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Finding ways to do laundry sustainably – soapberries

What is the most responsible and practical method to do laundry? This is a question we have been asking ourselves for a while. In the past few years, we experimented with many different detergents and went through several swaps. At first, we stopped using conditioners and started to air dry all of our laundry. Then, we swapped detergent pods for liquid eco-friendly detergents. And now, we have swapped these for an eco-friendly, fairtrade and cruelty-free liquid detergent and started using soapberries (also known as soap nuts) for the majority of our laundry.

Soapberries (from the Sapindus mukorossi tree) release saponin when they come in contact with water. We put 3-4 berries in a cotton bag and soak them in hot water for a minute or two. Afterwards, we dump the water and the berries (with cotton bag) inside the washing machine together with the laundry. Almost all of our laundry is washed at 30deg – Bedding, sometimes at 60deg. Socks, underwear, sweaty sports clothing, towels and bedding, all come out clean smelling like nothing really – needed to get used to not having perfume all over our laundry. Only when our laundry has tough or fatty stains, we use the liquid detergent from @seepje_official these stains.

You can use the soapberries about three times, and you can compost them right after. Be aware that they may stain white laundry when you use them for the first time. You can perfectly use them for white laundry with their second or third use, but remove them when finished.

I hear you asking, “why are you still buying plastic bottles of liquid detergent at all?”. Well, we don’t. We bought many of them a long time ago, and since we are using these nuts, it takes forever to go through the 5 bottles of detergent we have left. We are aware that solid plant-based stain removers are on the market, but we have never used them. Have you? That would be our next swap!

Elise & Joy

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