Soapberries For Laundry Detergent
8.1.13

We’re guessing that if you’ve ever washed your laundry with berries, it wasn’t on purpose: a washer full of whites and a handful of berries sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen. That is, unless you’ve got your hands on a fistful of Canada buffaloberries, otherwise known as soapberries.

While we strongly caution you to avoid all raspberries, blueberries and other pie-friendly fruits in the laundry room, you may want to think about including these less well-known berries on your next laundry list! Soapberries are slowly becoming a thing among the sensitive-skinned and the synthetic detergent-averse. While they might appear about as likely to freshen up your darks and lights as a handful of old orange peels, these little wonders are full of potent, natural chemicals that get the job done!

Also called soapnuts, soapberries grow on trees most commonly found in India and parts of China. The hard shells of these fruits have been used since ancient times as a sort of all natural soaping agent. The shells of these nuts or berries contain saponin, a foaming compound with anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that break down dirt and grime. The shells can be ground into a powder, soaked in water to create a solution or thrown into a small cloth bag and added to a load of laundry. Eco Nuts makes an easily usable package of the berries, and NaturOli has even created a whole line of products from the stuff.

Although we’re all for reducing our chemical load by shopping for home goods and cleaners that are as free of toxins as can be, we also love making chores (like the weekly load of yoga gear) just a little bit more special by spicing them up in unexpected ways. So…what say you? Soap berries instead of laundry soap: Would you or wouldn’t you?

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  1. I use Laundry Tree’s soapnuts—such a revelation!

  2. I have used soapberries and they work great for lightly soiled clothes! Recently, I discovered Nellie’s Natural Laundry Soda which is biodegradable and works well on dirtier clothes, plus it makes everything so soft you don’t need dryer sheets. I love this stuff and it’s gentle for sensitive skin and babies. I don’t have either, but my sister does and now she’s obsessed too.

    http://www.nelliesallnatural.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=5

    Victoria | 08.01.2013 | Reply
  3. Interesting I had never heard of soapberries before I might have to go find some and try this out. Thanks!

  4. I’ve used them and they are, as another poster stated, perfect for lightly soiled clothes. The only issue I had was remembering how many wash loads I’d completed in order to know w hen to change the soap berries.

    Elaine | 10.15.2013 | Reply

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