Do Soap Nuts Really Work?

kirsten.jpgToday I’m so honored to have my friend Kirsten guest post on Coco’s Well! She’s one of the most amazing mothers I know and as a former microbiologist she takes tremendous care in providing her family with homemade food and a healthy lifestyle. She’s also become quite the expert on essential oils and if you’d like to learn more from her you can follow her FB group Joyfully Essential. It’s an awesome place to learn more about the power of essential oils. 



 My journey towards a healthier lifestyle is probably similar to many of yours.  I got pregnant and started noticing how almost everything had a warning. I was particularly worried about what I was putting on my skin.  Knowing that the skin is our largest organ, gave me a great place to start.  I knew that trying to live more naturally was going to be a big task, so I started in ways I thought would be impactful and fun. 🙂
I was intrigued when I first heard of Soap Nuts (buy them here). Nuts were going to wash my clothes? In a simplistic way it just makes sense! This earth really does provide all that we need.  I thought it was worth a shot.  I know what you’re thinking… Are you nuts?
 I completely understand if you are thinking, “Nuts are washing your clothes are you crazy?” or possibly even “Don’t stand too close to that family” but I’m telling you- they work! The soap nuts release something called saponin (aka soap) when in contact with warm water in order to clean your clothes. 
When I first started using them, my background as a microbiologist kicked in- and the desire to test and prove these soap nuts began….
My husband takes our 80 lb boxer for a 40 min run most nights- and God love him- he comes home SWEATY! So I was skeptical myself whether the soap nuts could really handle not just “normal everyday dirty clothes” but “drenched in sweat, ewwww” dirty clothes.  I am pleased to say that I have yet to wash anything with my soap nuts that hasn’t come out clean! Pretty impressive.  I should mention a couple things.  First of all if I have something that has a stain, I treat it with a stain stick (like this one) before washing.  Second, I have young babies which means that sometimes we have crazy poop covered clothing to deal with.  On these occasions I wash with detergent (like this one).  The soap nuts might be able to handle these just fine, but this is what I do until I am brave enough to test out the soap nuts. I’ll update you guys when I do! Or maybe you already use soap nuts on stains and diapers? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! 


  1.  Place 5 soap nuts in the draw string bag provided (or buy one here)
  2. Place the bag in the washer (I have a high efficiency washing machine) 
  3. Add clothes (the website recommends smaller loads, and using hot water, however you are not required to do either)
  4. Add two drops of lavender, thieves, or purification essential  (buy quality essential oils here) to the fabric softener area of the washer. 
  5. Remove the bag before drying clothes
  6. This bag can be used for 3-5 loads (until the soap nuts become soft and gray- I have to be honest I have never seen them get this way- I just stick to the 3-5 rule)
My only complaint with the soap nuts is a common one from what I’ve seen…… no smell.  Habit has conditioned me to equate flowery smell with cleanliness.  How excited was I to incorporate another love of mine, essential oils as a solution. (buy them here) Now I can add in the soft smell of lavender or fresh lemon oil to my washing machine to appease the senses.  Its so important to make sure that you use quality essential oils.  Remember that these oils have the potential to help with the laundry, you wouldn’t want to taint the whole process by using something of a lesser quality that could have the additives you are trying to avoid. 
Another great laundry trick that I found for my essential oils is perfect for busy moms.  How many times have you left your laundry sitting in the washer- just to have to re-wash it since it gets that “musty smell”? Right? Well instead of washing a couple times or needing to add in crazy fabric softeners to mask that smell- one or two drops of Thieves essential oil takes that smell right away! Yet another reason to love my oils- it takes a mommy fail moment and turns it into a mommy win.  
Overall, I still have a long way to go incorporating natural ways of living into my life, but hey- having the “largest organ” as a start makes me feel pretty good.Do Soap Nuts Work Find out from a microbiologist



  1. Nicole

    I am just wondering what do you do with the soap nuts once you have used them 3-5 times? Do you just add to mulch or the garden or just throw it the lawn?

  2. Jamie

    Nicole, We add them to our compost in this house.

    Once we move to a more sustainable home (i.e. land for all the things I need to plant) I hope to plant a tree 🙂

  3. Nicole

    Thank you for your reply! I appreciate it very much 🙂

  4. nancy

    After your 3-5 uses you can make shampoo or body washes and after that you can make an all purpose cleaner along with adding the oils there is still lots of life after the washing machine

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