I read it takes less water to make a powdered detergent than a liquid one.
So we tried out some different powder detergents, and I’d still like to try making our own. (Another thing on my list I’d like to do. That sounds like fun!)
When I washed with liquid or powder, it made little difference. No matter the brand, it made little difference. Clean clothes jumped out of the machine but the powder did go a bit farther. I’m just so thankful I don’t have to wash them down in the river with a soap board like our grandmothers did. Or wash everything out by hand to save money like when I traveled across continents.
We tried Borax. Not a cleaner by itself. It’s supposed to “boost” the wash. It didn’t boost jack. I decided it worked better as a cleaning agent for the toilet and bathtub.
Good and bad.
Bad: We have to buy a new washer. :(
Good: Now we could get one of those HE (high-efficiency) washers that use 123 kWh per year. Estimated yearly operating cost is around $13 based on eight wash loads a week. Well, even with cloth diapers, I’m running nowhere near eight wash loads a week. And it uses so much less water!
Then Momphotographer told me about Eco Nuts, an organic laundry soap made of dried berry shells from the Sapindus mukorossi (soap berry) tree in Asia where they’ve used the soap berry to clean clothes for centuries. Oh geez, I sound like a commercial.
They are a fully renewable and sustainable resource according to what I’ve read. This brand claims to be nut allergy safe, 2-in-1 Fabric Softener, no added fragrance or dyes. Safe for septic and gray water systems.
And they work. What a surprise! I was not expecting that. (They even have a write-up about how to use them when you wash cloth diapers.
1) They come in a box, without plastic. The canvas-type bag can be used over and over.
3) They work. (Though they are not perfect and I do sometimes have to wash a bib or a milk stained outfit more than once. It’s not the end of the world and I simply throw it in with the next wash–the heavier/super soiled load. I have never had to wash an entire load more than once. And shouldn’t have to!)
4) The tiny box takes up very little room rather than the big, bulky laundry containers.
5) The berries don’t leave a strong fragrance behind.
1) I’ve found they don’t clean soiled clothes like my husband’s work clothes very well. The directions say to pre soak the berries (in the canvas bag) in hot water for a few minutes for heavily soiled clothes and then start the wash. I’ve started doing this and the clothes DO come out clean now. However, when you do this, the soap berry shells disintegrate faster.
2) If you don’t pull the canvas bag out of the wash as soon as the wash finishes, whatever the bag of soap berries are leaning against will stain pink.
3) To get the poopy diapers clean, it requires a prewash. So really, I’m washing the diapers twice. But boy, do they come out white and clean! Much more so when I washed them with plain detergent. Granted, they soak in Oxi-Clean in the kitty litter bin until it’s full enough for a load. They may sit there a week but that made little difference with the detergent. They always came out—not very white, you know? Even when I put in a cup of vinegar. With these, I don’t have to put in anything.
Well, there’s just a solution for everything, now isn’t there?
(Not being paid to endorse. I just found something I like that works and I want to share it with you. I wouldn’t have heard of these if Ewa hadn’t told me. There are other brands too–Fornya, Green Virgin, NaturOil, Greenwill, Petra, etc. Eco Nuts is the only brand I’ve had a chance to try, but I don’t think the brand matters here, I’m just talking about the soap berry.)
I found them on Amazon, but I’m sure they could be found in most green, eco-friendly or health food stores. If nothing else, look them up and read about them. So interesting! You can compare prices yourself but the brand I bought was about $10 for a 100 load lot. In bulk, they’re cheaper. Since they work, I’m switching over to the soap berry.