Do Soap Nuts Really Work?

Laundry is a never-ending battle at our house.  It seems that just as I'm getting to the stinky bottom of our hamper, someone gets sick and throws up all over the place -- leading to more laundry.  (Or, the dog chews up a carrot on my bedspread, or the bathtub overflows.)  In any case, there is basically no "ground zero" for our washing, and as a result, we try many products in the laundry genre.

(Soapnut shells by gadl via Flickr)

Last year, I bought a few packages of soap nuts, along with some essential oils to try them out as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional soap.  Did they work?  Yes... I think.  I know that my clothes got clean, and there was even the same amount of soapy residue in my clothes as usual when done washing (I know this from the water that came out of my Spin Dryer when drying.)  I can't,  however, prove that the cleanliness was from the nut itself, or more as a result of the soap that may have already been left in my clothes.  I could tell that the nut got "used up" after several loads, which leads me to believe that they are more powerful at the beginning of their lifespan AND if the stuff that comes out of them cleans at all.. they probably do what they say.

A bit spendy for a small package, one could buy a bulk bag and do a modest amount of laundry on a tight budget.  Doing 3-4 loads a day, however, may be a bit much in the spending department.  I would recommend using them the maximum amount of washings you can (squeeze them to see if they have any life left after each load) and buy the essential oils used to "scent" the load from a wholesaler and not the retailers that actually sell the soap nuts.  (They tend to charge more.)

We abandoned the regular use of soap nuts soon after we tried them.  They worked OK, but we really just couldn't afford to keep using them (and my husband's work clothes and the boys play things need EXTRA soap that just wasn't budget-friendly on the soap nut plan.)

What has your experience been with these clever little nuts?


  1. I've never even heard of the, so now I'm curious as to what they are! Thanks for the review. I doubt I will try them, but I'm curious about what they look like.

  2. Hi, Emily! I added a photo of what they look like after using them. Enjoy!

  3. I am using soapnuts to wash dishes, especially my toddler's, to reduce the chemical exposure. Quite happy with them. :)

    For laundry, I'd recommend using laundry balls, no harmful chemicals, clean wash and money-saving. Read our review at

  4. This is the weirdest thing ever. I have never heard of soap nuts. I am intrigued.


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