In light of our recent discussions and giveaway with soap nuts, I have received several repeated questions, so I thought I would share the responses for all to see! Italicized answers are from Chris Sicurella, the founder of NaturOli. Don’t miss the soap nuts giveaway!
By the way, several people have mentioned that they didn’t want to make the big purchase of soap nuts before giving them a try. You definitely do not have to! NaturOli offers many different sized packages of soap nuts – everything from a 5-load sample pack (like we are giving away!), 40 load package, to a 640+ bulk package. You save more money the larger quantity you buy, but definitely try the sample pack first! Check out NaturOli!
I also just discovered that Mountain Rose Herbs (my favorite frugal supplier of coconut oil) carries soap nuts. I have not tried their variety yet, but the prices appear to be even more reasonable than NaturOli. They offer 4 oz packages for $2.50, or 1 pound package for $7.00. Yahoo for soap nuts! After further research, I would not recommend you try MRH soap nuts. See below.
Question: Can you use them in HE washers?
Yes! They work beautifully in HE washers.
Question: Can you use these for front load washers?
Definitely! They actually work the best with front loaders as it provides more effective agitation.
Question: How do soap nuts do for people with sensitive skin?
Soap nuts are the best option for sensitive skin issues. There is nothing added to them that could irritate the skin.
Question: Is it important to buy organic soap nuts?
No. Soap nut trees grow in the wild and thus not subject to pesticides or chemical sprays. Secondly, bugs don’t like soap nuts anyway, so there is no need for chemicals.
Virtually all soap nuts, particularly of the higher quality mukorossi variety, are wild-crafted. They grow throughout the Himalayan foothills at relatively high elevations. The range is primarily from Southern China through Nepal and Northern India. Hence, the VAST majority are growing in lands virtually untouched by humans hands. Most of the land is not even private land.
That said, being wild-crafted mukorossi trees don’t even have much of an opportunity to be treated even if one wanted to. Now the VERY interesting part: Insects don’t like saponin. It is actually used as a natural insecticide by many people. It repels insects as most common soaps do. Also interesting: Saponin is naturally anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. It reminds me a lot of the olive tree. They are extremely hardy and rarely get sick or even develop pest problems. The life span of a mukorossi tree is around 90 years! Again, very similar to olive trees. They are very prolific fruit producers for 80 out of those 90 years.
Question: Do they work well for cloth diapers?
Yes, I have had great results using soap nuts to wash all my variety of cloth diapers. I have various pocket diapers, prefolds, covers and AIO’s and they are all clean and fresh smelling after using this soap nuts.
UPDATE: Please note that after extended use of soap nuts with my cloth diapers (Bum Genius pocket diapers), they started to repel and leak profusely. Once I switched back to Charlies Soap for my dipes, they began working properly. So I can unfortunately no longer recommend their use for cloth diapers.
Question: I have heard that soap nuts have anti-fertility concerns. Is this true?
Actual use of saponin as a contraceptive dates back to ancient Ayurvedic treatments. A few studies have been done. Here’s the BIG thing to note about any study like this: Look at the dosages. HUGE! It is the type of study that is specifically looking for results one way or another. I would never suggest soap nuts for use as a contraceptive either. Imagine what would happen if we were to ingest 50mg of SLS everyday. We probably be dead in a short period, right? Well, SLS is one of the leading ingredients in commercial detergents. It’s a matter of perspective and things should be kept so IMO. There are few and very inconclusive studies about saponin for biological treatments for this or that. Most are old and of Asian origins. Soap nuts are a natural detergent alternative. That’s it. It’s much healthier than continued exposure to the multitude of well studied known carcinogens out there.When so obscure, and so out of context (nobody is being injected themselves with high doses of saponin or eat them for birth control – surely you’d get pretty sick first) they really don’t have much genuine relevance to how they are actually being used.
Does that make sense? You will never be ingesting soap nuts in such huge quantities that might cause these affects. It just is not possible unless you consumed the liquid in such proportions, and who is going to do that?
Question: Do you have to use each batch up in one day? Do the 4-5 loads have to be done all in the same day? It sounded like from what I’ve read that it does or they’ll begin to mold.
No. You can use the same wash bag of soap nuts for an indefinite period of time as long as it is allowed dry between usage. If left in water (or kept wet somehow) for an extended period they most certainly would develop mold or other fungus. It’s a dried fruit and that would happen naturally. That’s all you need to remember. Once hydrated again, it will be just like any other fruit or vegetable.
Question: Can soap nuts be used for people with nut allergies?
According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
Soap nuts are hypoallergenic, and can be used safely by people with nut allergies as they are a fruit closely related to the Lycii/Goji berry. There seems to be little information about the internal uses of soap nuts, although they certainly have been used as a solution to clean fruits and vegetables, so the evidence does suggest that they are of a benign nature if ingested.
Question: Why don’t you recommend Mountain Rose Herbs soap nuts?
I believe this picture says it all comparing the NaturOli product with MRH. There is a huge difference in quality and effectiveness. Read this article comparing the two products here.
Hope that helps you all!
To find out all you need to know about soap nuts, visit Soap Nuts Pro.