A Greener Laundry – Soap Nuts and Dryer Balls

A few months back, Hip Mountain Mama did a challenge.  They challenged everyone to make one small change in their life to become greener.  I’ve been doing great and will continue to challenge myself to make small changes in 2012.  If you make small changes, one or two a month don’t feel so overwhelming. I thought we were doing good.  I thought we were living green, but the more I looked at each part of my life the more I saw great room for improvement.

This brings me to a recent Twitter party.  I know I am becoming a little addicted to these things.  So much so, that BoulderMomsConnect.com is in the works of hosting its own party! So, I was “at” this party hosted by @Organic_PR where I won some Soap Nuts from Yoreganics.  Perfect timing for my One Small Change Challenge.

If you have never heard of Soap Nuts you are not alone.  Yoreganics describes Soap Nuts as:

Soap nuts (aka soap berries, wash berries, wash nuts, reetha, ritha, aritha) are dried fruit berries that fall from the soapberry tree (Sapindus Mukorossi) found in the Himalayan Mountains of northern India and Nepal. Their outer shells contain saponin, which creates a natural soap when agitated in water -use them in place of traditional detergents and fabric softeners. They effectively clean, soften and remove odors from your laundry – naturally! Soap nuts have been used for centuries as a cleaner and in Ayurvedic medicine as a natural remedy for eczema and psoriasis.

Soap nuts are PERFECT FOR:

  • Soft, hard and well water
  • Delicates: silk, wool and cashmere
  • Military use – no optical brighteners
  • Travel and camping: no heavy liquids to lug
  • Septic and grey water systems – antimicrobial
  • Cloth diapers/pads: remove odors without residue buildup
  • Babies, pets, sensitive skin: gentle, soothing & chemical free
  • Standard and high efficiency washing machines- low sudsing
  • Soothing eczema, psoriasis & allergies – they’re a fruit, not a nut!


Photo from Ellalu and BooBoo Too

So, we’ve been using the Soap Nuts. That’s not all though. If you don’t know, your dryer can be the most expensive appliance in your house.  If you track your kWh used, you’d notice a great decrease if you stop using your dryer all together.  Since I’m not in a current position to stop using my dryer, I thought there has to be a better way to dry my clothes, right?  There is.  My friend makes dryer balls and sells them on her Etsy site.  So I ordered some.  See, two small changes in one month!

How have these two changes, changed my life?

The soap nuts are fun and do not leave any residue or scent on my clothes.  I love that.  I know some folks like the scented laundry detergent, but for me I don’t. I love that they are biodegradable after use and can be added to a compost bin. Best of all, they do the job and get the clothes clean.

Have the dryer balls impacted my kWh used? They have. Our monthly bill has been lessened by a few dollars.  It doesn’t sound like much, but over time this adds up.  We didn’t use dryer sheets before, but if you do these can replace them and leave your clothes static free naturally. They also have drastically reduced our dryer time.  Prior to using these, I would dry on “medium heat” now I can get the clothes dry in less time on “low heat.”  I’m no dryer expert, but it seems to me that running the appliance at a lower temperature may prolong the life of the appliance.

Do you use soap nuts, dryer balls or something else?  There is also a Dryerpod, but I’ll save that for another day.

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