The world’s only 100% renewable detergent

Have you ever gone to put a load of laundry in your washing machine … and then realised you’re out of detergent?? It happens to the best of us!

Washing powders, laundry liquid and the ubiquitous laundry liquitabs can hurt our pockets in more ways than one.
You know, no-one talks about how to save the planet AND save money at the same time! Let me tell you a secret about how YOU can!
soap nuts These days, the smart money is on environmentally-conscious, money-saving products … ones that deliver reliable results! The humble item I’m about to share with you fits the bill on all three counts: it saves money, it’s sustainable, and folks like you and I are delighted with the results.

It’s a curious thing but people are often sceptical about anything new, particularly anything unusual-looking. When you first see a soapberry you wonder how on Earth this truly strange-looking item can possibly be used in laundry or for making gentle shampoo! “What is this thing?” I hear you ask. The Indian Soapberry or Soapnut – Sapindus Mukorossi, to give it its Latin name – comes from the same genus as the lychee. Its properties are inherent in its name: ‘sapo’ meaning ‘soap’ and ‘indicus’ meaning ‘of India’.

The trees are highly prized in rural India; the wood is used in construction and the fruit as a source of revenue. The organically-grown berries contain a high proportion of natural saponin or mild soap which is gentle on sensitive skin.
Ecologically this is a sustainable, entirely renewable resource; the fruit is harvested and sun-dried, the seeds removed and planted to ensure crops for future generations. Sapindus Mukorossi has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to nourish and hydrate skin and hair, and laboratory tests show it to have mildly antimicrobial properties.

Customers across the country are delighted with the results even if the vast majority of them were sceptical at first about using something so out-of-the-ordinary to wash their clothes. “Try them. You won’t regret it!” we hear again and again.

– Soapnuts are most effective in your washing machine on a 30, 40 or 60-degree wash and can also be used for handwashing.
–  Proven to be safe for sensitive skin – yet delivering startlingly good results reliably enough to convert the most hardened sceptic.
– The mild suds care for your fabrics and keep colours bright with no need for artificially-perfumed conditioner.
– Each handful of dried berries is reusable for up to four to six washes, after which they can be composted.
– They have become an extremely popular, effective and money-saving alternative to regular laundry detergents in some circles.
– They are great to take if your are travelling too. Even if you’ve spilled washing powder or squashed liquitabs all over your luggage in the past, there’s no danger of mess with soapnut shells! They’re lightweight and space-saving, too!

soapnut salve

The Indian Soapberry is also used in producing natural skin balms and healing salves, as well as in making solid shampoo and body wash bars. All of these are perfect for sensitive skin and for anyone trying to cut down on their plastic waste.

Yes, you CAN shine your environmentally-friendly halo, knowing that soapnuts actually work … and save you money! If you’re on a “journey to zero waste”, looking for ways to save money now that your family has expanded or you are simply trying to find something that does not irritate your skin then the gentle Indian Soapberry is well worth looking into!

And you can do that HERE! 

By Nicola Broadsmith,

Cleaner Laundry Part 1

Many people believe that eco practices need to be big bold statements, a complete 180 on the things they currently do, which scares people off the idea.
This is a shame, I am a big believer in taking small steps, making small changes and it adding up to a big difference.

Many people also believe that using eco friendly products is automatically more expensive. This is not true. And one area that addresses both of these points beautifully is the humble laundry, the humdrum, everyday, not exactly thrill a minute (unless a red sock got in with the whites) practice of washing ones clothes.

But actually, in eco terms it is quite exciting because EVERYBODY (or their Mum!) does it. Perhaps not everyday, but every few, or every week for most I would wager, and it is a chore. We wear clothes, we would usually like to re-use them (a good eco practice right there!) and so we wash them, not for the fun of it but the necessity. And for most its quite habitual. We find a washing powder, liquid or tabs that we like, a fabric softener that has a pleasing scent and that’s what we use, because we like them, they do their job, so why change it?

