Soapnut FAQ

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 Frequently asked questions will assist you in making an informed decision.   We strive to be honest with our results and our research. Click here for product testimonials. Additionally, you may benefit from requesting a personal consultation to further discuss details.  Click on the questions which interest you or scroll down to read them all.
 
•  What's a Soap Nut?

   Do I need to use fabric softener?

  How do EcoNut Organic Soap Nuts work?
•  Do Soap Nuts have a fragrance?
•  Where are the bubbles?
•  Are Soap Nuts safe for my delicate washables?
•  Can I use Soap Nuts to clean more than my laundry?
•  I’m allergic to nuts. Can I use Soap Nuts?
•  Can I use Soap Nuts in my High Efficiency (HE) washing machine?
•  Should I clean the chemical detergent residue out of my washing machine first?
•  Can I use too many nuts and when are they used up?
•  Are Soap Nuts hypoallergenic?
•  What’s this little black marble I found in my box  of Soap Nuts?
•  Do I have to remove the Soap Nuts from the washing machine before the rinse cycle?
•  My Nuts are sticky! What’s up?
•  Can I use Soap Nuts with any temperature water?
•  Do I need to use hot or warm water or can I wash in cold water?
•  Can I use the Soap Nuts more than once?
•  What do I do with the leftover shells?
•  Ayurvedic Bathing Blend
•  Can Soap Nuts help me save on water, detergent and energy?
•  How do I make a liquid cleaner from soap nuts?

•  Will Soap Nuts get my white clothes REALLY white?

•  Use for Sparkling Windows

•  Will Soap Nuts keep my colors bright?

•  Use as Jewelry Cleaner

  OMG I put Soap Nuts in the Dryer!

•  Plant Wash and Pest Repellent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a soap nut?   Soap Nuts are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry Tree (Sapindus mukorrosi), related to the lychee and rambutan. Soap Nuts are harvested in Indian, Himalayan and Indonesian jungles where Soap Nut trees are holding forests and families together! The Soap Nuts fall to the ground where they are collected by local folks who have used them for centuries.

If you are familiar with Soap Nuts, our Eco Nuts™ have become a widely recognized brand name. Don’t settle for generic soap nuts. Eco Nuts™ are higher in quality and cleaning power because in addition to our proprietary sorting and handling process, we also only use a particular variety and size. We have found this quality control translates into more re-uses than many other generic soap nuts. Our proprietary sorting process also ensures a consistency in shape and texture that makes Eco Nuts™ pleasant and easy to use. Because we lovingly and carefully hand package in the USA, we can also eliminate individualized plastic wrapping otherwise required by customs.
College students, mothers, campers, techies, boarders, and eco-activists alike keep telling us that Eco Nuts™ work great! Try a sample size and you'll become an Eco-Nut too!

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How do Soap Nuts work?
Soap Nuts work like a detergent. They contain saponin, an all-natural surfactant. Conventional detergents are manufactured, chemical surfactants. Surfactants work by breaking the surface tension of water so it can more easily penetrate into fabrics, effectively making water “wetter.” Once wet, the agitation of your washing machine (or your hands) shakes the dirt loose from your clothes. Then Soap Nuts’ saponin holds the dirt in suspension in the water -preventing it from re-depositing on your clothes- until you’ve rinsed it away.

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Can I use Soap Nuts in my HE (high efficiency) washing machine?
Yes! Soap Nuts are low-sudsing and are ideal for high-efficiency washers. If you wash only in very hot water, you will probably get 7 loads. If you only do cold water washes, you can get up to 10 loads or more. Because of the high quality of the berries, you will likely get many more washes than what we say on the box. You will be able to tell when they are used up because they will start to disintegrate. Then you can compost them if you wish, or simply add new berries to the bag.

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Where are the bubbles?
Most laboratory cleaners contain foaming agents to “trick” consumers that the product is working. In truth, the quantity of bubbles does not tell you if a cleaner is effective!  Soap Nuts keep you clean without phoney bubbles. Because they are low sudsing, Soap Nuts are ideal for HE and front-loader machines.

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Can I use too many nuts and when are they used up?
We recommend two whole  Soap Nuts per load of hot water wash. For really dirty clothes, giant loads, or when washing in cold water, you can use more nuts. You’ll know you’ve used too many nuts if your clothes feel stiff after washing. The stiffness results from excess saponin in the rinse water and is not harmful to you or the clothes. The stiffness will go away after the next washing.

