Thursday, October 25, 2012

Soap to Nuts

I just bought a small package of soap nuts from Amazon.

I’d like to say that I’m officially crossing out of normal and into out-of-the--ordinary, but let’s be honest: I’ve always been out-of-the-ordinary.

One reason? I like to make things myself.

A few years ago, I found myself really enjoying the show “17 Kids and Counting” about the Duggar family. I know. Questionable taste. But alternative lifestyle choices have always fascinated me.

At any rate, I was at once fascinated by the fact that the Duggars made their own laundry detergent. Who had ever heard of such a thing? I remember asking my mother if I could make our laundry detergent and she, brilliant and incisive woman that she is, reminded me that sometimes my “cost-saving” projects ended up being overly expensive and time-consuming.

I abandoned the idea.

Then I moved in with my boyfriend and started using his washer and dryer. And then -- this is the kicker, folks -- I discovered Pinterest, which reignited my detergent-making ideas.

Several years older (and hopefully somewhat wiser), I began researching homemade laundry detergent. I came to the conclusion that I did not particularly like the ingredients listed in Borax. I didn’t know what all of them were and I didn’t like the idea that Borax includes an ingredient, boron, that isn’t renewable.

If I’m going to go to all the trouble of making something myself, then I want it to be something that I feel 100 percent good about. Otherwise, why waste my time?

Finding a link to an article on Make Online about homemade laundry detergent, one of the commenters mentioned that he used soap nuts. (And it looks as though the Grist article has been updated to reflect concerns about Borax.)

I was intrigued. Google informed me that soap nuts were a wonder nut, grown on trees, harvested by fairly paid workers and processed in the United States... what could be bad? Some reviewers said they don’t clean too well, don’t fight stains and don’t wash in cold water unless you grate them and turn them into liquid. (We wash everything in cold water and usually dry on a line outside.)

It turned out that Amazon was selling small bags of them (a trial size, if you will) for $7. Why, yes. I think I’ll give them a try. Free shipping with Amazon Prime, I might as well give them a go.

I'll let you know how they turn out.

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