Thursday
Nov112010

Notes on Quality

When it comes to which brand of soap nuts you are going to purchase, there are always questions. Why are they different prices? Why do they look different? Why do washing instructions differ from brand to brand?

It comes down to the fact that not all soap nuts are equal in quality, or species even. The higher the quality, the more washes you will be able to get out of them because they have higher concentrations of saponin. But how can you tell which ones are the high quality ones you want? There are a few things to always watch for when purchasing soap nuts.

They should be amber in colour, almost translucent when held up to the light, and about the diameter of a Nickle. They will typically be in halves or pieces from being de-seeded, or have a crack from where the seed was removed. They will be sold by weight, not exclusively by load count.

Lower quality soap nuts will be dark, smaller, shriveled, and very sticky. This could be because they have not been protected from humidity changes, they got wet while they were drying, or because they are of a different species whose saponin levels are not as high. Be watchful for these signs of lower quality.

Also watch out for whole soap nuts that have not had the seeds removed. These are typically drastically cheaper. They require you to remove the seeds prior to use, and are also sold by weight meaning you are paying mostly for the heavy marble-like seeds which have no saponin content and are not beneficial for washing purposes. They will rattle when shaken and will have no cracks from where the seed was removed. It is not uncommon for the odd whole soap nut to be found in even the high quality brands as sometimes they squeak through in the sorting process. But it should be a rare occurrence, not the norm.

So why do washing instructions differ from brand to brand? Depending on the quality of the soap nut shell being sold, the washing instructions will be different accordingly. High quality shells will have a higher saponin content, subsiquently meaning you will be able to get more loads out of the shells. It is important to follow the brands washing directions which you have purchased, as they have more than likely been based on company testing. Using them too many times could mean your clothes are not getting clean, and using them too few times may mean you are composting good soap.

We at Cleaner Planet Soap Nuts import only the highest quality de-seeded soap nut shells (Sapindus Mukorossi species) directly from India, and stand by our product. So if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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