Eco washing

Text and photos: Anna Plaszczyk

17 April 2023

Laundry detergents sensitize, they pollute the environment; they are more and more expensive and paradoxically - less and less effective. Meanwhile, for centuries, in India and Nepal, people used ... nuts for washing! They are hypoallergenic, biodegradable and cheap. 1 kg costing about 50zl, is enough even for half a year of washing, taking 4 persons family into consideration.

Washing nuts are growing on trees Sapindus mukorossi; after collecting them, they are drilled and then their shells are dried. They contain saponin which is a natural detergent, it foams in contact with water, it also has degreasing properties and ... anti-stress function.Nuts are great in washing dirty socks, sweaty and muddy clothes. In addition – they do not need the support of any fabric softener. Due to its natural properties, they soften and nourish the fabric. And we are saving again – we dont need to buy another detergent. Instead of the detergent we can use essential oils, we can add just a few drops of it to the wash. Bottle of the essential oil (about 8zl) lasts for several months. Over the year of using nuts for washing, I did not notice any greasy oil stains on my clothes.

Nuts may be used for the whole range of temperatures - from 30 up to 90 degrees. 8 nuts are divided into halves and in the linen bag we put them into the washing machine. At 30 and 40 degrees one portion of the nuts can be used even 4 times. At 60C - 3 and at 90 C- only once.Even the most delicate fabrics like - silk or wool can be washed with the nuts. It is wise to add baking soda, while we are washing the white fabrics. One teaspoon of it will prevent white clothes from turning gray.It is important to know, that waterproof and "breathable" fabrics ie most of the clothes used in the mountains, should not be washed by the nuts. It is the softening properties of nuts, that can quickly make that washing specialized clothing will lose its properties and they will be permeable for water and wind.

It is worth adding that the washing nuts can be used in different ways. You can use them not only for washing, they are very useful also in the dishwasher (you can just place five crushed nuts in a container for cutlery), you can also use it to clean the kitchen and bathroom (you should boil 15 shells in 1 liter of water for 10 minutes), and as a shampoo for washing the atopic skin and bath.