At least this is how I use them.

Thanks to Paxye for introducing me to soap nuts however long ago that was. They are affordable, biodegradable and effective (although there is no “whitening” power to washing with them). I buy 1 kg bags that last me more than 6 months (even when I was washing diapers too)! My clothes are clean and not covered in detergent residue and they have no scent unless I add it with essential oils (lavender is my favourite).

You only need a few shells.

Soap Nuts Tutorial

Put them in a thin cloth bag or thin sock. If you are washing in cold water you need to “activate” the soap nuts in a bowl of hot water. Out of habit, I do this each time regardless of the temperature of the water.

Enclosed in bag

If you agitate or squeeze them the soap will come out. (I did this for the sake of a picture. You don’t need to do this before washing.)

Soap is activated in hot water

Simply put the closed bag into the wash after the machine has filled and add a few drops of essential oil if you’d like to give your clothes a faint scent. Take the bag out before it goes into the dryer.

These same soap nuts will wash one or two more loads. Sometimes I’ll add one more shell to the bag before using them again.

Soap Nuts

I buy my soap nuts from a online store based in Quebec. They have by far the best price I’ve ever seen for soap nuts, even with shipping in mind. A one kilogram bag is usually about $20, although the price is sometimes lower when on sale.

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9 Responses to How to use Soap Nuts

  1. Gabriolan says:

    This is fascinating. Where do you buy them?

  2. Annie says:

    I buy mine from Quebec. They’re the best price I’ve seen. They’re price has gone up slightly but it’s still the cheapest. $21.95 for 1 kg/at least 144 washes!

  3. Gabriolan says:

    Thanks so much, Annie. I found a Vancouver-based site where I can get a sample bag of soap nuts for a few bucks. I’m going to do that so that I can try them out. But for a 1 kg bag, the price you quoted is indeed cheaper than what I see elsewhere.

  4. Annie says:

    Not to say that you shouldn’t try a sample but keep in mind that laundry detergent residue stays in your clothes for a few washes so you won’t necessarily be washing with just the soap nuts until it finally washes out. I’d be happy to give you a sample for free if you’d like. Save yourself a few bucks…

  5. Krista says:

    I Love lavender too, but right now we happen to be using grapefruit essential oil. So nice. I have never activated the soap nuts before (eek, didn’t know I was supposed to!) and my laundry always comes out super clean. I am amazed by the effectiveness and glad you mentioned them so long ago. I just need to find a more economical source as we are still buying the little bags once a month at the health food store. Not cheap!

  6. Krista says:

    I’ll check out that link that you posted – I just spotted it above.

  7. Dawn Suzette says:

    This is great Annie! I have been thinking of trying them. Another friend just shared that she uses them too…I will have to look around here for some to try out!

  8. Rebecca says:

    Hey Gabriolan, if you’re located near Vancouver Island, you should check out

    I think they’re based in Duncan, but they do free delivery to greater Victoria, and their shipping is reasonable. It costs about $14 for a bag that’ll do 100 washes (actually right now they’re having a deal – just $12.50 so I bought a BUNCH).

  9. lunalupis says:

    I just love the use of soap nuts! What a wonderful alternative to Chemicals! And they save so much money too! When you use soap nuts, you are effectively undercutting the multinational, chemically-laden, detergent pushing companies… this leads to higher cost, which leads to more and more people looking for viable alternatives! And for a boost you can mix it with baking soda &/or tea tree oil! I plan on buying my next bag of soap nuts from:
    Mountain Rose Herbs
    They have cotton muslin bags too!

    Check out my blog at:
    The Little Red Homestead In The Woods / an Amber Fox Farms blog

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