SoapNuts Laundry Cleaner

Company: Laundry Tree

Item(s) tested & price: Laundry Tree SoapNut Starter Kit ($14.99). Includes enough soapnuts and a scent (we chose blood orange, but you can click here for a list of available essential oils) to wash nearly 40 loads of laundry.

What’s a soapnut? (Don’t worry; we asked this question too!) Soapnuts aren't really nuts; they’re the fruit of a tree (Sapindus Mukorossi) found primarily in the Himalayas. The outer shell of the soapnut contains saponin, a natural substance known for its ability to cleanse and wash.

Where can the item be purchased? Online.

How to use the product?
Step 1: Put 3-5 soapnuts in the cotton drawstring bag that comes with your kit. 
Step 2: Pull the bag closed. If you desire scent, add a few drops of essential oil to the outside of the bag. 
Step 3: Pop it in the washing machine and wash clothes on warm or hot. (If you want to use cold water, you need to make a quick soapnut soak.) 

NOTE: Each soap nut can be used 3 to 4 times, then tossed them in your compost pile or organic-waste bin.

What is the claim of the product: “An excellent alternative to traditional laundry detergents and cleaners.”

What was great about the product: 

  • organically grown 
  • 100% biodegradable 
  • naturally anti-microbial 
  • packaging is made from natural craft paper with 40% recycled content and lined with a renewable and compostable film (so you can re-store your soapnuts after each use) made from corn starch 
  • There is no fragrance — great for babies and those sensitive to fragrance 

What was NOT so great about the product: 

  • soapnut farm doesn’t appear to be a certified organic 
  • washing bag doesn’t appear to be made of organic cotton 
  • soapnuts are grown oversees and shipped to Texas, where they are packaged and distributed. We hope one day they can be organically farmed closer to home to avoid the large carbon footprint (and cost). 

Grade from Green Living: B+ (An unusual and innovative product, whose results are great. We would like to see some more certification around the product).