Frequently Asked Questions

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, a wetting agent. 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 it is rinsed away.

 

Can Soap Nuts be used in my high efficiency (HE) washer?

Since Soap Nuts are low sudsing they work particularly well in these washers. You may use the wash bag method (putting it directly in with your laundry) or use Soap Nut liquid. Click here to see Soap Nut liquid recipe and uses. Soap Nut liquid can be used either by adding it directly in with your laundry, or by using the appropriate dispensing compartment (same as any other HE detergent). Saponin leaves no residual build-up which is the leading cause of service problems with HE machines. You will very quickly begin to see the difference in your washer as the Soap Nuts work to purge the buildup. Many service technicians (who know about Soap Nuts) recommend them to remedy the common mold, mildew and odor issues that plague HE washers. For best results when using the “wash bag” method it’s important to use your pre-soak cycle.

 

Do I use my machine’s detergent compartments?

If you are using Soap Nut liquid then yes. Or if you are doing a cold wash and have placed the Soap Nut bag in hot water for a couple of minutes, then just  pour the Soap Nut water into the compartment and the throw the bag into the washer. A nice benefit to using the compartments is that the saponin will actually begin cleaning both the compartments and your machine’s plumbing as well. You will very quickly see the difference in your washer as the Soap Nuts work to purge the buildup that commercial detergents have left. Many service technicians (who know about Soap Nuts) recommend them to remedy the common mold, mildew and odor issues that plague HE washers.  Get in the habit of using your pre-soak cycle, and don’t overload your machine.

 

Will Soap Nuts work in cold water?

Of course!  The process is just a bit different. Since Saponin needs to be activated in warm or hot water just place the wash bag with Soap Nuts in a small cup of hot tap water for 2 minutes to activate; then add the water and bag to the washer. Alternatively, you may want to make a Soap Nut concentrate Click here to see Soap Nut liquid recipe and uses.  Regardless of temperature or detergent type using the pre-soak option on your washer will optimize results and be sure not to overload your machine.

 

Will Soap Nuts be as effective in hard water?

Soap Nuts will work fine in hard water, keep in mind most homes across the globe have technically hard water. Extremely hard water will affect the effectiveness of any type of detergent. What is unique to Soap Nuts is their inherent water softening and conditioning properties. In cases of very hard water, the addition of one of the following can remedy. Sodium carbonate (washing soda), borax or vinegar.

 

I accidentally put the wash bag in the dryer, are my Soap Nuts still good?

They are still good. Simply get the Soap Nuts wet, and you are ready to go again.

 

Do I have to remove the bag of Soap Nuts during the rinse cycle?

No. The Saponin is released slower in cold water and most rinse cycles are cold. The small amount of Saponin released in the rinse cycle acts as a fabric softener. But in an effort to conserve both water and energy some people choose not to rinse their clothes after using Soap Nuts. Since there are no chemical or soap residues there is no need to rinse.

 

Are Soap Nuts safe for my machine?

Not only are they safe, but they are in fact so much better than commercial detergents and softeners. Leaving no chemical residues, Soap Nuts will only lengthen the life of your machine.

 

Are Soap Nuts effective for really dirty laundry?

Yes, but make sure the laundry has ample room to move freely. As with any detergent, for the most effective cleaning, do not over fill the machine. Tough stains will still need to be pretreated and it helps to add a scoop of environmentally friendly oxygen bleach to the wash. For best results when using the “wash bag” method use the pre-soak option on your washer. For tough stains, try our Buncha Farmers stain sticks, I promise it will rival any stain remover you have used before and it is 100% natural as well.  I also like to just rub the wet Soap Nut bag onto stains or underarms before I throw it in the wash.You can use a Soap Nut liquid concentrate to spot treat tough stains as well.  Click here to see Soap Nut liquid recipe and uses.

 

Are Soap Nuts good for washing cloth diapers?

Yes!  Soap Nuts are the best cloth diaper detergent. They will ‘strip’ the cloth diapers of detergent build-up, increasing the diaper’s absorbency. Commercial detergents and soaps contain chemicals that build up in the diaper. These chemicals break down the fibers of the material and produce “wicking” causing diapers to lose absorbency. Such chemical residue can be irritating to your baby’s skin. As a result, using Soap Nuts will help to prevent diaper rash. You will wish you had been using them all along! To remove really tough stains in diapers use Buncha Farmers stain stick (available on our site). It is all natural and will rival any other stain remover on the market.

 

Are Soap Nuts good at getting rid of stains?

