I've been hearing about the benefits of soap nuts for a while now and finally about two weeks ago I decided to give it a try. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical of their cleaning power because it's just a the outer shell of a seed from a tree grown in India or Nepal. But I have to say, I'm so impressed with them! They work so well at my regular laundry that I tried them with cloth diapers and soap nuts work even better than detergent on cloth because you don't need to do a final rinse. Think of all the water and energy being saved from skipping a final rinse!
For a load of laundry, put 4-6 soapnuts in the cloth bag that is usually provided when you buy a bag of soapnuts from your health food store.Toss the bag in with your wash load and do laundry as you normally would. Just make sure to remove the bag before putting your clothing in the dryer.
I've been reusing them only twice because I want to make a liquid concentrate from the used soapnuts (I've been reading that you could use them up to four times and then compost the used soap nuts.). You can use soapnut concentrate for a lot of different things: shampoo, dishsoap, add some to a bath for clearing up eczema or psoriasis and general household cleaning. I'm eager to make up a liquid concentrate when I have enough soapnuts to do so. I found this website to be so helpful. There's tons of great information and ideas on how to use soap nuts.
The only negative I can think of for soapnuts is that they aren't effective at getting rid of stains but I usually pretreat my stains with some oxyclean anyways. Also, laying your stained clothing or diapers in the direct sunlight for a few hours will get rid of almost any stain!
I definitely recommend giving soapnuts a try. I'm glad I finally did as I will not be going back to man made detergents again. :)