There are a few ways to tell when the nuts are used up. A disintegrated soap nut won't look like it did originally. it will be thin, light colored and falling apart and will resemble floppy/broken peanut shells. It may also crunch or break apart when you squeeze it (if dry).

Here's some other ways to tell:

1. smell the bag when wet.
Saponin has a fruity odor when wet. When you take the bag out of the machine, smell it. If there is a slight fruity smell, the nuts are still good for more loads.

2. run the bag under a faucet and squeeze. You'll see little tiny suds if there is still soap.

3. Feel the nuts when wet. They will have an almost slippery sudsy feeling to them if there is still soap.

Don't worry if you've gotten what might be more than 10 loads, it's very common to get between 10 and 20 loads with this most recent harvest. As always, when in doubt, replace.

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What’s this little black marble I found in my box of Soap Nuts?
Lucky you! That little black marble is a seed. You can plant your own Soapberry tree.

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My Nuts are sticky! What’s up?
Yikes! Soap Nuts turn black and sticky as they absorb moisture from the air. If your soap nuts are exposed to long-term moisture, like humid air, they may change color. This doesn’t affect Soap Nuts’ cleaning power. In fact, some people think the sticky nuts clean better because they are pre-releasing their saponin.

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Do I need to use hot or warm water or can I wash in cold water?

A: We encourage you to read the labels on your garments and linens and wash with the recommended temperature of the fabric. Eco Nuts™ will work in any temperature water. Hot water will release more saponin.

Due to our proprietary handling process, Eco Nuts™ will still release saponin in cooler water, and will still effectively clean normal cold-water laundry as long as the machine was not over-filled. If the laundry to be cold washed is very soiled, you can make a "tea" by soaking the bag in hot water for a few minutes and then add the bag with the water to your cold water wash, and put fewer items in the machine to provide more agitation.

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What do I do with the leftover shells?
You’ll know the saponin in Soap Nuts is used up when the nuts no longer feel squeaky clean and sudsy when you rub them. If they’re re-useable, let the shells dry out and use them again later. When the shells are ready to retire, add them to your garden compost.

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Can Soap Nuts help me Save Water and Energy?
Yes! Since there’s no soapy residue to rinse away you can use shorter rinse cycles on your washing machine. It depends on the temperature of the water. If you wash only in very hot water, you will probably get 7 loads. If you only do cold water washes, you can get up to 10 loads or more. Because of the high quality of the berries, you will likely get many more washes than what we say on the box. You will be able to tell when they are used up because they will start to disintegrate. Then you can compost them if you wish, or simply add new berries to the bag.

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Will Soap Nuts get my white clothes REALLY white?
To maintain sparkling whites we recommend that you always separate your colors. For extra stain removal, when necessary add a scoop of environmentally friendly OxiClean® oxygenating formula to the wash.  Keep in mind that standard bleach deteriorates fabrics through oxidation causing them to wear out sooner. Another Eco-friendly way of bleaching is by putting your articles out in the sun.

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Will Soap Nuts keep my colors bright?
Yes!  Soap Nuts are 100% natural and gentle. Your colors will look brighter! 

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Do I need to use fabric softener?
Nope.  In the rinse cycle, Eco Nuts™ release very little saponin since the rinse cycle is cooler water. That small amount of saponin is what makes your clothes soft and fluffy. Soap Nuts naturally soften and add body to your clothes! In fact, Soap Nuts are used commercially to give body and sheen to expensive silks! You’ll love how your clothes feel after washing with Soap Nuts.

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Do  Soap Nuts have a fragrance?
Yes and No. On their own EcoNuts have a mild, fresh, vinegary smell. They will not fragrance your clothes. For added fragrance, add a few drops of you favorite essential oil on the cotton sack. For a refreshing wash, we like to use geranium, coriander, or neroli or lavender oil.

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Are Soap Nuts safe for my delicate washables?
Yes! Soap Nuts are ideal for gently cleaning delicate fibers like wool and silk! Hypoallergenic and safe for baby or sensitive skin.  Try spot treating for stains on upholstery or rugs.

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I’m allergic to nuts. Can I use Soap Nuts?
Yes! Soap Nuts are actually a dried fruit related to the lychee. People with nut allergies can safely use Soap Nuts!  While Eco Nuts™ has been a terrific solution for many customers with skin allergies and other conditions, people who have many allergies or compromised immune systems should always take proper precautions and first wash one small item in a small container or sink OR do a patch test before washing an entire load in the washing machine.

