Let me first tell you how I came to use soap nuts, after starting to pay attention to the ingredients labels on the food we were eating and gradually cutting most of it out, I came across articles and blogs on products like hand wash and household cleaners and the nasty chemicals they contain plus the fact that it saves money making your own. When my husband started uni I knew we would have to be a bit more frugal so I started off making my own hand wash (post here) then over the christmas and new year period financial problems just piled on us through no fault of our own, then just recently our gas/electric months bill doubled! not a great christmas or start to the new year … i know!! So it was no longer a.. take your time changing to become frugal.. we had no choice but to act fast because the next few months and possibly the year were to be tight, we wouldn’t be saving any money, we would just be getting what we could with the money we had.
First of all we took advantage of the January sales and bought cloth nappies with our nappy budget which means that the next quarter we wouldn’t have to worry about nappies, after doing our budget and realising the money we had left over was our food budget, we took our once a quarter trip to Costco and bought supplies , we also had a few Sainsburys petrol vouchers but we had to spend money first so we got all the deals of the things we needed and couldn’t get from Costco then filled up the petrol tank, minus 12p a litre.
We have a chest freezer and make good use of it, it is now full of meals either prepared or unprepared and we have our dinner menus planned out until the end of march, of course there are a few things we still need to buy every week like fruit, milk and yogurt and we have found being a small family paying a couple of pence more for a lettuce that lasts longer better for us. I hate throwing food out but I’m not to keen on using anything after use by dates. 🙂 so nappies and food were sorted, now we just needed laundry detergent.
We were using persil liquid so I looked for a liquid recipe and after a lot of research and reading of comments I settled for one that contained castile soap (which I buy anyway), bicarobante of soda, soda crystals and white vinegar and we have plenty of that! then we received our cloth nappies yay!! (i use pocket for day and bamboo with a triple insert for night time) and read the instructions of how to care for them .. do not use vinegar or washing soda.. nooooooo!! back to the internet I go to my trusty website Stacy Makes Cents this is where my crock pot cooking really started but more on that later, I found an article she had written on soap nuts (here) I had never heard of them before but they were cheap, no chemical and best of all you can use them with cloth nappies yay!! i was so excited! After a bit more research and about a month using them here is what I found..
I ordered these from amazon they were £9.79 for 1kg and I didn’t expect the bag to be so big. There is enough in this 1kg bag for 1000 washes, I must admit my first thought was, yeah right! but after seeing that I can get up to 5 or 6 washes a little bag of six I’m a little more convinced. It says on the bag use 4-6 soap nuts in the cloth bag provided and I’ve read they can last 3-7 washes, so i start checking after 3 washes to see that they are still creating suds, how? I dip them in a glass of warm water and squeeze the bag if I can see suds then they are still ok to use, if not then I change for a new set, I’ve never got over 6 or under 5 washes out of them.
I wash my cloth nappies on a long 60 wash, we rinse off the dirty ones as soon as we can so that it prevents staining, with the weather being so wonderfully cold and miserable drying them in the sun to bleach them isn’t an option at the moment. I have washed dirty food stained baby clothes and they have come out washed just like they usually would with our usual shop bough detergent. Any tough or dried on stains and something extra would need to be used, I haven’t tried that yet 🙂 the laundry doesn’t smell at all using just soap nuts. For our regular laundry we are still using the gallon of homemade liquid with a rinse of vinegar and essential oils but I think that soap nuts is going to be the way forward of us, I’m sure we have plenty of detergent and nuts to last us a while yet.