Nuts to laundry!


Divine intern Sam Devine gets soapy:

Laundry day will be different today. I’m using a new hippy product from Santa Cruz to clean my clothes: Soap Nuts, the soap that grows on trees.

Soap grows on trees?

Yeah, turns out Soap Nuts are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree. According to a letter from Maggie’s Pure Land Products, people have been using the cracked apricot looking little bastards to wash clothes for thousands of years.


Now, what I could really use are some laundry quarters grown on trees, but I’ll settle for soap.

Let’s see. Directions. Directions. Ah. “How to Use”
“Put Maggie’s Soap Nuts into the included, reusable cotton sack and close it. Add sack to your washing machine…. Warm/Hot Water – use 2 soap nuts”

Put the nuts in the sack, huh?
Ok. Open the box.

The free gift turns out to be a pair of earrings made from some different type of nut. They’re hidden inside the sack, which has a line drawing of a meditating woman like the one on the cover of the box.

I load the sack and throw it into the washer. The nuts hits the metal washtub and it clangs loud and clear. The concept is enough to make me suck a quick breath through my teeth and grab my boys.

Forty minutes later, the dark clothes come out looking, feeling and smelling clean.
Now for the whites. Let’s see, directions.
“For sparkling whites, add a scoop of oxygen bleach.”
What the fuck is oxygen bleach? Oh well. Here goes the nut sack on my whites.

A few bucks later and everything turns out bright and clean. Hooray for Soap Nuts.
If you want to get some soap nuts, you can go to Rainbow Grocery or the Other Avenues Community Food Store, or you can order from

Rainbow Grocery Cooperative
1745 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA. 94103
Phone: (415) 863-0620
Fax: (415) 863-8955

Other Avenues Community Food Store
3930 Judah Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 661-7475

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