Hi Rosy Friends! A few months ago, I discovered that my laundry detergent was making my rosacea symptoms worse. I’m not sure why – among all the things I’ve been doing to minimize the impact of triggers – I never did much with laundry detergent.
After all, if you’ve been reading these posts for a while, then you know that I shared a full-on rant about the fact that I felt my sleeping habits were making the situation worse. True, I suffer from the occasional bout of insomnia. Then again, it’s also true that my social anxiety disorder tends to make it difficult for me to fall asleep at the best of times.
Still, what seemed to be the most problematic was that, despite valiant efforts to change my ways, I seem to be incapable of keeping my face off my pillow. I’ve tried building a virtual pillow-fort to force myself to sleep on my back, but my unconscious self has inevitably employing unparalleled military strategy and has crumbled the fort walls in what I can only imagine was a dramatic assault. In the morning, no matter how hard I’d tried to prevent it, I’d wake to find my cheek smushed against the pillow.
That side of my face has always been slightly worse than the other, which has made me think that my sleeping habits could be to blame. Naturally, I have my doubts that pressing my cheek against a piece of fabric for several hours in a row could be good for my skin. I have been changing my pillow case every day to try to avoid sleeping on the hair care products, skin care products and any other ickies added to it the previous night.
Near the end of March, it occurred to me that the detergent used to clean that fabric – my pillow case – could also be playing a role in the irritation of my skin.
Laundry detergent and I have never been friends.
I’ve always struggled with laundry detergent. Over the years, I’ve tried to choose products that were “eco-friendly” or that were labeled as being “hypoallergenic.” I also reduced my fabric softener use to the point that it was really nothing more of a drizzle per load. Still, the entire time my machines were running, I’d find myself sneezing, and my skin was perpetually itchy.
When I finally pieced together the potential connection between the detergent – not just the fabrics – and my skin irritation, I started looking for a truly effective alternative. Enter soap nuts.
I first heard of them on the Dragon’s Den TV show so I looked up that company and found their website. They had a contact email address so I wrote to them and asked them a few questions. I didn’t receive a reply. So I did a bit of online searching to see if I could find another company that sold them.
That’s when I stumbled upon Earth’s Berries. Not only did they sell soap nuts, but they were relatively local! I emailed them and quickly received a friendly email that answered all my questions. They even offered to send me a free sample of the product so I could test it against my reactive skin/rosacea before purchasing a larger package. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity.
The day it arrived, I was so excited that I did an “unboxing”/first impression video on my Rosy JulieBC YouTube channel. A few days later, I did all my laundry using Earth’s Berries soap nuts for the first time. Naturally, I had to do a video about that, too.
Once I tried soap nuts, I knew I was done with conventional laundry detergent.
That sounds like a line from a very bad commercial, but it’s true! One week’s worth of laundry was all it took to sell me on soap nuts for life. I can’t believe it took me this long to discover natural laundry detergent.
Before I tell you what I like about them, I’d just like to say that this blog post is not sponsored, paid for, or otherwise swayed by Earth’s Berries or any other company for that matter. This is my honest opinion about using soap nuts as a natural laundry detergent.
That said, here’s what sold me on soap nuts right away:
- Despite the fact that they have a tangy, not-too-pleasant smell in the package, when you use them in your laundry, they’re completely scent-free.
- They have amazing odour-fighting. Since they’re not fragranced, they have nothing to cover up any odors that could be left behind in the laundry. After a thorough sniff-testing of everything I washed that week (don’t use your imagination, please just trust me when I say I was thorough), I was very confident that there were no odours left behind. Not even in socks I wore after putting on fragranced foot lotion or clothes I wore to exercise!
- They clean very effectively. The soap nuts aren’t just odour-busters. They gave everything I washed a very effective cleaning. I do my laundry in cold water, so I followed those instructions (on the package) very carefully. It takes an extra 1-to-2-minute step to wash in cold than it does to use them in warm water laundry, but I like using cold water for the eco-friendliness (not to mention the savings on my electricity bill). Even in cold water, my sheets, towels and clothes all came out just as clean as they would have using Tide, Arm & Hammer, Purex or any of the other liquid laundry detergents I’d been using until I stumbled on Earth’s Berries.
- They make fabrics SOFT! Even when I was using the recommended amount of fabric softener, my laundry didn’t come out as soft as it is now because of soap nuts. Everything is so snuggly now!
- They’re environmentally friendly. It takes 5 whole (or 10 half) soap nuts to do a large load of laundry. That said, they can be reused around 4 times without losing effectiveness. The tiny sample bag gave me 16 loads! After they’re used up, they’re compostable!
Recently, I’ve discovered that I can get more out of soap nuts than just clean laundry.
Other uses I’ve discovered for soap nuts…
A few weeks ago, I was watching the Earth’s Berries YouTube channel when I saw a video they’d made about using soap nuts to make a liquid all-purpose cleaner. Naturally, I whipped out my sauce pan and boiled up some of the soap nuts in water (by this point, I’d already ordered a larger bag of the product so I had lots to spare).
Not only is the liquid great for surfaces like my kitchen counter – which I’d really rather keep free of scary chemicals – but it’s fantastic for floors and pretty much any other surface I want to wash, too.
I even discovered that it’s the perfect solution for washing my makeup brushes. Though I do use disposable sponges for makeup application, there are many times when a brush is the only way to go (plus I hate throwing out a lot of foam sponges!). I always wash my brushes when I’m done with them because I don’t want bacteria to grow on them, only to re-apply it to my face!
Previously, I’ve used dish soap, hand soap and even the bar soap I use to wash in the shower. I gave up on chemical-based brush cleaners a while back when I suspected that it was causing irritation. Now, soap nut cleaning liquid does the trick.
Here’s the video I made about how I do that:
The difference this has made in reducing skin irritation from laundry detergent and makeup brush cleaner has been incredible. No more sneezing while I do my laundry, no more guilt about what chemicals I’m sending into the local water supply, no more itchy, inflamed skin from waking up with my face mashed into my pillow. Pretty sweet results from a little dried berry!
Have you found that your laundry detergent makes a difference to your skin irritation or rosacea symptoms? Have you tried soap nuts or anything else that you’ve found effective? Please let me know in the comments!
I’ve already been taking notes for my next blog post. I hope I’ll have it ready soon, too!