Monday, January 28, 2013

Soap Nuts - When to Refill?

So you're trying out those soap nuts you just bought and doing back-to-back loads, smiling with satisfaction at seeing your whites looking great, that those stains really are coming out, and now you're smiling extra big and closing your eyes as you take that first whiff after pulling your clothes out of the dryer...Ahhhh...So Fresh...


...And then you give yourself an imaginary pat on the back as you realize you have acheived Total Laundry Awesomeness AND you're protecting your family (and the environment) from unnecessary, harmful chemicals, ALL while saving money too!...WOW!  Now you find yourself holding your chin a little higher thinking, I believe I deserve an award...or at least a Superhero cape...

BUT get distracted by the phone, your kids, meals, chores, you know...Life!  And you realize you've lost count of how many loads you've washed with this bag of nuts...OH NO!...


You've happily completed your laundry duties and hung them up to dry until the next laundry go-round.  And here it is, laundry time again, but you realize you've forgotten how many loads you washed with this bag last week...YIKES!...

You DO deserve an award (or at least a cool cape) for making the decision to use soap nuts for your laundry AND you don't need to fret just because you've lost count of how many loads you've done with this wash bag.  BECAUSE luckily, there are 3 quick and easy ways to check if your soap nuts need to be replaced or not:
  1. Feel Them (quick & easy way) 
  2. Look At Them (great way)
  3. Squeeze the Bag After Soaking in Water (best & easy way) 
So let's take a closer look at each one of these.

WET:  Squeeze the bag and check how they feel.  If you're checking them while they are still wet, you'll notice they do soften a bit after every load and that is normal.  But do they feel mushy and considerably thinner or do they feel about the same thickness and still fairly firm?  If they feel mushy and thinner all over with no firm spots left, then it's time to discard them and refill with new ones, but if you can still feel firm spots then they likely have more life left in them.

DRY:  If you're checking them after they've dried out, you'll notice they do harden back up again.  But do they feel noticeably thinner, lighter and more fragile or do they feel about the same thickness and hardness? If they feel thinner, lighter and more fragile then it's time to discard them and refill with new ones, but if they still feel fairly thick and substantial then they are ready to go for more loads.

If you're still not sure, you can open the bag and take a look at them.  Do you notice any lighter tan/gray color around the edges of the individual nuts?  How much of the nut has changed color? If you notice a lighter tan/gray around the edges of the nuts, then they still should have some washing power left, but if you notice the whole soap nut has turned to this lighter tan color then it's likely they've given all they got and it's time to refill.

 Soap Nuts Before First Wash
  • uniform dark color
  • firm, hard, heavy   

Soap Nuts After 6th Wash
  • Thinner, lighter, more fragile, mushy when wet
  • light tan color over all/most of each nut

The third way to know for sure whether your soap nuts can do another load or not is to squeeze the wet wash bag and check for suds.  If you just finished a wash load, then grab the bag and hold it under running water to thoroughly saturate it (or soak it briefly in a small bowl), then pull your hand out of the water and squeeze the bag.  Do you see tiny white bubbles coming out around your fingers? Or are the bubbles more clear looking, large and weak, popping right away?  If you see tiny white bubbles forming, then you're good-to-go for another load, but if the bubbles appear clear, larger, weak, fewer in number and popping right away, then it's time to reload with a fresh batch of soap nuts.

Sudsy Bubbles = Good for Another Wash

Weak/No Bubbles = Refill Bag

So there you have it...3 quick and easy ways to tell when it's time to refill your soap nuts wash bag!  Are you ready to try washing with soap nuts yet?
What are your soap nuts stories and experiences?  Is there anything else you need to know about them before you give them a try?  Would you like to know more uses for them?  Would you like to see progressive pictures of what they look like after 6 washes (I have pictures!)?

No comments:

Post a Comment