Natural laundry solutions- soap nuts & wool dryer balls!


Since this is a very frequently asked question I thought I’d type up a note on it for future reference. There are many detergents out there claiming to be natural, but there really, truly is nothing as natural as a using a berry that grows on a tree to do your laundry, and then either line drying, or tossing your clothes in the dryer with some wool dryer balls.

Soap Nuts– nature’s answer to our laundry needs. I can’t stress how much I love these little berries. I use EcoNuts, mainly because they come very highly recommended by others & they’re USDA certified organic. I bought mine on Amazon. I’m still on my 1st box which says it does 100 loads & it cost ~$15 delivered. I keep track of how many loads I’ve done, and I’m currently at 120, with several berries still left in the box so it looks like I will get ~150 loads!! I use 3 for my diaper loads, and 4 for my regular laundry (keep loads on the small side of large). When it’s time to reorder I’m going to buy the box that does 360 loads, which should get me around 500 loads!!!! A few things I love about them include the fact that they contain a natural fabric softener too, and seriously my clothes/diapers have never been softer, even when line dryed. I also LOVE the tiny cardboard box they come in, which can be recycled, reused, or burned in your woodstove if you’re lucky enough to have one to heat your house, as I do! I love that you can use the same berries to do 10 loads of laundry. I love that they don’t cause buildup as other detergents do & thus I’ve never had to strip my diapers since using them. Here’s a list of other benefits taken from the site

  • Sustainable: It’s a renewable resource, easily grown organically.
  • All Natural: No funky or harmful ingredients.
  • “Green”: Less processing, less energy and less packaging.
  • Affordable: They can replace multiple cleaners, and last longer.
  • Reusable: Each berry can be used up to 6 times before it’s spent.
  • Hypoallergenic: No skin or respiratory irritation and non-toxic.
  • Not Actually Nuts: They’re totally safe for those with nut allergies.
  • Simple: Throw them in your wash or make a simple liquid detergent.
  • Odorless: But you can always add your own essential oils.
  • Gentle: Their mild nature won’t damage delicate clothing or surfaces.
  • No Fabric Softener: They naturally soften your fabrics!
  • Save Water: They rinse easier so require less water.
  • Save Energy: You can use a shorter rinse cycle in your laundry, too.
  • Front-loading Friendly: No suds are perfect for HE machines.
  • Works in Any Temperature: Use them in cold, warm or hot water.
  • Non-polluting: 100% biodegradable and safe for graywater systems.
  • Compostable: Used shells can be thrown in your compost.
  • Self-sufficient: You can even grow a soap nut tree yourself!
  • Countless Uses: Check out the link for many other uses for them!

What exactly are they & how do they work? Here are the basics from EcoNuts site:

“Eco Nuts® Soap Nuts are a berry that grows in the Himalayas that naturally produces a soap. The soap is called saponin, a natural cleaner that works as a surfactant, breaking the surface tension of the water to penetrate the fibers of your clothing, lifting stains from the fabric and leaving dirt suspended in the water that is rinsed away.

Eco Nuts are gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin, eczema, allergies and psoriasis. Because they are so mild, they are perfect for baby clothes and cloth diapers. All-Natural Eco Nuts are also great for septic and grey water systems. But don’t expect these shells to foam up like commercial soaps, which have artificial foaming agents. Foam simply does not represent cleaning power.

Eco Nuts are wild-harvested, meaning they are gathered from wild trees grown without any kind of chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. The saponin actually tastes bad to insects so no pesticides are needed, and the trees naturally love poor uncultivated soil. They are organically grown by mother earth and certified USDA Organic by Oregon Tilth. Our soap nuts are both de-seeded and sterilized for consumer protection – the only soap nuts on the market that are both!”

Here’s a link to natural stain-fighting tips:

  • For more Frequently Asked Questions, please visit EcoNuts page:

For the dryer—  Wool dryer balls! I line dry as much as possible, but we have a lot of grey days here in Wisconsin, especially during the fall & winter. Here are some reasons why wool dryer balls are a great choice, especially over plastic dryer balls! Taken from the Stoney Mountain Farm site:

  • Dryer sheets and fabric softeners coat the fibers of your clothing, inhibiting their ability to breathe and/or absorb.
  • Dryer sheets and fabric softeners contain these chemicals:

Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer • Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant • Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders • Alpha-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic • Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled.

  • Dryer Sheets take years to break down in the land fill.
  • Dryer Balls create loft in the dryer allowing the heat to distribute more evenly, hence reducing drying time, hence reducing electrical use, hence reducing carbon foot print AND electric bills!
  • Dryer Balls, with a minimum life of 1 year, used several times a week for 50 weeks of a year cost less than standard dryer sheets and definetly less than the more earth friendly dryer sheets.
  • Plastic dryer balls are, PLASTIC and not made in the USA and do not support your U.S farmer. We have also gotten customer reports of the plastic dryer balls damaging the sensors inside their dryer.
  • Wool Dryer Balls are much quieter than the plastic ones.

Molly’s Suds has this great tip for fighting static: “Use 2 safety pins pinned to any two items in your dryer to stop static cling or add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar to your rinse cycle.”

These are the original ones I purchased off Amazon  in April of 2012. So I’ve been using them almost 2 years now, and I know of people that have been using the same ones for several years, especially if alternated with line drying- 3 for $19.95: .

Molly’s Suds offers a 3 pack for $20. They’re larger than the one’s I bought off Amazon, smaller than the one’s available from EcoNuts:

EcoNuts: 4 King Size for $26.99- they really are jumbo!

Here’s a photo showing the 3 options, from left to right: Everyday Willow, Molly’s Suds, EcoNuts


Dryer ball oils: After years of going scent-free, it was so refreshing to start using Poofy’s dryer ball oils. What most of us do: once your load is dry spritz a ball with a few squirts & run an air fluff (or other non-heat) cycle for a couple of minutes. Here’s my Poofy affiliate link to them:

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: EcoNuts Organic Liquid Laundry Soap Giveaway! | Eco-friendly baby/family products MADE in USA
  2. Christina G
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 03:44:18

    LOVE my soap nuts! 🙂 my mom brags to everyone! 🙂 no toxins! 🙂



  3. Lori Kilvanick
    Nov 21, 2014 @ 20:10:53

    I just tried soap nuts for the first time last buying club. I throw one in my dishwasher too 🙂



  4. Elizabeth Roberts
    Nov 21, 2014 @ 23:13:09

    I love soap nuts and use them for laundry and other cleaning uses as well!



  5. Cynthia Hayden
    Nov 22, 2014 @ 05:37:33

    I’ve heard nothing but great things about eco nuts and just placed my first order! Can’t wait to try it!!!



  6. Sarah
    Nov 24, 2014 @ 02:55:57

    Haven’t tried soap nuts yet but would love to



  7. Marisa Mascitelli
    Nov 24, 2014 @ 20:01:49

    I haven’t tried them yet but want to.



  8. Kyley
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 15:53:32

    YES, I’ve used in laundry and intrigued to try in dishwasher!



  9. Jessica M.
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 22:11:07

    I haven’t tried them yet



  10. Lynn P
    Jan 28, 2016 @ 04:57:51

    Do you find they actually work well for cleaning the laundry? My husband works as a mechanic and often has JetA (a fuel) fumes on his clothes, or various oils and greases. I am definitely interested, but I want to make sure they work.



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