Monday, 23 June 2008

Soapnuts update

Yesterday I finished the last of the Concentrated Washing Liquid so I had to take the plunge and use the Soapnuts. I put 6 of them into an old pair of tights and put them in the drum on top of the clothes. I can honestly say that so far I am very very impressed. Those 6 little nuts washed 3 whole loads of coloured clothes. Everything came out just as clean as it did with the ordinary washing powder or liquid and the clothes smelt of absolutely nothing.
This morning I am doing 2 further experiments - I have hung a load of underwear out on the line to air dry, this will test the theory that without chemicals, laundry should dry to a soft finish rather than like cardboard. The second experiment was on a 6o degree wash for a load of towels - this will be the fourth load of washing from just one lot of shells so I'm testing how far I can push them. It will also be the ultimate 'line-drying' challenge as I can't bear towels that have been dried outside and have been using the tumble drier on them come rain or shine.
Let you know later how I get on.....

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Summer Reading (again)

It's here again - The Richard & Judy Summer Reading List I mean. The book shops (and Amazon) are still promoting the last list of books but the new list of 8 is here:-
The Outcast by Sadie Jones
No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay
East of the Sun by Julia Gregson
Down River by John Hart
Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller
Addition by Toni Jordan
The Resurrectionist by James Bradley

I have trawled Amazon for the ISBN numbers and logged on to the Library Website - none of the books are stocked in my local library, 2 of them are not listed as being in ANY Cheshire library so I'll have to wait for the Library to catch up with reality..... Will put in my reservations today if I can but I still haven't finished the latest Dalziel & Pascoe - A Cure For All Illness and I have another book waiting behind it in the reading queue. DH doesn't like it if I stay awake all night reading either!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Going Greener

Hubby came home yesterday talking about Soapnuts. Now neither of us are Monster Raving Loony Eco Warriers but he was obviously keen on the idea, so this morning I ordered some.
Soapnuts? Here's the blurb (shamefully stolen via Google, but hey why reinvent the wheel?)

In India and Nepal, the soapnut (sapindus trifoliatus) has been used as a vegetable washing detergent since time immemorial.
The soap nut tree grows mainly in South India. In March and April, the tree is adorned with white flowers, and the ripe soapnuts are harvested in October. When removed from the tree the soapnuts are sticky and golden in colour. They are dried and their colour becomes reddish-brown. Then the nuts are cracked and the black kernel, which can neither be eaten nor used for washing is removed and the shells, which contain saponine (a natural detergent), are packed up in cotton bags.

How does it work?
The somewhat sticky saponine in the shells of the soap nuts acts in a similar way to normal soap. As soon as the shells get in contact with water, this natural saponine soap is released and creates mild suds. Place 4 to 5 half shells in one of the provided cotton bags. Tie the bag and place it with your laundry in the washing machine. Start your machine as usual, with or without pre-wash. The remains of the soapnuts can be composted or be disposed of through organic refuse.
The soap nut can be easily used in your washing machine. Unlike common washing powders and liquids that contain considerable amounts of chemicals, the soapnut is environmentally friendly and is gentle on the skin.
Can be used for all fabrics and with all temperatures.

No need for fabric softeners
Works well with delicate fabrics such as silk and wool
When washing in cold to warm water, soapnuts can be used for a second time the same day
In the case of heavy stains, we recommend adding one tablespoon of stain remover.
For a fragrant wash add your favourite essential oils

These work out at about 6p per wash against 20p per wash for your standard powder. I have also read that your clothes don't go hard on the washing line either and anything that leads to reduced ironing is a winner as far as I am concerned. I plan to use Ecover to boost the Whites wash but since almost all our clothes are coloured, I don't think I'll need much. I'll report back and let you know how I get on with them.