The Saving Mom Parents


Trying new laundry soap…

Babies are a lot of work.  Totally worth it, but a lot of work.  When we had L I had researched ahead of time about washing his clothes.  Of course I knew about Dreft, but was having a hard time spending that much money.  This is not to say I won’t spend a lot of money on my kids if they need it, but I wanted to make sure there weren’t other options that worked just as well for a better price.  I talked to my friends and family who had had babies and found out that one of the main things they used was All Free and Clear.  Review was that it worked well and was reasonably priced.  Wonderful news!  So, we purchased the All and I washed everything that the baby was going to use.  After his birth, we discovered that we even needed to wash our sheets in All because he was spending some time lying in out bed.  We seemed to have no problems.  During this time we had started making our own laundry detergent.  For me it’s all about being healthy with our spending.  If something is 1)a better price, 2)more natural and 3)works just as well or better I want to try it.  I found an article on a great blog and decided to try it out.  (Thank you Trent from The Simple Dollar http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/04/09/making-your-own-laundry-detergent-a-detailed-visual-guide/)

So, L got All for all of his things and we used our detergent.  About the time L was a year we started using the homemade detergent on his stuff too with absolutely no problems.  This made us all happy.

When it was time for F I didn’t even think about detergent.  As I did cloth diaper research, I read some things about stripping diapers, but really had no idea what I was reading about.  I didn’t even think about the fact that F might not be able to use our homemade detergent.  For month one and part of month two we mainly did ‘sposies because I was not ready to CD a newborn.  After a week or two we noticed that F had what we assumed was baby acne.  Thing is it kept getting worse and was on his whole body.  Lightbulb!  We realized that F needed a gentler detergent.  So, back to the All for him.  Rash cleared up within days.  At this point in my reading I discovered that my homemade laundry detergent wouldn’t be so great for the cloth diapers anyway because  it contains Borax.  Apparently this is just a little too rough on them.  No problem, I thought, I’ll just use the All on them as well.  Since that point I started following all kinds of blogs, many of them all about cloth diapers.  Guess what I discovered…All Free and Clear isn’t all that great for cloth diapers either and can cause you to have to do that “stripping” thing I had read about long ago.  Great, I think…now I am going to end up spending a fortune on special detergent to clean my diapers and they aren’t really going to save me money.  Finally, I really research washing cloth diapers.  To be honest, it’s a bit confusing and there are definitely some conflicting opinions out there.  The detergent that seems to be most people’s favorite is Rocking Green Soap (http://rockingreensoap.com/).  Of course I want to try it.  It has the greatest reviews, but right now, it is a little out of my price range (for the moment).  I have been entering every giveaway I find on it and am really hoping to win.  The best benefit I hear about it is that it eliminates stinkies.  So far, and I think it’s because I am only dealing with newborn waste at this point I am not having problems with this.  I do worry it will happen at some point though.  So, fingers crossed to win some.

Then almost two weeks ago one of my favorite blogs posted a laundry detergent comparison chart.  I was excited.  Then as I looked at it, I got really interested.  Oh so many soaps to try.   (http://www.theclothdiaperreport.com/2010/06/updated-laundry-comparison-chart.html)

(Sidebar – I love cloth diapering.  I love using them, researching about them, reading blogs about them and experimenting with them.  I even admitted this week that looking at them all drying on the rack out in the sun delights me.  Because of funds I haven’t yet tried all the ones that I want, but I will!)

Okay, so being frugal I needed to use all of the All that I have left before I spend more…even if it meant stripping.  BTW – I did not end up with a problem, but do not want to risk it by continuing to use something known to cause CD problems.  Since I had about 3-4 loads worth left I knew it was time to get something else.  As I looked at the list the best price was on soap nuts.  I was very interested.  What in the world are soap nuts?  Turns out they are a natural berry from the Chinese Soap Berry Tree. (Of course the first thing I thought of when I read this was The Magcian’s Nephew from the Chronicles of Narnia.  Hopefully someone else gets this reference.)  They contain saponin which has super awesome cleaning properties.

