August 25, 2010

Cleaning with Kids: Laundry Soap Nuts

My kids love helping with laundry. I've taught E to put her clothes in the hamper, to sort the dirty clothes into darks and lights, and to load the washer evenly. Now I've found a way to let her add the detergent: soap nuts!

My friend Miki turned me on to these magical little berries that wash and soften your clothes. You just toss them five or six of them in the included baggie, throw them in the washing machine, load your clothes, and you're good to go! According to Naturoli's website:
"...soap nuts are the dried shells (or husks) from the soapberry (or soap berry nut). These berries are the fruit from a quite unique tree species. These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. It can replace many chemical detergents such as those containing sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) that are becoming well known by consumers for being a skin irritant and health hazard."
Yes, I know what you're thinking, and I was pretty skeptical as well. That's why I ordered a sample from Amazon. Following directions, I soaked the berries first and then let E toss it into the wash...

along with all the clothes.

You've got to love this age where household chores are a treat! In the end, I was pretty impressed with the soap nuts. One little bag is good for 4-5 loads, and the clothes came out fresh-smelling and super-soft. (It did not, however, get out stains.) E loved helping me do the laundry this week, and I loved that I didn't have to worry about her handling harsh detergents. Now if I can just teach her to fold... :)

Dancing Boy by Ronald Himler

Dancing BoyThis book isn't about laundry, but it is about naked children! In this wordless story a little boy dances naked into town. One by one the children of the town shed their clothes and leave behind their mundane tasks to follow him dancing through the streets. The local children stop at the edge of town and watch the little boy dance down the road before returning to their clothes and normal lives.

The watercolors are just beautiful! The children's nudity is tasteful, and sure to inspire your little ones to strip. My only complaint would be the lack of action. The adults seem oblivious to the kids' clothing-optional activities; in fact, they ignore them completely. I would have liked to see some interaction between the children and the adults. That small complaint aside, I was charmed by this little story and think it would make a great companion to bath time (or laundry day)!


  1. My kids love to help me out with laundry, mostly I put the wet clothes on the dryer door and they push it in. The nuts look like fun. Can you mix them with real detergent or spray and wash? That way you can get the stains out too.

  2. My kids love to help around the house. I usually have them push buttons on the washer and dryer. I have read a lot about Soap Nuts but haven't tried them yet. I typically use Ecover detergent and I love it, but I'm very curious about the soap nuts. Now that you have tried them, will you continue to use them?

  3. Hey there! I'm so glad you tried the Soap Nuts! But I am sorry to hear that they didn't take out the stains...we haven't had any issues like that, and with two sports & dirt loving boys, we have stains galore. The website where we purchased ours has other natural products that may address stains. Hugs, Miki

  4. Hi

    To help kids fold laundry I made a cardboard version of the laundry flip folder- the kids had a great time folding and even my 2,5 year old was able to fold her shirts on a special small version with very little help! google instuctions for how to make your own from cardboard and have fun with the kids


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