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?
Soapnuts are completely in their natural state, and other than the recycled box they were shipped in, there is no waste involved in packaging.
When 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.
- Tide has a multitude of known hazardous chemicals including Propylene Glycol, Ethanolamine, Dimethicone, and various others that just don't look good.
- Seventh Generation has some rather long unrecognizable ingredients including "hexahydro-1,3,5-tris (2-hydroxyethyl)-s-triazine"
- Kirkland's ingredients are hard to find (being vague is helpful when claiming to be 'natural' remember that even MSG can be labeled as a 'natural flavor' though it's a known neuro-toxin), but they do have enzymes in their detergent, which is known to be a problem with cloth diapers, even if they are naturally derived.
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