeable as a woody or earthy odour when wet and simply disappears when dry. It is a natural phenomenon just like the smell of surrounding plants just after it has rained.
If you prefer your wet items not to produce this scent or you miss that 'fresh' smell that your previous detergent had then add a few drops of your favorite essential oil either to the wash bag or to the fabric softener dispenser. Adding Citronella/lemon grass oil would help keep away mosquitoes – particularly when washing children’s clothes.
How do I store my Soapnuts?
Keep your soapnut shells in a dry place. Moisture can lead to early saponin release, and possible mould or mildew. Provided soapnuts are kept in a dry place they should remain as effective as the day you bought them.
Can soapnuts be eaten?
We do NOT recommend eating Soap in a Nutshell soapnuts or soapnut powder. They are being sold purely as a cleaning product and should not be ingested.