Soap Nuts FAQ
Q: I’ve heard of something called soap nuts. Is this the same thing?
A: Soap nuts is the generic term for the berry our products are made with. Eco Nuts has become a widely recognized brand name for soap nut based products. Don’t settle for generic soap nuts. Eco Nuts soap nuts are the only soap nuts to go through a sterilization process for consumer protection. This sterilization process is USDA Organic approved. Our proprietary sorting process also ensures a consistency in shape and texture that makes Eco Nuts pleasant and easy to use. Because we lovingly and carefully hand package in the USA, we can also eliminate individualized plastic wrapping otherwise required by customs.
Q: Do the Eco Nuts soap nuts actually work?
A: You don’t have to take our word for it! We’ve sent off free samples to be reviewed independently and we’ll post them all on here. Check out our testimonials page for customer testimonials, or our Reviews page. We never pay for any of our reviews – they are all honest and unbiased.
Q: Do your laundry products work in a front-loading or High Efficiency (HE) machines?
A: Absolutely! They are low sudsing and high in cleaning power. Just put the wash bag directly into your machine with the rest of your clothes. Because of the large amount of variables with front loading machines, we recommend the liquid detergent for HE machines (though it works in both)
Q: OMG I accidentally put the bag with Eco Nuts into the dryer! Are they still usable?
A: Yes! Never fear – continue use as normal
Q: Is this a berry or a nut or fruit or what?
A: If you want to get technical, it is actually a drupe – a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a pit or large seed. The chinese soapberry tree is closely related to lychees. In the case of Eco Nuts, we have removed the inner seed for you. Other plants that produce drupes are coffee, mangoes, cherries, apricots, peaches and plums
Q: I have nut allergies, are these safe?
A: It is safe for people with nut allergies because it’s a fruit and not a nut (though they definitely resemble nuts!)Many people with severe nut allergies have used Eco Nuts with no problems or reactions. While Eco Nuts has been a terrific solution for many customers with skin allergies and other conditions, people who have many allergies or compromised immune systems should always take proper precautions and first wash one small item in a small container or sink OR do a patch test before washing an entire load in the washing machine.
Q: How do these work exactly?
A: Eco Nuts contain an all natural chemical called saponin that acts as a surfactant. The saponin is released from the berry when it is agitated in water. Regular detergents also contain a manmade, chemical surfactant. Surfactants work by breaking the surface tension of the water so it better penetrates cloth fibers. The agitation made by your laundry machine shakes the dirt loose and and the saponin holds it in the water until it is rinsed away. To learn more about surfactants, check out our blog post.
Q: Because the bag is in the machine for the whole wash, even the rinse cycle, is that okay? Are my clothes being washed twice?
A: In the rinse cycle, Eco Nuts release very little saponin since the rinse cycle is cooler water. That small amount of saponin acts as a natural fabric softener opening up fibers and making your clothes soft and fluffy without heavy residue buildup like other fabric softeners.
Q: Can I use bleach with these?
A: Sure! We recommend an eco-friendly oxygen bleach, but any brand is fine. Keep in mind that standard bleach deteriorates fabrics through oxidation causing them to wear out sooner. Another Eco-friendly way of bleaching is by putting your articles out in the sun.
Q: How Do I store Eco Nuts?
A: Make sure they are kept in a cool, dry place away from any moisture.
Q: There’s some berry halves in here. Are those okay to use and will they still work?
A: Yes, you can use them! The saponin is contained in the skin of the berry so any sized piece will still release that saponin. There are some companies that only offer whole berries but we don’t see why any should go to waste, which is why when it goes through our hand-sorting process we allow some halves to get through and we judge on size and weight. The berries are slit open during the pitting/drying process so sometimes the whole berries break in two. When measuring for your bag, simply take two halves to equal a whole! The pieces can also be re-used – same as the whole berries.
Q: Do I need to use hot or warm water or can I wash in cold water?
We encourage you to read the labels on your garments and linens and wash with the recommended temperature of the fabric. Eco Nuts will work in any temperature water. Hot water will release more saponin. Sometimes in very cold water they will not release enough soap to really clean clothes, so in those cases we recommend making “tea” by placing the bag with the nuts into a cup of hot water and letting it sit up to 10 minutes, then add both the water and bag directly into the drum of the machine. Alternatively you can use our liquid detergent if you only wish to do cold water washing, which is formulated to work in a wider range of water conditions. You can read more on hot water vs cold water in our blog post here. In cases of very soiled garments, it’s a good idea to wash on warmer water temperatures as that will not only aid in the release of more soap, but the release of soil from clothes as well.
Q: How do I tell when the Eco Nuts are used up?
A: There are a few ways to tell when the nuts are used up. A disintegrated soap nut won’t look like it did originally. It will be thin, light colored and falling apart and will resemble floppy/broken peanut shells. It may also crunch or break apart when you squeeze it (if dry).
Here is a chart showing you when they are done.
Here’s some other ways to tell:
1. Smell the bag when wet.
Saponin has a fruity odor when wet. When you take the bag out of the machine, smell it. If there is a slight fruity smell, the nuts are still good for more loads.
2. Run the bag under a faucet and squeeze.
You’ll see little tiny suds if there is still soap.
3. Feel the nuts when wet.
They will have an almost slippery sudsy feeling to them if there is still soap.
Also, one of our reviewers made this video to show their experience after using them 11 times.