Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Do Soap Nuts Work on Super Dirty Clothes?

Well, I experimented to find out!  When someone asked me if soap nuts would clean really dirty work clothes (from working in the septic business), I have to admit, I wasn't really sure. My own husband works with appliances/recycling and has a particular talent for getting his clothes especially dirty and smelly.  So I figured if I ever wanted to know, I would just have to experiment and see. 


BEFORE Soap Nuts


Picture of super dirty clothes before soap nuts
Super Dirty Work Clothes

So this picture is very typical of how really dirty my husband's work clothes get. And before I started using soap nuts, here is the procedure I would follow to try and get them clean with regular detergent...


Laundry Procedure With Regular Detergent:


Picture of work clothes after using regular laundry detergent
Work Clothes After Regular Detergent
  1. Pour maximum amount of detergent in the wash compartment and in the pre-wash compartment.
  2. Add bleach to the bleach compartment.
  3. Select:  "Hot" wash, "heavy soil" and "pre-wash".

All this resulted in a 3 hour wash, after which the clothes would come out just "okay", but with permanent stains and sometimes bleach marks too.  I never pre-treated stains and never added fabric softener or dryer sheets.  Considering how seriously dirty they started out, I figured this was as good as it would ever get.

Experiment With Soap Nuts

So I wanted to put soapnuts to the test with really dirty clothes, but I also wanted to make sure I kept my procedure as similar as possible to my laundry procedure with commercial detergent.  Here is what I did:

Picuture of washer cycle settings for soap nuts experiment
  1. Doubled the amount of soap nuts from .5oz. to 1oz.
  2. Added bleach to the bleach compartment.
  3. Pre-soaked wash bag of soap nuts in small bowl of hot water for 3 minutes.
  4. Selected: "Hot" wash, "heavy soil", "pre-soak", "deep clean".

I had just gotten this new washer and it has "pre-soak" instead of "pre-wash" like my old machine and all those selections resulted in a 2 hr. 23 min. wash versus the 3 hour wash with my old machine, but they are both front-loading HE washers.  I did not pre-treat stains and did not add any fabric softener or dryer sheets.  So I think I accomplished my goal of keeping my procedures as similar as possible.  (You can read more on soap nuts laundry instructions here).

AFTER Soap Nuts


Picture of work clothes looking clean after soap nuts
Soap Nuts Really Work!

Wow!  I am impressed, aren't you?  Soap nuts far surpassed my expectations.  Even though I was committed to using soapnuts with my regular laundry (after seeing the results with my daughter's school uniform), I thought I was maybe going to have to continue with my "regular detergent procedure" for my husband's really dirty work clothes, but I was wrong!

CONCLUSION: Soap Nuts DO Work on Really Dirty Clothes


The results of the experiment are clear:  Soap nuts definitely worked as well (in fact, I think even better) than the regular laundry detergent did!  And I don't know about you, but I strive to use as natural, healthy, and good-for-the-environment products as possible, but the bottom line is, they also have to work


So now I know there is no reason to have to continue buying regular laundry detergent just to get my super dirty clothes clean, because soap nuts can get the job done.  Plus soap nuts are also more economical than regular laundry detergent and they're 100% eco-friendly... what more can a person ask for?  


So here's what I've decided to do with my really dirty clothes...I'm going to run 2 different wash bags:

  • One 1oz. bag of soap nuts for my husband's really dirty work clothes

  • One 1/2oz. bag of soap nuts for my regular laundry


Tell me what you think of my experiment with super dirty clothes below!  


(Or you can click here to learn more about soap nuts for laundry)


  1. Looks like hey're a winner for sure!


  2. Knowledge giving Article! I appreciate you. I completely agree with you. If we talk about current scenario then it is must be update. I enjoyed reading. I would like to visit more for more queries.

  3. Soapnuts are better than any shampoos and soaps which have a lot of chemicals. Soapnuts is the natural fruit found in various regions around the world including India and is used for washing hair. It nourishes hair, encourages good growth and makes hair smooth.

    1. I agree! I've been experimenting with soap nuts in shampoo, but it's been a challenge due to their not lathering up (and we Americans LOVE our lather!). However, my dog came back from the groomers last time and was getting sick from the perfume. I washed him in the bathtub with soap nuts and he was fine almost instantly!

  4. Hi,

    thanks for this article, I like and love the nature's and natural beauty.

  5. I would be very interested in seeing how it works on really dirty white clothes. I have experiences small yellow spots on white garments and linens which I can only surmize is a residue of the soap nuts and the oils in them.

    1. Hmmm...I'm not really sure what that would be about. I have used soap nuts on dirty white clothes (very dirty socks, underwear, white t-shirts, etc.) and have gotten excellent results without any of the spotting you mentioned. Do you put them in a cotton muslin wash bag or just throw them in loose into the laundry tub? I ask, because that is the only thing I can think of that might cause that (if individual, loose soap nuts rested directly onto your garments). The only other thing I can think of is if your soap nuts still have the black seeds in them, as they can definitely stain...all of the soap nuts I sell have the seeds removed, are of a high quality and come with a wash bag (Click the link just above the comments to view the soap nuts I sell as "Laundry Time").

  6. Wow, this is an awesome test! Not many people have taken the time to do such a comparison. For my own blog I intend to do a similar test soon, but I also want to include 1 "control" wash using no detergent or soapnut, just water. We'll see how that goes.

    I would like to link to this case study from my own little blog if that is cool with you?


    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes, you may link to your blog, and I would love to see the results of your test-with-control when you do it.