I am going to try to grow a soapnut bush at home this year (indoors so I don't disturb the native plants) so fingers crossed there.... I have tried using acorns and bouncing bet (other plants with saponins traditionally used for washing) and I have heard that there are many other plants out there that are useful for cleaning, but honestly, the acorns turned my whites brown and when I tried using bouncing bet (soapwort) I had to dig out a lot of the roots of the plant. To be frank, the soapnuts are practical and actually do a good job cleaning dirty diapers too.
I don't have a washing machine in my tiny apartment, so I have to go to the laundromat once a week, which is actually a nice activity, gets me out for a walk, and plus it means I can't just throw a couple towels in for a whole load and waste energy and water doing that. I call it slow laundry because it takes me all afternoon to get it done.
For more info on uses of soapnuts please visit my website http://helladelicious.com.
Step 1: Sourcing Your Soapnuts
Don't get carried away by all the hype. All you really need to do laundry is 5 soapnuts. You can throw them in loose or tie them up in a muslin bag and these 5 nuts can be used over and over again--good for at least 4 loads of laundry, and yes they do get them clean. I have tested them on large loads of dirty blankets and towels and they have come out clean.
I have posted more information on the various uses of soapnuts and links to some excellent resources here.
If you are looking for a place to buy some soapnuts for your laundry, check out these cute recycled tea-towel pouches containing 5 soapnuts, ready to go for the cleanest, greenest most satisfying laundry day ever.
Step 2: Aromatherapy for Your Laundry
Step 3: Into the Washing Machine
Simple, clean and eco-friendly. I also love to make soapnut detergent for washing my dishes, my fridge, floors, or even my vegetables in. How to do this can be found here.