• Soap Berry Liquid Detergent: Efficacy Test

NaturOli’s soap nut liquid detergent goes toe to toe with leading chemical detergents in independent laboratory testing to compare cleaning power. This is the first time in history an independent US laboratory detergent comparison included soap nuts.

Just in case: Efficacy: ef-fi-ca-cy, noun. The ability to produce the necessary or desired results. (Courtesy of Encarta World English Dictionary)

Independent laboratory efficacy testing. Photo: Private collection.

Independent laboratory efficacy testing. Photo: Private collection.

Recently documented (June, 2009) via laboratory efficacy studies, soap nuts and saponin are proved equivalent in cleaning power to the some of the most popular mainstream synthetic chemical detergents on the market. The testing was for cleaning power only. There is no consideration given to the “mile long” list of additional benefits (either health or environmental) from the use of soap berries and saponin. For most, soap nuts sound to good to be true – but this is real. These are the facts. Here is the proof.

In June of this year, a diluted version of NaturOli’s Extreme 18X concentrated laundry soap was provided to Specialized Technology Resources (STR) in Canton, Massachusetts for comparative testing and analysis. The dilution of the 18X was done to approximate a one-ounce to one-ounce single load comparison. One ounce of “pure” Extreme 18X will wash approximately six to 12 loads. A full ounce of Extreme 18X would not make for a realistic comparison. It was diluted to equate to a single load dosage to compare apples to apples.

Comparisons were made against Tide 2X Ultra, Tide Free 2X Ultra, Seventh Generation Free and Clear 3X Concentrate and Method’s 3X Detergent Concentrate. Tests were conducted using a cold water (70F), normal wash cycle and used top loading vertical axis washing machines.

In the final analysis it is quoted by STR, “At approximately a 35% lower Use Level than both the Tide and Seventh Generation products and at the same Use Level as the Method product (NaturOli’s liquid soap nut detergent) demonstrated approximately 98% Tide’s, Seventh Generation’s and Method’s Overall Soil Removal Capability.”

That’s using 35% less product in the comparison with Tide and Seventh Generation. The tests were conducted using cold water with vertical agitation – one of saponin’s most difficult scenarios for maximum effectiveness. Amazing! Of the numerous tests, even with additional enzyme boosters by the competitive brands, the very lowest comparative results proved 91-93% effectiveness. There are currently no enzyme boosters whatsoever added in NaturOli’s Extreme 18X saponin laundry soap. This is a due to NaturOli maintaining the product’s purity.

Virtually across the board in every single test the results were comparable. The tests compared soiling by dust, clay, coffee, cosmetics, grape juice, grass, blue ball point pen, spaghetti sauce, motor oil and more. Test evaluated results on fabrics such as cotton, polyester and blends.

Hands down, this is a major victory for saponin over synthetic chemical detergents. Please don’t think that the supposedly “green” products that the saponin detergent was compared are actually “green”. Read the ingredients for yourself. They are far from it. SLS is still a primary ingredient.

Bottom line: The first of NaturOli’s saponin-based detergents went head to head with the leading detergents on the market and the jury called it a draw. Given that the emphasis of saponin-based products is placed on purity from all hazardous chemicals, this is a monumental achievement.

• Affordability

Soap Nuts – Possibly THE MOST Affordable Way To Wash Laundry.

I have read erroneous articles discussing soap nuts as an expensive alternative to chemical detergents. Interestingly I have received more than one apology from journalists that simply didn’t do enough homework on the subject of soap nuts. Anything used improperly will produce unreliable data. One journalist claimed that the cost of soap nuts was in the 50 cents per load range. I promptly set her straight. Frankly, properly used, soap nuts can be one of the most affordable ways possible to do laundry – and the math is very easy.

Now, it is important to realize that it is not cost effective at all to buy samplers of soap nuts. The purpose of samplers is to try them. Period. If you like them, then you would certainly buy them in larger quantities to reduce your cost per ounce. That’s a very nice thing about NaturOli. Not only do they offer very large sizes of reasonably priced quality soap nuts. They even work well with co-ops, similar type groups and resellers of all sizes on even larger orders.

But let’s first compare the cost of using soap nuts to using commercial detergents – as average consumers. Let’s just crunch some numbers:

You can purchase 32 ounces of high quality soap nuts for around $30. That should be enough to last an average household six months to a year when it comes down to simply doing laundry. Used in the traditional manner, you will use approx. one-half ounce in a wash bag and will average about 5 loads from it. That yields approx. 320 loads. Now I can usually get more loads than that, but that is only because of some tricks I use to extend their life and maximize saponin extraction. To be conservative, let’s even just go with only four loads.

