I've heard all sorts of good things about soap nuts lately. Do any of you ladies use them, either on your regular laundry or for diapers?
My SIL bought some here in Laos, and as far as I know has been using them on her cloth. Hasn't said too much about them, but I think they work for her.
Mara & Joel, 2009
I used them! I actually used them for all of our laundry plus my cloth diapers for maybe a year, year and a half. They work great! I was totally selling everyone on them for a long time. The only thing I eventually got tired of was fishing the little baggie out of the load if I needed to do more than one load in a row. It wasn't that big a deal, but that combined with the fact that I hate having to buy soap online added up to my eventually getting lazy enough to revert back to the most clean-rinsing stuff I could buy in person. But I'd definitely recommend giving them a shot and seeing if they work for you. There's nothing more pure and natural, that's for sure, and they did do a good job!
I did end up buying some (and fortunately I can buy them at several stores nearby). The jury is still out though. What did you find worked better - hot, warm, cold? And how many loads did you reuse them for?
My cloth diapers seems clean, but my kids said their clothes were still dirty?? I keep using them and give them a fair shot.
The instructions I had said you had to soak them in hot water for a minute before using if you were going to wash in cold (to activate them). I didn't do anything fancy, just filled a cup with hot water from the sink and stuck the baggie in it while I loaded up the washer. Weird about your kids complaining, though. Like I said, I used them on all of our laundry for over a year and never had a problem with my clothes being insufficiently cleaned at all! Are your kids used to detergents with scents, and/or did they have a lot of staining on their clothes? Soap nuts are great for cleaning but they don't have any other power so if you need to remove stains, you definitely have to do that separately.
You can reuse them until they are gray and mushy when dry. The package said that would be 4-5 loads, but I found that mine lasted longer than that, even...maybe because I mostly wash in cold?
It was strange that they complained. We don't use scented detergents because I use the same thing for diapers as for everything else (country save and recently a locally made natural detergent). I think I'll try them with a warm wash and see if that works better. It could have been stains that they noticed. We have acreage and they are outside a lot and their clothes do get pretty dirty.
Yes, washing in warm should definitely help. I think the saponin is released much faster with heat.
I also kept a bar of Fels-Naptha above the washer along with an old toothbrush, and would just wet it with the washer water and give any obvious stains a quick scrub as I put the clothes in. That pretty much covered it.