DIY · Life

How We Do Laundry Without Laundry Detergent

That’s right, you heard me.  No detergent.

Don’t worry, our clothes still come out clean and fresh smelling!  How can this be?!

With these.

Soap nuts/soap berries are dried Sapindus Mukorossi fruit that contain natural soap called saponin.  They are very eco-friendly, as well as budget friendly…win win!  We purchased the 4 pound bag for $40, which should last us a good long while!

Here’s how they work.

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This 4 pound bag we purchased came with four of these small muslin bags for holding them in the washer, a small bottle of liquid concentrate made of soap berries, and an information/instruction booklet.

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Here you can see the directions for using the soap berries


Place 5-6 soap nuts in one of the muslin bags

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Tie the bag closed


Toss the bag o’nuts into your washing machine


(If you are washing with cold water, you can help the soap nuts do their job well by soaking them for a few minutes in hot water first, then add the soap nuts and soaking water to the washing machine)


Now just add your items to be washed…


And let ‘er rip!


During washing, you won’t see many suds.  But don’t be alarmed!  This is normal, and cleaning is still happening.  Most laundry detergents contain foaming agents, which produce the suds that we associate with successful cleaning.  It’s the way we’ve been taught through marketing.  However, suds are not necessary for cleaning to happen, despite what your conditioned brain might tell you.

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After the washing machine has done its thing, simply locate and remove the bag of soap berries.  (If you want to prolong the life of your soap berries even further, you can remove them after the wash cycle and before the rinse cycle, but this is not necessary.)  Each batch of soap nuts that you use should last on average between 4-7 loads of laundry.


Next, just set the muslin bag containing the soap nuts aside to dry…unless you have more laundry to do, then by all means toss them back in the washer!

This particular load contained some of our usual, decently soiled clothes such as things we’ve worked in on the farm and Joe’s work clothes.  The soap nuts do just as good of a job as the “natural” laundry detergents we’ve been using, meaning that they came out looking and smelling clean.  That’s what you want when your clothes come out of the washing machine, isn’t it?!  There isn’t any scent to speak of left on the clothes, but if you wanted to you could use essential oils and wool dryer balls to add a pleasant scent of your choice in the dryer.


7 thoughts on “How We Do Laundry Without Laundry Detergent

  1. Thanks for sharing! Looks like soap nuts/berries are the next big thing 🙂 Just yesterday I saw a post about soap nuts and was wondering if there was an alternative for those with nut allergies 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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