Oh, a note worth mentioning: I’ve seen some soap nut sellers claim less loads being possible. That is very likely a good indicator of the type and quality of soap nuts being sold. I’ve also heard of people claiming to use half the amount of soap nuts I suggest using. (I still don’t get that one.) But let’s bare in mind the many, many variables in how people do their laundry. We will devote more time on this subject later.

Again, being very conservative, at only four loads per half ounce that would yield us only 256 loads. $30 divided by 256 equals $0.127 per load. And we are talking standard loads – not high efficiency (HE) loads that will lower the cost per load dramatically.

Soap nuts affordabilty - cost comparisons. Photo: Private colellection.

Soap nuts affordabilty - cost comparisons. Photo: Private colellection.

Now let’s run some comparisons with NaturOli soap nuts at various popular sized bags with leading “natural” and other types of detergents in typical sizes in which they are available. Note all comparison items were priced from discount yet reputable and respected sellers. All NaturOli prices per load are based upon standard loads, not HE loads. He loads would be approximately half the stated costs per load.

– NaturOli’s 64 ounce bag of soap nuts: $57.95 for 512 loads ($0.113 per load)

– NaturOli’s 32 ounce bag of soap nuts: $29.95 for 256 loads ($0.117 per load)

– NaturOli’s 16 ounce bag of soap nuts: $19.95 for 128 loads ($0.155 per load)

– NaturOli’s 8 ounce bag of soap nuts: $12.75 for 64 loads ($0.199 per load)

– Seventh Generation’s Free and Clear Natural Laundry Detergent 2x Ultra: $11.99 for 50 loads. ($0.239 cents per load)

– All’s Small and Mighty 3x Concentrate for HE washers: $8.49 for 32 loads. ($0.265 per load)

– Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender Laundry Detergent: $13.49 for 32 loads ($0.421 per load)

– ECOS Laundry Detergent, Ultra Concentrated with Soy Fabric Softener: $9.49 for 26 loads ($0.367 per load)

– Tide’s 2x Concentrated Laundry Detergent: $14.99 for 32 loads ($0.468 per load!) This one really surprised me!

– Seventh Generation’s  Free and Clear Powder Laundry Detergent: $10.99 for 42 loads ($0.262 per load) Note: This is based on a package priced 4-pack at $43.99)

– Dreft’s 2x Concentrated Baby Laundry Detergent: $31.99 for 110 loads ($0.290 per load!)

– Babyganics 3x Concentrated Laundry Detergent: $13.49 for 33 loads ($0.408 per load)

– Method’s 3x Concentrated Baby Laundry Detergent: $10.99 for 32 loads ($0.343 per load)

Very quickly it becomes apparent that soap nuts (even when using our very conservative estimates) are very inexpensive compared to commercial detergents. The cost per “soap nut” load is dramatically lower! Used properly soap nuts can cut laundry costs by half or more. And this does not even factor in that you have virtually no more need for fabric softeners or dryer sheets.

(Forgive this brief departure, but at this point I can’t resist mentioning the environmental impact. Can you imagine the mega-tons of big plastic jugs and boxes that are completely eliminated from existence forever when using soap nuts? That’s staggering – and that’s only one of the many ways soap nuts are better for our planet. We will drill into this much more deeply in other articles.)

I gave a single mother, good friend of mine with three children a bag of soap nuts for the holidays. She has been working hard to make ends meet. Since that time she has raved about how wonderfully they worked, how her laundry never smelled so clean and soft, how her washing machine no longer smelled like mold and mildew. She had difficulty describing the scent, because there is no scent. How does one simply describe the scent of clean? Think about it.

She didn’t stop with laundry. She hasn’t stopped experimenting, and I last heard that the liquid she made cleaned her coffee maker better than even CLR did. Amazing.

We are all stretching our dollars as far as possible these days. We are also very concerned about all possible health hazards, and living greener lives. Unfortunately, what usually goes along with even supposedly “greener”, better products are higher price tags. One walk down any aisle in a grocery store, and this becomes immediately apparent. I have recently read numerous articles on the green profiteering that is occurring in nearly all industries.

Soap nuts are not only growing in consumer awareness when green is “in”. It is growing in awareness at a time when we all can use conserving a little more of our own green. No time could be better than now to discover all the wonders of soap nuts.