Going nuts for wash nuts!

A hand full of wash nuts

In recent years it’s becoming more and more popular to use natural products – “Say no to chemicals! They hurt you and the planet!

When you research a little bit, you can find all sorts of natural alternatives. Today, I want to present you wash nuts.

What are wash nuts

They are also known as soap nuts or soap berries and they are harvested from reetha trees.

As you might have guessed it already, they have special cleansing properties. Those little fellas release lots of saponin in water.

Saponin is a chemical compound with detergent properties. Other plants, such as yucca or soy contain saponin as well, but not enough to make their use as detergent economically viable.

For this specific reason, wash nuts are used to wash clothes and even hair and skin.

Because they are purely natural, they come with all the great environmentally friendly features.

  • biodegradable
  • no chemicals
  • sustainable
  • negative carbon footprint because of the trees
  • even reusable

How to wash your clothes with wash nuts

Our cat Pita sitting under our drying clothes
Our cat pita sitting under our drying clothes.

The instructions are quite simple. Instead of adding detergent to your load of dirty clothes you take 3-6 nuts and put them in a small cotton bag. The bag is then simply added to the load.

The amount of nuts depends on the water temperature. The hotter the water is, the fewer nuts you need. This is because soap nuts release the saponin quicker in hot water.

Everything else is business as usual. You can wash your clothes as you would normally do.


After a few washes, the soap nuts are used up. When their time has come, the nuts lost their reddish color and become frail and thin.

Now it’s the time to throw them either in the compost or into the organic trash bin. You can also add them directly to the mulch for your plants.

Our experience

A few years ago we bought a big bag of wash nuts. We have only used half! It’s incredible how long they can last. Not having to buy detergent for a couple of years also helps us saving money.

Our clothes turn out clean, too! We are not sacrificing anything.

I don’t think that we will ever switch back to regular laundry detergent.

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