As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader, I’ve been looking at ways to be more eco-friendly at home. I’ve always wanted to try washing nuts so I was really excited when Eco Natural Products gifted me a sample to try.
What are Indian Washing Nuts?
They’re an alternative to chemical detergents from Sapindus shrub trees in India and Nepal where they have been used as a natural detergent for hundreds of years. The nut shells contain saponin, a natural detergent which has cleaning and degreasing properties.
What benefits are there to using Indian Washing Nuts?
- Environmentally friendly.
- 100% natural, hypoallergenic and scent-free.
- Washing nuts are a natural softener, so no fabric conditioner is needed.
- They can be used many times (3-4 washes each at low temperatures) which makes them an inexpensive alternative to chemical cleaning. Between 3 and 6 shells is enough for one wash. You can test if the shells still contain saponin by rubbing them with wet fingers to see if they foam! They also start to break down after several washes.
- When the washing nuts no longer foam you can throw them in your garden to deter slugs and snails or put them in your food waste bin as the nuts are biodegradable and compostable.
What other uses do Indian Washing Nuts have?
Washing nuts are really versatile and can be used for lots of different things including:
- Cleaning gold and silver jewellery
- Protection for garden plants. Washing nuts have anti-viral and anti-fungal effects and they repeal insects
- Shampoo! Washing nuts have anti-dandruff and anti-itching properties
- Cleaning Liquid
- Dishwasher soap
- Insect repellent
- Hand wash
So far I’ve just used them in my laundry but I’m looking forward to trying some of these applications out as well.
How effective are Indian Washing Nuts?
I’ve been really pleased with the performance of the washing nuts compared to my regular detergent. I’ve tried them on both white and coloured loads and found that they cleaned really well.
As they are scent free I did miss the clean laundry smell so I used my Tesco Eco Active fabric conditioner after the first load. However, you can use essential oils to fragrance your laundry by adding a couple of drops to the washing bag before you put it in the machine if you want to go completely chemical free. This is definitely something I’ll be trying when we have a working washing machine again.
Where can you buy Indian Washing Nuts?
The Indian Washing Nuts I tried are from Eco Natural Products and are available at £8.99 for a kilogram of nuts including a washing bag. 1Kg is enough for a minimum of 140 washes at 60°C and even more washes at lower temperatures. Economically this compares really favourably with traditional chemical detergents. For example, if you shop for eco-friendly liquid detergents at Tesco – Method is £9 for 39 washes, Ecover is £9 for 42 washes and even Tesco Eco Active is £4 for 42 washes.
I hope this has given you something to think about. Let me know if you have any other questions about washing nuts and I’ll do my best to answer them.