Thursday, November 06, 2008

wash nuts

You know me and laundry. I'm still making my own laundry soap, but my friend Michelle brought these "waschnusse" back from Germany and of course I'm game for cleaning clothes with something that just grows in nature. On a tree, I presume?


According to Michelle (who reads and speaks way more German than I, rest assured), you put two "nusse" in the little muslin bag and throw it in with your wash. That's it.

The nuts are good for three loads. The nut itself has the the slightest hint of an unpleasant scent to it (to my nose, anyway), but when I tried them last week the laundry itself smelled fine. I think she also mentioned that you can add essential oils to them for custom-scented laundry, but I'll have to confirm that next time I see her.


Since our building has recently switched to some really fantastic high efficiency machines (love them!), I didn't know whether I should use just one nut instead. But it's not like the nuts get all bubbly or anything, so two worked just fine. Besides, I doubt they're growing high efficency waschnusse anyplace.

Does anyone know anything about these? Can you buy them in the states? And if so, where and by what name? Anyone know what tree/bush/plant wash nuts come from? I'm quite fascinated.

21 comments:

  1. I think they're from a 'soap tree' in India - I'm from Australia and we have them here so I'm sure you can get them there. I've been using them and they wash fine - the only downside is you have to wash in hot water to soften the nuts to release the 'soap'. So for all their eco-friendliness the bad thing is having to wash in hot water when cold is better for the environment :)

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  2. Carli, that's good to know. I don't love using hot water for laundry. Hmm, maybe I'd better run that load again?

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  3. I read about these once. I found this website where you can order them in the US and get more info: http://www.ecohousekeeping.com/soapnuts.html

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  4. they LOOK like chestnuts. but the chestnuts I've known, I would not dare to wash. I'll be interested to hear what you think of them after more washings.

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  5. funny, I blogged about getting some of these to try a few weeks ago!!

    I'm in Australia, so I have no idea where to get them in the states, but I do put essential oil in with my wash too.

    I love that I can compost them when I am done :-)

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  6. Looks like you can also get them here with the essential oils too. soapnut-shop.com

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  7. You can get them here:
    http://www.bubbleandbee.com/servlet/the-104/Organic-Soap-Nuts/Detail

    They are a super-nice business that sends you a "how-to" pamphlet with the soapnuts. I have only used them for delicates and lightly-soileds so far ... I don't think they would stand up to barn/garden/pet laundry! (We'll see ...) They are excellent for people with skin sensitivities, like me. I read somewhere (maybe the pamphlet?) that conservationists in museums use them to wash antique fabrics; they're that gentle.

    On an unrelated note, Bubble & Bee also make the best natural deodorant I've ever tried: Pit Putty! (Believe me, it even helped clear up my underarm eczema. This stuff is miracle material.)

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  8. Can't wait to see what you find out. This is very intriguing!

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  9. Hey all, here's what Mirjam just wrote me on the topic: "Soapnuts come from a 15-30 meter high tree grown in India and Nepal, Sapindus Mukorossi. The shells contain saponin, hence the name and the bubbles. Mukorissi is known as the big soaptree, the nuts from the little soaptree contain less saponin, so they are less effective.
    You can wash at any temperature. The nuts keep longer though at lower temps, 1 wash at 90°C, 3 washes at 30-40°C. After that they can go in the compost bin. No need for any softener. And yes, you can add essential oils. It's very mild, good for allergic people, you can even clean your jewelry in it."

    Thanks, Mirjam and everyone who has commented. This IS interesting!

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  10. Oooooh Soap-nuts! I just started using them last month. The daughter of a lady I work with sells them on her website: http://thebabymarketplace.com/ she brought me a sample and I loved them so much I put in a few orders. You can actually boil them in water and use the liquid in your wash, or as a general household cleaner. Put it in a spray bottle with a little water and use on the kitchen sink, you wouldn't believe how it sparkles!
    Here's the direct link to the nuts, bottom of page: http://thebabymarketplace.com/securestore/c25003.2.html

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  11. They're called soap nuts here in New Zealand. Apparently Soap nuts can be used for cleaning basically anything, from washing clothes, as a liquid soap, cleaning and shining ornaments, household cleaner etc. The fact that you have to use them in a hot wash is a bit of a bummer but they're a cool alternative anyway.

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  12. http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5689268

    These are the cheapest I've seen.

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  13. A low cost, green eco friendly, healthy natural way to clean, deal with lice, aphids and much more is to make a homemade liquid from soapberry which grows on the Chinaberry tree and has been used for thousands of years. It works very effectively.

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  14. I lived in Germany for a long time and they look like chestnuts to me. I cannot imagine throwing them in the wash, but I'd be anxious to see what they do...

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  15. We use Maggie's Pure Land Soap nuts in our household. You can use them in cold or hot water, it's your choice.

    Here is a link to the Instructions:
    http://www.maggiespureland.com/learn.html

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  16. We have tons of trees around here that drop nuts that look JUST like these. I think they're called horse chestnuts and whether they're the same thing as you have I'm not sure but they really do look exactly like those in your pictures.

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  17. I've been using them for awhile, I get mine from Maggie's.

    I only use cold water and they get everything clean, including mud covered jeans. I've never had to rewash a load.

    I love them. Not only do we have super sensitive skin, but I am extremly sensitive to smells. It is the first time I've ever had soft laundry, because I've never been able to use a softner and the soap nuts leave everything super soft.

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  18. Thank you for the links to the recipes ,I will be trying one of those soon.
    I think you waschnusse look like some sort of chestnut...?
    Andrea

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  19. I'm originally from Germany and the Waschnuesse are all the hype there. My mom, sister, aunts and cousins all use them and LOVE them!

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  20. Warm or tepid water is sufficient. I use 4 nuts to wash 4 large loads. Google SINDHIYA Wash Nuts.

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  21. My wife is using them now for a few week and she is very happy with them. Better than laundry balls.

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