Soap nuts from the SoapNut ShopBit of a random tangent here, but while our projects often require technical elements, we’re also big fans of simple solutions that work.

And that’s why we love SoapNuts. They replace your washing machine powder, and you get clean clothes without chemicals.

SoapNuts are fruits that grow on trees. These fruits contain a natural substance called Saponin, which when dissolved in water, creates mild suds. Stick a few in the little cloth bag provided, and you’ve got a natural solution that’s cheaper than powder.

My hacker tips: add a couple of nuts to the bag before each wash. Stick the bag in the bottom of a bucket and fill it with hot water… the heat seems to activate the nuts. Tip the resulting sudsy hot water and the bag into the top of your cold wash, and you’re away. Every 20 washes or so, you’ll empty the bag of the depleted nuts and start with about four new nuts. A kilo pack will last… for bloody ages!

I’ve also used them in the dishwasher, with roughly the same procedure: add two nuts, soak bag for a minute in a bowl of hot water, put bag in the cutlery holder and chuck the sudsy water into the washer… done deal!

I get my SoapNuts from the SoapNut Shop– fantastic local distributor with fast and very friendly service. They also ran a competition recently and I won a free bag, so naturally I think they’re brilliant people!

But seriously: if you want to save money, reduce chemicals in your family’s clothes, and reduce the amount of toxins heading into the water-ways, these things are the true deal.