We haven’t bought laundry detergent or fabric conditioner for nearly two years. Don’t worry, we haven’t been stinking the place up – we have been washing our clothes. But when we read about an Ecoegg, it seemed a no-brainer. Okay, so the ‘egg’ itself is plastic, but it’s designed to last for years, and the pellets that go inside it are completely biodegradable. They’re lightly scented, and one small bag lasts for seventy washes! It’s not only more ecological than detergent, it’s more economical too.
We thought we’d cracked it (sorry) with the Ecoegg, but then my mum and dad bought us some soap nuts for Christmas (clearly, they know their audience). And these are even better: a totally natural substance – a dried berry – that has cleansing properties. A 1kg bag costs about £10 and, at current rates, looks as if it’s going to last us for at least five years.
To use, you just put five soap nuts in a little muslin bag (there were three of these provided with the pack we got). If you like, you can add a few drops of essential oil – we favour grapefruit – and then you throw it in the machine with your laundry. The smell is subtle – there’s none of the chemical scent that’s added to most detergents – but it’s definitely clean.
And, unlike the Ecoegg, which can’t be used in a hot wash, soap nuts are fine up to 80°. (We usually use the 30° quick wash, but some items just need a bit more heat, and it’s good to know soap nuts can handle it.)
One ‘portion’ of nuts lasts between five and ten washes (you can check if they’re still capable of making suds by rubbing them under a tap) and, when they’re spent, we pop them in the food waste bin.
I love them!
And they can be used for other purposes too: to make anti-bacterial kitchen cleaner, shampoo, etc. We haven’t tried these yet because we still have other products to use up, but as soon as there’s a need, we’re ready to start experimenting.
Watch this space!