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Toxic Detergents vs Soap Nuts A Laundry Soap You Can Eat

Toxic Detergents vs Soap Nuts A Laundry Soap You Can Eat

How we do our laundry, clean our homes and bathe ourselves has changed more in the last 70 years than it has in the previous 7,000 years. None of these changes have been kind to your skin, or good for your health.

The name brand chemical based laundry detergents, household cleaners, soaps, and shampoos  that you use in your day to day life contain carcinogens, neurotoxins and envirotoxins.

Everyday, all day long, you are surrounded by and in close contact with chemicals that are known to cause acne, allergies, cancer (melanomas), eczema, psoriasis, premature aging of your skin, rashes, and neurodegenerative disorders in children.

Moreover, "Petroleum-based detergents cause more childhood poisonings than any other household product" reports The Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia (EHANS)

Compounding that problem is the raising popularity of detergent pods that look like candies to young children.  In August of 2013, a 7 month old baby in Florida died after eating a candy-coloured liquid laundry packet.

"7,669 kids 5 and younger exposed to single-load laundry packets from Jan. 1, 2013, to September 30, 2013" screams the warning in bold print at the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) website. "Highly concentrated 'single-load liquid laundry packets' can cause serious harm to young children." says the AAPCC. And then goes on the recommend that parents should "always keep detergents locked up, high, and out of the reach of children."

Commercial detergent companies are now scrambling to make the detergent pods less appealing to children. In July P&G announced that they were making changes to the design of their Tide Pods to try to minimize the risk of children eating their toxin laden products in a press release titled: " P&G Unveils Next Phase of Safe Home Consumer Education Program" implying that the blame for these childhood poisonings should rest firmly on the shoulders of "uninformed" and/or "negligent" parents. But is "Consumer Education" and package redesign the solution? Children were being poisoned by toxic, petrochemical derived commercial laundry detergents since Procter & Gamble (P&G) introduced the first synthetic detergent, Tide in 1946.

Since then the toxic compounds (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), 1,4 - Dioxane, Nonylphenol Ethoxylate (NPE) and Phosphates, among many others) contained in synthetic laundry detergents have not only been the number 1 cause of childhood poisonings, they have been responsible for nearly 10% of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers as reported at Dr. Joseph Mercola's website.

Synthetic laundry detergents (both pod and non pod products) are associated with; ​allergies, contact dermatitis (eczema), eye irritations (including conjunctivitis) and/or pain, ​cancers, death, headaches, skin irritations, rashes, premature skin aging, nausea, neurotoxicity (developmental & emotional problems in children) and organ toxicity. Moreover, commercial laundry detergents and house hold cleaners are not the only health risks posed by our "modern methods" of washing our clothes, bed linens and cleaning our homes.

Dryer sheets and fabric softeners also carry a toxic payload as Anne C. Steinemann, Professor Hydrology and Hydrodynamics at the school of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington points out in two of her studies:​ 1) Toxic Chemicals in Fragranced Laundry products [and their] Health Effects 2) Chemical Emissions from Residential Dryer Vents During Use of Fragranced Laundry Products.

Dr Steinemann analyzed emissions from two residential dryer vents during the use of fragranced laundry products (detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets) and found 25 volatile organic compounds (VOC) including seven hazardous air pollutants, coming out of the vents. Of those, two chemicals, acetaldehyde and benzene, are classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as carcinogens, for which the agency has established no safe exposure level.Soap Nuts - The natural laundry soap

"These products can affect not only personal health, but also public and environmental health. The chemicals can go into the air, down the drain and into water bodies," Steinemann said.

The solution Dr Steinemann recommends is using laundry products without any fragrance, scent or toxins. Fortunately, there is an answer to be found in nature: Soap Nuts - a natural, organic, hypoallergenic laundry soap, household cleaner, body wash and shampoo that grows on trees.

Soap Nuts are the all natural way to clean everything in your home - you, your pets, your floors, doors, dishes, windows and laundry.

But Soap "Nuts" are not really nuts at all. They are berries that grow on shrubs and small tree species known as Sapindaceae - also known as the "soapberry family".

Soap Nuts, or "soap berries" as they are often called,  have a long history in Ayurvedic Medicine (both oral and topical) as a treatment for eczema, psoriasis and for removing head lice.Soap Nut tonic with longan and red dates

In China and Japan Soap Nuts have been used as a medicine for centuries. In Japan the pericarp (outer skin or shell) of the soapberry is called "enmei-hi", which means "life prolonging shell". And in China Soap Nuts are known as "wu-huan-zi" -  "the non-illness fruit", and are often used as tonic.

In Chinese medicine a Soap Nut tonic combined with longan and Chinese jujubes (dried red dates) is traditionally eaten hot in the winter and chilled in the summer. Click here for a recipe 

Distribution of Soap Nuts in India Nepal China and TibetThe soapberry family of shrubs and trees can be found throughout the world in temperate to tropical regions, many in laurel forest habitats. 

There are a staggering variety of Sapindaceae genera with the Sapindus genus being the one most commonly referred to as "soap berries" or "soap nuts". But even within the Sapindus genus there are as many as twelve different subspecies that produce the natural soap known as saponin. 

