Sunday, 7 April 2013

Getting the Most Out of Soap Nuts in Cold Water

Not the kind of tea you get at David's Tea.
The agitation of your washing machine and the temperature of the water can impact how much saponin (the cleaning agent) is released from your soap nuts. I have personally been successful using soap nuts as-is in cold water in our Amana front-loading washing machine. Success means fresh smelling, clean laundry: and not as in a patented "Fresh Laundry Scent" that may still be masking odour. I mean: "stick your nose into the armpit of that t-shirt and take a big wiff... and smell... nothing" freshness!

However, for heavier soils such as cloth diapers and Papa Wolf's nasty workout clothes, I prefer to get all the soapy goodness possible out of my little nut friends, so I make soap nut tea! You can make a large batch of soap nut tea very easily, storing it either in a glass jar/bottle in the fridge, or even in cubes in your freezer. I've now switched to using my little tea cubes since it is easy to toss them in with a load, and I don't have to fish the nut sack (haha!) out at the end of the wash. I also think that making this highly concentrated tea makes your soap nuts go even further, thus making each load of laundry even cheaper!

Soapy goodness!

When it's time to do laundry, throw a few cubes directly into the barrel or use the liquid tea just as you would any detergent. You can also make tea in single batches to use immediately: soak 3-4 soap nuts in hot water for about 10 minutes before you do a load. Use the tea that results just like liquid detergent, and keep those nuts for next time!

Why would I make soap nut tea rather than just using the wee cotton bag full o' nuts? 

Using a tea made from your soap nuts might be something you'd do if a) You always wash in cold water and want to get the maximum amount of soap released; b) you don't want to search for the little cotton nut sack (haha!) at the end of each cycle; c) you want maximum soap released for heavily-soiled items or d) your washing machine doesn't seem to agitate enough.

For regular clothes, washing on cold, I use 1 cube of frozen tea. For cloth diapers, I use three cubes and warm water.

This is the Soap Nut Tea Recipe I have been using.

Note: Soap nut tea is useful for front loaders. For top loading machines, there's a much easier solution: Throw your soap nut sack in the washer and start filling the tub with hot water. Let the water suds up, then switch over to cold and toss in your cloths. Done and done!

Tip: Get a spare ice cube tray for making your soap nut tea so you don't wind up with soapy vodka on the rocks! Label your ziploc of frozen soap nut tea.... especially if you also have cubes of apple sauce in the freezer for baby!

Luxury spa for soap nuts.

Soapy nectar

Frozen soap nuggets!

1 comment:

  1. Soap nuts are indeed a great natural laundry product.