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We've been using soap nuts for 4 years and have found them very effective and eco-friendly. Here is the information from the place where we get our nuts…
Not many people in North America have heard of Soap Nuts, but they have been used for thousands of years in Northern India and Nepal where they grow in the wild. They are not truly a nut, but are actually the dried flesh of a simple berry related to the Lychee. when they are dried in the sun they are quite hard and therefore resemble a nut. Many plants have a protective coating they use as a natural defense mechanism against insects called saponin. Saponin is a completely natural surfactant, which is the main active ingredient in many detergents. Soap Nuts have some of the highest concentrations of saponin found in nature. As a result they make a great natural soap! As they re-hydrate they release the saponin into the wash water, breaking the surface tension and subsequently lifting the dirt out of the fabric and cleaning your clothing, softening the fabric as well. There are no other ingredients, just the fruit. No additives, no perfumes, no fillers and nothing to irritate even the most sensitive skin. The best part is that they can be used a bunch of times before all of the saponin has dissolved, and then they can just be composted. Absolutely zero waste. They come sealed to keep the moisture out in a biodegradable plastic bag, and are then packaged in a organic cotton sack.
http://cleanerplanet.ca They do international orders. I've ordered four bags at a time as it's cheaper that way and I tell my friends. They would ask… where can I get some? I would sell them one of my bags at the cost I got them. I also recommend getting the natural stain remover stick as stains do come out as well with the nuts but by pretreating with the stick, it woulds very well.
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