I bought a packet of soap nuts from the Summer Naturals site, and I’m loving them. Soap nuts grow on sapindus trees in China and India; they are sticky and gooey with a surfactant called saponin. Forget laundry detergent; put a handful of these nuts into an old sock, chuck them into the washing machine and let them do their stuff. They really work! They are eco-friendly too, being reusable, biodegradable and lacking the potential environmental impact of shop-bought laundry detergent.
These sticky little nuts also work out very cheap – which surprised me, because I presumed that they would be relatively expensive, in the way that worthy, hippy-friendly things often are.
I spent £1.99 on 100g of nuts: in practice, that’s enough to fill a large jam jar. Then I worked out what bang I was getting for my buck. You put in three nuts per wash; they last for four washes. My bag from Summer Naturals contained 33 nuts: enough for 44 loads of laundry. That works out at less than 5 pence (7 cents) per load! Not bad.
Compare it to the own-brand detergents from Asda that I’ve been buying up until now. I’ve been buying two versions: the value bottle for whites and the standard own-brand bottle for colours. At the time of writing, the first is priced at £1.46 for 26 washes; the second is priced at £3.60 for 28 washes. That works out at 6 pence per load and 13 pence per load respectively. So the soap nuts beat both! They take up less space in the cupboard, too.