Soap Nuts: A Green Alternative To Detergent (That Doesn’t Work)


What is so bad about doing laundry that makes people so intent to avoid it? Based on the number and nature of the increasingly silly laundry hacks attempting to disrupt the industry, people must really hate putting soap into a little drawer, closing the machine, and pushing a button. It’s just too hard?

And so some brilliant entrepreneur has developed these soap nuts. In truth, no one developed anything—EcoNuts are actually just berries that fell off a tree somewhere. The brilliant entrepreneur simply had to put the berries in a box and develop a marketing plan.

If it seems strange to you that a berry of indeterminate origin would have the exact mixture of cleaning properties it has taken humans decades of research and untold millions of dollars to develop with advanced scientific techniques, well, you’re right. Soap nuts don’t work very well.

For one thing, according to this review, soap nuts are fairly ineffective in cold water, which is an option that many eco-friendly consumers choose to conserve energy. Okay, well, you can just use cold water and be content in the knowledge that you didn’t contribute to the creation of a large plastic bottle. Unfortunately, EcoNuts don’t do very well with heavily soiled items, since there’s really no stain-fighting properties in naturally-sudsy products like this. And since they don’t have any added fragrance, your smelly work shirt will probably still smell like work when it comes out of the washer. And the reviewer stores the old ones in a plastic bag, which is kinda the thing we were trying to avoid. But, uh, well…

Have no fear: you can simply boil the soap nuts to make your own detergent. After they’re done boiling (using gas or electric energy), you just put the solution in the freezer, and then use the resulting ice cubes in place of detergent. The result is a highly-concentrated, naturally-occurring soap that doesn’t clean anything or make your clothes smell better.

Landry hacks! What would we do without ’em?