Sapindus Mukorossi, the subspecies indigenous to Nepal and the Himalayas of Northern India is famous for it's high concentration of natural saponins with the very best Soap Nuts occurring in Nepal where the atmospheric and soil conditions are perfect for growing Soap Nuts with the highest concentration of saponins in the world. 

Sapindus Mukorossi (Soap Nuts) is a versatile and exceptionally valuable medicinal plant. Not only can you do your laundry, clean your home and bathe with Soap Nuts, Sapindus Mukorossi has a long history in traditional medicine and it's efficacy has been validated by numerous scientific studies to relieve the symptoms of and/or treat: 

  • Cancerous Tumors
    • Lung cancer
    • Melanoma (Skin Cancer)
  • Candida
    • Candida albicans
    • Candidiasis
    • Irritant Diaper Dermatitis (Atopic Dermatitis) 
    • Tinea Cruris
    • Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (Common Yeast Infection) 
  • Dandruff 
  • Eczema
  • Free Radical Scavenging Agent (Antioxidant) 
  • Head Lice
  • Inflammations
  • Is Hepatoprotective (protects against liver damage)
  • Is an Antibacterial agent
  • Is a Fungicidal agent
  • Is an Insecticidal agent
  • Is a Spermicidal agent
  • Psoriasis
  • Panic and/or Anxiety Disorders
  • Skin Rashes
  • Trichomoniasis - (a common STD - sexually transmitted disease)  

All of the aforementioned medicinal properties of Sapindus Mukorossi notwithstanding,  the most popular use of Soap Nuts world wide is still as a natural, non toxic laundry soap. 

Soap Nuts saponins are a mixture of six sapindosides that combined make for a highly effective natural laundry soap. 

Soap Nuts have been gaining in popularity worldwide with people who want to avoid the industrial chemicals found in commercial laundry detergents, particularly those with sensitive skin, or skin conditions such as allergies, eczema, melanoma, psoriasis. tinea infections (common fungal infections) and yeast infections.

Soap Nuts as a natural laundry soap, also have the added benefits of being natural fabric softeners with Soap Nut forest Nepalantistatic properties thus eliminating the need for commercial fabric softeners and dryer sheets and thereby reducing the toxic fumes and VOCs emitted from household dryers.

Soap Nuts can also be used for bathing, as a shampoo, and to make a non toxic household cleaners. 

Soap Nuts, when used as a laundry soap, for bathing, as a shampoo or cleaner are not only good for your health and kind to your skin, they are kind to the environment too. They do not pollute the soil, rivers, lakes, oceans or the air you breathe.

Soap Nuts. A natural, healthy way to stay clean.


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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Saponins: To be avoided in significant quantities in food

I don't have a better suggestion for things explained here other than trying soap nuts in foods but I want to inform a problem with eating soap nuts or anything high in saponins.

Pseudo-grains and legumes are high in saponins, saponins are both water and fat soluble and they make cells porous by interacting with cholesterol in their membranes. These cells include enterocytes so we can say it increases intestinal permeability in sufficient quantities and qualities such as in pseudo-grains and legumes. When enough saponins enter the blood stream it results with destruction of cell membranes of red blood cells also and since saponins also have adjuvant activity they can contribute to inflammation by increasing pro-inflammatory cytokine production and they can increase chances of autoimmunity since they add to the immune response to proteins leaking from the gut with this adjuvant activity. Nightshades'(tobacco, tomatoes, potatoes, gooseberries/groundcherries, wolfberry/goji, eggplant, peppers except black/white pepper, chilies, tomatillo, bladder cherries,...) saponins also inhibit acetyl cholinesterase enzyme which is needed for nerve impulse conduction.

I know there are other problems with those foods, these are about the saponins in them and soapnuts probably contain much more saponins than any of those foods.

Very insightful

Thank you Mehmet for your insightful comments.

I agree.

Caution should be exercised in the consumption of Soap Nuts.  Exactly because of the high concentration of saponins in Soap Berries.

Their highest and best use is as a cleaning agent. 

Even in Chinese medicine they are only recommended as a tonic. They are not recommended for daily consumption.

Thank you.

Kind Regards






While it is important that we find alternatives to the toxic substances in our laundry and personal care products - is it really right to remove all blame from care givers who leave toxic substances within reach of a child?

Addendum: I was going to delete the comment after reading more about the story. It seems the mother had the pods in a basket of laundry, set it down to get something and in the short time it took her to leave, the child had swallowed on pod and was about to swallow another.

No parent can be everywhere at the same time. This tells me that the only way that babies can be protected from these toxic substances would be for the parent to have the child out of the home while cleaning and that is not a realistic solution for most parents.

You are so right!

Hi Lucy
I can't agree with you more. "No parent can be everywhere at the same time."
And that's why it's important to choose what you bring into your home carefully.
Thank you.
Kind Regards

Thank you

My pleasure Marc.

I'm glad you found it useful.

Kind Regards





Thank-you for the informative article Ken.

With articles like this greenmed members are in good hands to transition from toxic to natural lifestyles.

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