Having a baby can do strange things to people. Things people never gave much thought to before, all of a sudden become a priority. Parents want to know the best and safest options for how to care for their little ones. This can often be the start of a long, investigative journey of parents becoming label detectives and learning all about the ingredients of foods and fabrics and toiletries, not to mention the processes involved in making such items.
Of course, top of the list is often a wondering about the best laundry detergent for babies. Newborns have delicate and sensitive skin and their size means their bodies are not able to process chemicals as efficiently as adults. When it comes to baby laundry soap, nature has provided us an effective alternative to traditional commercial baby detergent. Soap nuts are 100% natural. They are grown on trees, or as we like to say, ‘on a plant, not in a plant’. There are no chemical additives or factory processing. When you buy soap nuts, you know you are choosing a safe, natural, effective option for baby detergent.
Nobody would knowingly rub toxic chemicals into an infant’s skin, yet using regular laundry detergent for babies is doing just that. Chemicals that remain in and on the fabric that we wrap our little ones in, can not only irritate them, but can get into their blood stream through their skin and through breathing. That fresh spring smell of regular laundry detergent is more often than not artificial fragrances used to mask the smell of the chemicals within the detergent. The chemicals include enzymes and surfactants, bulking and binding agents, as well as stabilisers and dyes.
Soap nuts, on the other hand, are simply the outer shell of a berry from the sapindus mukorossi tree. These shells contain naturally occurring saponin, a powerful surfactant that forms foam when agitated with water. With water, soap nuts form an emulsion that can clean your baby’s clothes and linen as an extremely safe alternative to regular baby detergent. There is no toxic chemical residue left on the clothes and no synthetic fragrances left to linger. Using soap nuts as a laundry detergent for babies is a safe and sensible option.
As well as using soap nuts as a laundry detergent for babies’ clothes and linen, they are an effective and proven option for washing cloth nappies/diapers. With conscious consumerism, there is an increasing number of parents opting away from disposable nappies and choosing reusable modern cloth options. It doesn’t make much sense to steer away from the chemical exposure of disposable nappies, only to then wash the cloth versions with regular laundry detergent. Besides being a safer alternative to baby detergent, soap nuts won’t rot the elastic in cloth nappies like some chemical detergents can. This helps prolong the life of the nappies, meaning they can be reused for several years.
If you want to buy soap nuts to use as a baby detergent, they are super easy to get the hang of. You can either use the soap nuts whole or you can make a liquid. When using whole, instead of scooping or pouring regular detergent into the washing machine dispenser, you place four soap nuts into the small calico bag they come with. This bag gets put into the machine along with the clothes or nappies. The water along with the agitation of the washing machine, will cause the soap nuts to froth up as the saponin is released. If you have a front-loading washing machine, you can even watch this happening! When the load is finished washing, the soap nuts are put aside and then re-used up to a total of four times. When using the liquid option, you pour 20mL into the detergent dispenser of the washing machine and wash as usual. There is absolutely no need to add fabric softener or anything else.
Making soap nut liquid to use as a baby laundry detergent is a matter of placing ten soap nuts into a pot of water and bringing to the boil. Once the liquid has reached boiling point, simmer for 40 minutes before cooling and dispensing into a container. The container can then be kept in a cool, dark place and used as you would regular detergent of baby laundry soap. Adding fragrance is absolutely not necessary, as clean smells like nothing! We have been conditioned to think that clean should smell something like lemon or lavender or even that made up ‘clean smell’ of chemical detergents. When you buy soap nuts, you are not paying for any synthetic fragrances, fillers, bulking agents or unnecessary ingredients.
Soap nuts are best used with warm water, however can also be used effectively with cold water washes. For stubborn stains, particularly on cloth nappies, it’s best to let Mother Nature take over, by hanging the washed wares outside in sunshine. Direct sunlight works like a gentle bleach and helps to maintain the quality of the clothes/nappies.
As a laundry detergent for babies, whether for clothes and linen or for cloth nappies, the best option for your baby is soap nuts. Soap nuts are safe, effective, easy to use and very affordable. When you buy soap nuts to use as a baby laundry detergent, you have the reassurance that you are making the very best decisions for keeping your child’s clothes and nappies clean and free from nasty chemicals!
If you would like to buy soap nuts, we make it easy for you with our online store. We have free shipping Australia-wide. Our soap nuts come with all instructions written on the bag, so you will always remember how to use them! When you buy our soap nuts, we include a small calico bag to use in the washing machine. We are a family-run business and always happy to answer any questions you have about using soap nuts – simply click here.