Well, if we did all change our laundry products it would make a massive difference, to both ourselves and the environment at large. And, before you ask, yes eco friendly laundry products can be just as effective on dirt and cost effective too.
Lets look at some of the things in mainstream laundry products that in eco terms are less than ideal.

Phosphates

These are probably the one that most people would have heard of, they are there to help with removing dirt from clothes (also found in washing up liquids or dishwasher products) but when they get washed down the drain they can cause problems.

When they find their way into waterways they cause algal blooms, which is a big problem if you are living in or dependent upon that water as they can harm or even kill the organisms by depleting the oxygen in the water, blocking the light, and even

blocking the gills of fish. Whilst the quantity of phosphates or phosphonates has decreased in the last 30 years, there is still along way to go.

Just as bad, is how phosphates are obtained. They are often strip mined, which has lead to the environmental devastation of many areas it has been mined in, the small pacific island of Nauru which once a paradise has seen 80% of its surface strip mined, leaving it a barren waste land. But this is also a problem in Florida, Brazil, Africa and other countries.

Surfactants

These are pretty essential to washing. They break up the dirt and stains allowing them to be lifted off the clothes and washed away. LAS is the ingredient generally favoured by the industry (Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate), but the trouble with it is that it does not biodegrade without sufficient oxygen.

Bio or non-bio?

Many people automatically reach for the Non-bio because they believe it to be kinder and safer on skin and so it is especially popular for those with small children or sensitive skin. The difference is the presence of enzymes, which are present in order to help break down stains that are protein or fat based. But, whilst they are naturally occurring they can cause skin irritation.

Many people turn to eco friendly laundry products simply because they have a reaction to mainstream brands, with the most common being contact dermatitis. But there are some ingredients that even though more eco friendly and natural can still cause irritations, so it is good to know that there are an array of options out there, not only for your skin, but for how much of a ‘change’ you are comfortable making or how much money you would like to spend/save.

So here are our favourites;

Bio D 

 

These are really good products. We have found them to be just as good as mainstream products for general soiling and are a great choice if you are looking for something that is much more eco- friendly but not too far our of your laundry comfort zone!

 

  • 100% of their range is hypoallergenic,
  • they are also 100% natural, plant based products,
  •  are committed to sustainable practices
  • and are credited with the 14001 standard
  • not to mention also vegan.
  • The bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic, and are recyclable.
  • Available in 1L or 5L sizes!

EcoEgg Laundry Eggs

 

A complete replacement for laundry detergent, you just place it in the drum of your washing machine and let it work its magic. While a little quirkily different from regular detergents, they are independently laboratory proven to perform just as well as regular detergents.

  • They are supported by Allergy UK and the National Eczema Society they are perfect for even the most sensitive of skin.

They also score big points for being economical, with their 720 egg, being good for 720 loads of washing!! That is 3 YEARS worth of washing for the average family and works out at under 3p per wash!

They are also not tested on animals and have a very good environmental policy. And are vegan.

Soap Nuts

 

Organic SoapnutsOur most quirky offering is the wonderful soap nut, which literally grows on trees!

These amazing little shells are highly effective cleaners, you just pop half a dozen in an old sock or muslin bag with your clothes and let them do their thing!

  • They are great for all fabrics and all temperatures.
  • They are great for allergy sufferers or those with very sensitive skin.

Contrary to what their name suggests they are actually a berry not a nut, and so nut allergy suffers need not fear. They contain Saponin a natural detergent, when placed in water the soap nuts absorb the water and release the saponins which act as a natural surfactant and lift dirt grime and oil from clothing.

They are also very affordable, being inexpensive to buy and you can use the same 6 or so shells 6 or so times and then when they are all saponin-ed out you can compost them! Making them truly sustainable, non-toxic and waste free! An amazing eco option. Soap nuts can also be used for washing up, soap or shampoo!

 

So at whatever level you feel comfortable there is a way you can make your washing less impactful on the environment but better for your health too, if we all made a change to one of these alternatives (or any of the others out there) this would equate to not a big effort on our individual parts but a massive difference to our wider environment and perhaps even personal environment and purses!

In part 2 we are going to look at Fabric conditioners and why you perhaps do not need them at all!…