Soap Nuts will remove average stains as well as most detergents, but they do not entirely replace the need for some solvent-type stain remover – particularly on heavy grease stains. If you have badly soiled and stained laundry, reduce the size of the load to increase the water to laundry ratio, allowing more water flow through the fabrics .Using the pre soak function on your laundry machine will greatly help as well. Try our Buncha Farmers stain sticks, I promise it will rival any stain remover you have used before and it is 100% natural as well. I also like to just rub the wet Soap Nut bag onto stains or underarms before I throw it in the wash.You can use a Soap Nut liquid concentrate to spot treat tough stains as well.  Click here to see Soap Nut liquid recipe and uses.

 

Soap Nuts smell mildly of vinegar, will my clothes hold onto this smell?

Not at all. Your clothes will come out smelling fresh and clean, similar to hanging them on the line. If you like to have your clothes scented, just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to some wool dryer balls in the dryer in the last couple minutes of your dry cycle.

 

There are no suds during the wash cycle. Is this ok?

Soap Nuts are a natural, low sudsing detergent. There are no added fillers, foaming agents or chemicals that would create more bubbles as they wash. Even without tons of suds, the Soap Nuts will thoroughly wash all your articles of clothing. Suds indicate the presence of a surfactant – most of which are chemical surfactants (like the infamous SLS). Surfactants allow for the breakup of dirt, grime, oil, grease, etc. in water – and thus enables things to be washed and become clean, Standard detergents are formulated with additives that continue to produce suds, not because they are needed, but because we are trained to equate suds to cleaning. Continued sudsing is not required for effective cleaning. Today’s new  HE washers  that require detergents that produce very little suds proves this.

 

I use bleach on my whites. Are Soap Nuts a substitute for bleach?

No. As Soap Nuts are free from chemical whiteners and bleaches you may find yourself looking for something to reinvigorate that sparkling white appearance. To do this you can add 50ml of lemon juice or 1 teaspoon of citric acid to your rinse cycle. In addition to your bag of Soap Nuts, add a scoop of oxygen bleach or a half cup of distilled vinegar to brighten fabrics. As always using the pre-soak option on your washer can optimize results.

 

Are Soap Nuts safe for my delicate fabrics?

Soap Nuts are the perfect solution for your delicate fabrics. They leave no residue, therefore don’t clog natural fabric pores like other detergents; fabrics are protected from colour loss and fibre breakdown due to harsh chemicals. You can either use a gentle wash cycle or hand wash. Soap Nuts are the best fine fabric detergent available.

 

What do I do with the leftover shells?

If they are re-useable, let the shells dry out and use them again later. Once I have used mine about 7 times , I take the nuts out of the bag and place them in a cup and save them up. Once I have a cup or so I boil them for about 30 minutes and get every bit of Saponin out of them. I use this liquid as an all purpose cleaner. Click here to see Soap Nut liquid recipe and uses. Then you can just add the shells to your compost, they are 100% Bio-degradable.

 

How do Soap Nuts save on water and electricity?

Commercial detergents need to be rinsed out of clothes because otherwise they would leave a soap residue. Since Soap Nuts are all natural and leave no soapy residues on your clothes; you can actually skip the rinse cycle and save on a load of water and electricity.

 

Are Soap Nuts safe for those with sensitive skin?

They are the perfect alternative to commercial detergents that contain mostly synthetic chemicals which can be very aggravating to skin. Soap Nuts are 100% natural and hypoallergenic. Sufferers of eczema, rosacea and psoriasis commonly report significant relief.

 

What is the shelf life of Soap Nuts?

If stored correctly they could last indefinitely. That being said, they absorb moisture easily. If your environment is quite moist, just be sure to keep the bag closed or better yet store in an air tight container. If exposed to too much moisture they will darken and may become sticky, but don’t despair, they will still clean brilliantly.

 

How can I tell if my Soap Nuts are ready to be discarded?

Look at them when they are dry. The depleted shells with be thin with no shiny pockets of Saponin left on them. You can also place the bag in hot tap water for a minute and then give the bag a few squeezes or place them in a jar with hot tap water and shake- If suds come out they should still be good.

 

What if I have a nut allergy?

No problem, Soap Nuts are actually a fruit, so people with nut allergies need not worry.

 

Are Soap Nuts good for pets?

Soap Nuts are wonderful for pets. Many people use Soap Nuts liquid for bathing their pets. The odor reducing properties of the Soap Nut makes for a remarkably effective pet shampoo. It will also deter fleas and other pests. Animals are exposed to a large number of harmful synthetic chemicals and they are no more biologically immune to these chemicals than we are. Soap Nuts are the ideal solution.