Natural Laundry Soap- Soapnuts!




This is what I’ve been using for my laundry for the past three weeks. Soapnuts. Is that wild or what? These little berries clean my laundry.  I put three in a little drawstring bag, drop in with my clothes, and they get everything all clean!

At first I thought I was not going to let the bag with soap nuts go through the rinse cycle, because it couldn’t be good to let there be soap in the rinse water, right? After fishing the little bag out a couple times, I kept forgetting, and my clothing still comes out clean. No residue, no chemical stink, no nothin’ but clean clothes!

About every 5 wash loads I toss the older soap nuts and replace them with new ones in the little drawstring bag.   To check if the soapnuts still are going to work in your laundry, you can put them in a little water and shake up, watching to see if bubbles form.

a stack of clean cloth diapers

Before recommending these to you, I wanted to try them for a couple weeks. I can gladly say that they work on my laundry! My husband does construction, you know I cook a lot (and don’t always use an apron), and the baby is in cloth diapers, so I think we’re a pretty good test of what laundry detergent works.  I still used Oxyclean on a few of the kids’ clothes when sleeves were dragged through food. But for detergent, SoapNuts was it for the past few weeks, and I’m sold!

Why are SoapNuts better than my current laundry detergent?

Quite honestly, I’m thrilled to be done with the bulky detergent containers.  And usually detergent doesn’t have a list of ingredients on the box or container like food does, so to find out what’s being put next to your skin and you’re breathing in, you have to do a bit of research. Soapnuts are completely in their natural state, and other than the recycled box they were shipped in, there is no waste involved in packaging.

Soap Nuts - 100 percent natural laundry detergentWhen we were first married, I used Mountain Tide “because then you can tell the clothes are clean” (because of the chemicals oozing out of the newly washed clothes).  When I was pregnant, I bought a box of Dreft because that’s what you’re supposed to use on baby’s clothes, right? But I wasn’t impressed with the synthetic smell.  So when I saw that Costco had a ‘natural’ laundry detergent, that’s what I switched to for a few years.  Somewhere along the line when I ran out of Kirkland detergent, I stopped in Target and bought Seventh Generation because Target is closer than Costco and I didn’t want to drive across down.  The Seventh Generation gives my baby a rash, so I can’t use it on diapers, though he does fine with it on his clothes.

So, what would be in these detergents that might be harmful?

The chemical links go to Cosmetics Database, which is what I used when I was trying to figure out whether I should be slathering sunscreen on my baby or not.

 As far as switching to natural products goes, using soapnuts is a fairly easy change to make.  It doesn’t cost much ($8.90 for 40 loads’ worth of soap nuts= 22 cents a load- even less expensive if you buy bigger quantities), doesn’t take any extra time on your part, and it’s not changing something that most kids are going to notice.

I’ve been really happy with how they clean our clothes. When the soapnuts came in the mail, the kids had a couple shirts that smelled like cod liver oil despite being washed in hot water multiple times with my Kirkland detergent.  I don’t know if it was just one more wash cycle that they needed, but after washing once with soapnuts, the smell was gone and it hasn’t come back.  I’m impressed!

Buying in bulk (buy here) can cost as low as 9 cents a load!
And you can get just a sampler at first (buy here) to see what you think.

More: See my review on their natural liquid soapnuts detergent (After using both, I do like the soapnuts better for laundry, but use the liquid for cleaning.

Full Disclosure: I do get a referral kickback when you order through my link, but I only promote products and companies that I personally use (like Tropical Traditions, Mountain Rose Herbs, and Amazon) and I think are a good value.

Part of Finer Things Friday
Part of Works for Me Wednesday
Part of Somewhat Crunchy’s Natural Cleaner roundup

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About Cara

Cara is the main author here at Health Home and Happiness. She loves the health and energy that eating well and playing well provides and has a goal to share what she's learned with as many families interested in making healthy changes as possible.

She helps other families achieve health in simple steps with the GAPS Starter Package, The Empowered Mother Pregnancy Resource, and helps them stock their freezer for busy days with Grain-Free Freezer Cooking Guide.


  1. I LOVE SOAPNUTS!!! My son’s rash on his arms is gone and I think soapnuts are the cure. But I have a question: do you use anything to add a scent in the wash? My husband complains that his LINE DRIED items “stink”. I think they smell good – and I have the more sensitive nose! He doesn’t have a problem with stuff that goes through the dryer b/c I still use dryer sheets (although if you know of a good alternative, I’d love to try one). Just the stuff that goes only in the washer w/ soapnuts and hang to dry. Thanks for all your great tips!

    • That’s great!

    • As far as alternatives to dryer sheets, I use vinegar in the rinse cycle (instead of liquid fabric softener) which works okay to soften. I have also used tennis balls (clean ones) or dryer balls. They work pretty well to soften too.

  2. Throw a rag with a few drops of essential oil (like lavender/peppermint/whatever) in your drier (instead of drier sheets), you could try it in the washer too, and if they don’t smell from that, try to make a liquid soapnut-solution and add a few drops of essential oils to it.
    Good luck =)

  3. Would Soapnuts work in a HE(Front-loading) machine? Would you use 3 ‘nuts’ or would you use less?

  4. June Parsons says:

    Hi Guys
    I used soapnuts for a year and eventually went back to an eco friendly washing powder. Very slowly my husband’s business shirts went grey and collar stains remained. Faint stains on lighter coloured clothes remained for many washes and actually didn’t go until I used a commercial powder. Maybe alternating soapnuts with eco-friendly might work. Sorry!
    June, Australia

    • Maybe another idea would be spot-treating collar stains and spots? I have a really helpful book “A Naturally Clean Home” that gives “formulae” for each type of stain (really simple stuf like hot water, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, salt, etc). For whiter whites maybe a hot wash with a water-softening agent and natural O2 powder with a vinegar rinse once in a while would help?


  1. […] still love doing my laundry with soapnuts and I ordered more last week.  I’m guessing the $40 I spent on them will last me […]

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