Use 4-5 soapnuts split in half. Place them in an old sock (or similar) a thick one is best. Tie a knot in the sock to prevent the soapnuts from escaping and place the sock in the washing machine drum with the clothes. There is no need to add detergent or fabric conditioner. Go ahead and do the wash. The sock of soapnuts can be reused 3-4 times, and then the spent soapnut shells can be composted. If you wish to add a scent to your washing, just add 8 drops of essential oil into the conditioner tray of the washing machine.
It is easy to tell whether the soapnuts can be reused. Fresh soapnuts are a golden brown and if you squeeze them when they are wet they will release bubbles. Once the saponins have been used up the soapnut shells will turn very dark, thin, and they will begin to disintegrate. Then it is time to compost them and to place new soapnuts in your sock.
Soapnuts do not contain ‘optical brighteners’, nor bleach, therefore white clothing may need a boost from time to time. Just add some bicarbonate of soda into your washing powder tray. Also just as with conventional washing, stains will need treating before the machine wash.
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