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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Thursday, June 13, 2013

God made laundry detergent

What's that?  Did you say God actually made laundry detergent?!

And it grows on a tree??!!  Now that is amazing!  Show me!

Have you ever heard of a tree called Sapindus Mukorossi?  Neither had I until last year.  It is a tree that is mostly found in the Himalayas.

File:Sapindus mukorossi2.jpg
(photo credit Wikimedia Commons - here)

Berries, or "soap nuts", are the fruit that grow on these trees.  They look like this:

Soap nuts have an outer shell that contains a substance called saponin. Saponin is a 100% natural, 100% organic alternative to chemical detergents and cleansers.  Saponin (the soap) is released by the shell into warm or hot water.  Put several in your washing machine and amazingly it cleans clothing!  Since it does not have chemicals in it and is fragrance and dye-free, I can wash Solomon's baby clothes in it too.  That's a time saver for me - everyone's things can be washed together.  That makes me happy!

Soap nuts are very easy to use.  They come in a larger muslin bag.  I just take out 5 or 6 and put them into the small muslin bag that comes with it.

If I'm washing things in warm or hot water - I just toss in the small bag of soap nuts.  I tend to wash our clothing in cold water, so that means I need to warm up soap nuts so the saponin will be released.  So for that I either get some hot water from my tea kettle - or heat up water in the microwave for about a minute and a half - and drop the bag of soap nuts into the hot water.  (I have the hot water in a coffee mug.)  Wait about 3 minutes (perfect time to load the washing machine) and then pull out the little bag by the drawstring and toss it onto the clothes in the washing machine.  Wash as normal.  When I'm transferring clothing to the dryer, I pull out the soap nuts bag.  But if I don't see it, I don't worry about finding it right then.  It is ok to let go through the dryer.

If clothing is really yucky, I like to add in several drops of Eucalyptus essential oil.  If I'm washing sheets or towels I like to add in a few drops of Lavender essential oil.

The soap nuts work amazingly well.  Even cleaning stinky, dirty clothes from hard work on our little farm.  I like that clothes come out soft and have no smell.  I've never really liked the harsh smell of chemical detergents anyway, and now when I get a whiff of them, I find them quite overwhelming.

Soap nuts are also a great way to save money.  You can re-use the same ones 5-7 times.  My mind is too busy and overwhelmed to usually remember how many times I've used them, so I like to make a tally mark on the page of a tiny notebook I keep in my laundry area.  Here is my set up:

On the left is the larger bag full of soap nuts.  I keep the little bag that I'm using in the bowl when it's not in the washing machine.  Bottles of essential oil on the right.  (And that's cloth diaper detergent behind them.  I've never tried washing cloth diapers with soap nuts.)  There's a blue tack on the edge of the shelf - that has my little notebook on a ribbon hanging there.  Pen on the shelf by it.

I'm sure this woman would have appreciated throwing a little bag of soap nuts into a modern washing machine!
 (photo credit:

I buy my soap nuts from a CCS mom who sells them through her website: .  This is a mom who I met through Lilly.  :)  Her name is Cindy and she has graciously offered to let my readers purchase soap nuts for a 10% discount.  There is an banner towards the top right side of this blog that you can click through to get to Cindy's website.  When you checkout just enter "Lilly10" for your discount. 

Cindy also sells a soap nuts shampoo.  I love it.  When I was pregnant with Lilly my long hair was soft and shiny.  (Probably from all the super supplements I was taking to try to help her.)  Then after I had her my hair slowly began to get more and more dull and dry.  I tried all kinds of special shampoos and conditioners but nothing helped much.  But then I tried the soap nuts shampoo last winter and after only a few washings, my hair was greatly improved.  It is now soft and healthy.  (HaHa - I feel like a walking advertisement for soap nuts.  I'm not getting paid for this.  I just really appreciate this stuff!)

I know that Cindy also uses soap nuts for cleaning.  I have not tried that yet but need to.  Her website is full of helpful videos and information. 

When Hunter (my budding engineer) was a baby, he was fascinated by the washing machine.  We have a front loader and once he could sit up by himself, I could sit him in front of it and he could sit still and watch it long enough for me to get a chore or two done.  He still is fascinated by washing machines and often draws pictures of them.  Usually they are quite complex and show all their hook up pipes, control panel and all.  Last year, he wrote a book about washing machines.  It is called Woofie and the Washing Machine.  The pages, which he stapled together at the side, are filled with pictures of different washing machines.  It is a "real page turner" - all the washing machines are busy packing to go on a trip.  The back cover asks "Will they make it?"  Here are a few pictures (of washing machines) from his book.  (I don't know why the pictures show up in my new-to-me photo program - Picasa - as straight but I can't get them straight here.)

Aren't those the happiest washing machines you've ever seen?

I never thought I'd be writing a post about laundry.  But here you go!  Give the soap nuts a try and don't forget your discount code:  Lilly10.  I hope you're as pleased as I am.  :)


  1. I love this post! Sometimes for me a happy washing machine is an empty one, just saying! But we do enjoy the soap nuts and it is pretty cool that the Lord is cleverly created them! H is a wonder and so are all the members of Lilly's family!

    1. Thank you Cindy! And thank you for your generous discount for me and my readers! :) We think your family is wonderful too.

  2. Just and interesting factoid…the soap nuts have chemicals…saponin is a chemical…it is impossible to buy something that is chemical free unless you buy nothingness..
    so the difference in chemicals is natural vs. synthetic ones…but everything is made of chemicals… I recently learned this after seeing so many "chemical free" products around and felt like sharing =)…these soap nuts look neat though and if they save money they sound really great! thanks for posting about them!

    1. Good point Anna - thank you! :)