Soapnuts: The nut that gets your clothes clean
Happily, there are many greener ways to wash your clothes thes days, which are an improvement on the fragrance-, dye- and phosphate-filled potions of yore. Many of these newer, eco-friendlier products come in plastic bottles, however, and are made out of ingredient lists longer than you may be comfortable with.
Is it possible to get your clothes clean with only one organic ingredient that comes responsibly packaged? According to Beth at Fake Plastic Fish, you can with soapnuts, which grow on the soapberry tree. Beth says the company responded quickly to her request for plastic-free packaging, indicating a real commitment to providing a truly green product.
Though the nuts are imported, they come in compostable plastic bags, which cuts down on their carbon footprint. If you wash in cold, the nuts require soaking, though they dissolve in warm or hot water. They don't add extra weight to your laundry bag if you go to the laundromat, and soapnuts are comparable to other green laundry products: about $10 worth of soapnuts will clean 40 loads of laundry.
Apparently, soapnuts aren't just good for cleaning clothes. The somewhat funny-smelling soak liquid can be used as a household cleaner that's on par with baking soda and lemon juice for minimal impact to the earth. See here for details on cleaning your house, hands, and even hair with soapnuts.
Want to see for yourself? Participate in Fake Plastic Fish's Soapnut giveway.