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Do I need to clean the chemical detergent residue out of my washing machine before I wash my clothes with Soap Nuts?  You can use Soap Nuts to purify your washing machine. To remove chemical residues from your machine,run a full load of rags through a warm or hot wash cycle with 4-5 soap nuts in the sack.

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OMG I accidentally put the bag with Eco Nuts™ into the dryer! Are they still usable?

Yes, though you may get fewer washes until you replace them.

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Are Soap Nuts hypoallergenic?  Yes! EcoNuts are 100% natural, safe and hypoallergenic. We recommend them for babies and people with sensitive skin. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Soap Nuts are used traditionally to treat skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. With EcoNuts, there’s nothing between you and your clothes but Mother Nature!

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Do I have to remove the Soap Nuts from the washing machine during the rinse cycle?  No need to remove the soap nuts from the rinse cycle. There’s no soapy residue to rinse away! The little bit of saponin left in the rinse adds softness and body to your clothes.  

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Can I use Soap Nuts with any temperature water?  Yes! The saponin in Soap Nuts releases quickly into hot water, and more slowly in cold water. When washing in hot water you only need the equivalent of two whole Soap Nuts per load. They’ll release all of their saponin in about one wash. When washing with cold water, use up to 4 nuts and reuse them up to 4 times. Alternatively, pre-soak your cotton sack containing two soap nuts in a little hot water to release the saponin. After a couple minutes of soaking, add the mixture to the cold-water wash.

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Can I use the Soap Nuts more than once?
Yes! The saponin in  Soap Nuts releases quickly into hot water, and more slowly in cold water. When washing in hot water you only need two soap nuts per load and they’ll release all of their saponin in about one wash. When washing with cold water, up to 4 nuts and reuse them up to 4 times. You’ll know the saponin in Soap Nuts is used up when the nuts no longer feel squeaky clean or sudsy when you rub them.

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Can I use Soap Nuts to clean more than my laundry?
Yes! In Indian Ayurvedic science, Soap Nuts are used as a skin and hair cleanser.  They are also used traditionally to treat mild to moderate skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis. Soap Nuts are safe for people with sensitive skin, even people who suffer allergic reactions to store bought "sensitive skin" cleansers.  Soap Nuts are even safe enough to use as toothpaste and as a fruit and vegetable wash. A ten-minute soak in a solution of Soap Nuts removes 95% of the surface pesticides and chemical residues on fresh produce. Soap Nuts are also useful in the kitchen as a food-safe cleaner for countertops, appliances, and sinks.  Soap Nuts are used in Bali by artisans who create beautiful jewelry and batik fabrics.

 Ayurvedic Bathing Blend for a relaxing bath:
1 c. raw honey
10 drops lavender oil
1/4 c. papaya leaves
1/4 c. neem leaves
3 T. reetha (soap nut) powder
3 T. shikakai powder
2 t. kastru manjal
2 t. sandalwood powder
Blend herbs by hand with mortar and pestle and pour into bath with honey and oil.


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HOMEMADE LIQUID MULTIPURPOSE CLEANER
Keep Soap Nuts liquid in a squeeze bottle at every sink, in your shower, and in spray bottles for cleaning the kitchen and bath. Keep refrigerated if you plan to store homade SoapNuts liquid longer than 3 weeks.

Stove top method
Simmer 1 cup Maggie’s Soap Nuts on the stove in 4 cups water for 10 minutes. If the mixture suds and bubbles over, fear not! When cool, simply wipe off and find your stovetop squeaky clean! After 10 minutes, turn off heat, cover, and allow  Soap Nuts liquid to cool. When cool, mash the nuts with your hands. Strain the liquid into a bottle through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.

Soaking method
Soak 1 cup  Soap Nuts in 4 cups water overnight. In the morning, liquefy the mixture in your
blender. Strain the liquid into a bottle through a very fine sieve or cheesecloth.


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Sparkling Windows
Fill a clean spray bottle with 10 parts water, 1 part Soap Nuts liquid, and a splash of vinegar. Shake well. Spray and wipe windows clean. Polish glass with a clean, dry towel or newspaper.

 

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Jewelry Cleaner
Soak your jewels (metal and stones) for a few minutes in a small amount of  Soap Nuts liquid. Use a soft toothbrush to gently loosen any debris. Rinse with clean water and polish with a soft, dry cloth.

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Plant Wash and Pest Repellent
Add 10 parts water, 1 part Soap Nuts liquid, and 1 tablespoon Neem oil (optional) to a clean spray bottle. Shake well. For plant wash, spray leaves and wipe clean. To repel pests, spray plant thoroughly, covering all surfaces, and allow to air dry.


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