Originally I planned to just buy the brand recommended in the blog, but mu hubby asked me to hold off a day or two before purchasing which of course made me do more research.  I found another brand at a super good price on Amazon of all places.  This all has to do with the size that I wanted to order.  The brand I found had a qty that was bigger than a sample size, but smaller than a huge lot.  Plus it came with a free sample of concentrated liquid version.  You know how free speaks to me.  Anyway, I got it ordered and it came in quickly.  The company is called Naturoli.  They had really good reviews.  And let me tell you from all the soap nut companies I checked out there were definitely some duds.  http://www.naturoli.com/index.html Although I did actually buy mine off Amazon.

Here is what it looked like when it arrived.  

I was shocked to find these in the packaging, but J pointed out to me that these are probably the ones that dissolve when wet.  We tested and they are.  If they hadn’t been I would have been like..that is so weird from an Eco-friendly company.

Here is a picture of the contents of the box and the actual soap nuts.

This is the little muslin bag that you use in the wash.

Because I wash my dipes in cold I need to prep the nuts.  The options were let the bag soak in a cup of hot water for a minute or let them soak in an extra long soak cycle.  I opted for the hot water in a cup because if I leave mine open to soak I might forget about it for a long while.  I have two little ones…timers are a necessity when doing laundry and extra timers make things more burdensome.  ( I do do a hot wash every two weeks or so.  And I wash my diapers every 2-3 days)

Once the washer was full I poured the nuts and water into the washer.  They had been soaking for probably 5ish minutes.  They key apparently is simply saturation.

The first load I washed was full of F’s clothes and then I did one of diapers.  Although I will probably try other different cloth diaper soaps just for fun I must say that I really like the soap nuts.  The clothes came out soft and not smelling of anything, but clean.  The diaper stains came out the same as they did with the All and sunning them took out all the remainders.  (It was my first time sunning them and I really liked the results.)

F’s skin has remained nice and clear so he is a happy boy.  Sure cloth diapering is a bit of extra work, but he is worth it.  Really who can resist such a cute little face like this!

~Jessica

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4 Responses to 'Trying new laundry soap…'

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  1. Mandee said,

    So glad you found something that you love. I haven’t used Rockin Green for cloth yet since my baby isn’t here yet, but I have to say that when I used it on our clothing I loved it! 🙂

    I am thinking what you are talking about sounds interesting, and who doesn’t love to save money, but is it a lot of extra work? I feel like with 4 boys and a new baby I’m already going to be overwhelmed trying to cloth for the first time. Do you recommend it right away (the soap nuts) or would you wait a bit?

    Thanks! 🙂


    • Hi Mandee –
      Thanks for stopping by! I am actually loving the soap nuts. I think they are really easy to use. The more I use them the more I like them. I think my diapers and baby’s clothes are softer and fluffier than they ever were before. I actually would recommend them right form the beginning. My little guy seems to have pretty sensitive skin and he just has happy skin now. My favorite thing about them now is that I know for sure that I am not over-soaping.
      Congratulations on cloth diapering! I am so happy I decided to go this route this time. Are you doing it right from the beginning and what diapers are you trying out? This is one of my favorite topics so I would love to hear what your plans are!

  2. bigbinder said,

    Hi there! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving the nice comment. Made my day 🙂 So of course I had to come and check things out over here – love it!! We cloth diapered too, but that was 7 years ago and there were WAY less resources. I don’t even think blogs were on my radar screen so I just kind of had to wing it. I love that mommies have access to information now – it helps a lot!
    I have been curious about these soap nuts, it was great to read a review of them, I’m glad they worked out for you! I always wondered about Borax, it’s so harsh, I can’t figure out why everyone uses it? Anyway, I’m signing up for your feed so I can keep up with you. Thanks again!


    • To be honest, I am just learning about all kinds of products to use. Making our own laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent has been the first time I ever used Borax. I was just following the directions I found. I had no idea it was such a powerful product until more recently. We’ve been using our own detergent for 2 years and I have not noticed any extra deterioration of our clothes. Perhaps it’s because we use such a small amount in the recipes. I have also seen it used on some of those “time to clean your house” shows to really get things cleaned. I’m still undecided about how much I want to use it though. 🙂


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