A few years ago, I was introduced to something nutty ... using nuts to clean my clothes. I know, I know, it sounds a little squirrely, but I assure you, it's worth a crack. Soap nuts are the shells or husks of the fruit of the Indian Soapberry Tree. The shells of the soapberry fruit contain the natural cleanser, saponin. So they are a non-processed, nontoxic, chemical-free cleanser that's perfect for cleaning. And because they are low-sudsing, they work very well in today's high technology washing machines.
I'm a big fan of using soap nuts in the laundry machine, because unlike most conventional laundry detergents, they don't send a lot of phosphates and synthetic perfumes down the drain. A few nuts will wash several loads, and then the husks can be tossed in the compost pile to minimize waste.
Where do you get these magical nuts? You can often find them at natural food stores or online at Maggies Pure Land or Laundry Tree. My new favorite brand is from Cheeky Maiden, a green mom of three who makes her own natural soaps and unrefined shea butter products after her little ones hit the hay each night.
So how do you use soap nuts to clean your clothes? This video gives you the scoop: