Nancy (@nancy.birtwhistle), a UK author and gardener, utilized her Instagram to share one of her fantastic recipes for single-ingredient laundry detergent.
The magic ingredient is known as a “conker” in the UK — in America this is a horse chestnut or buckeye.
Nancy mentions that if you have enough for more than one batch, you can simply freeze the buckeyes until you’re ready to make the next batch, and it’s actually easier to make when they’re frozen.
You’ll need about 10 buckeyes for a 32 ounces bottle of detergent, and you can use any extra plastic bottles you have laying around the house.
You’ll want to slice the buckeyes and remove the outer shell, and crush them up a bit. If they’re fresh, you can just finely slice them.
Then, cover them in boiling water and let them sit for at least eight hours or overnight, and strain the excess liquid into your bottle afterward.
After that, use a blender to make the leftover pieces into a paste with another 17 ounces of boiling water. Let it sit for two to three hours and strain with a fine strainer. If you’re looking for scented detergent, add five drops of your favorite essential oil. Any excess pulp can be composted.
To use, add about three to five tablespoons directly into your load of laundry, with about two tablespoons of washing soda in the detergent drawer.
“Conkers and ivy leaves contain saponins — Mother Nature’s free ingredient,” Nancy explained in her caption.
How it’s helping
Laundry can be a deceivingly expensive chore — between the cost of detergent, water, electricity, or laundromat fees, it won’t hurt your wallet to eliminate one of those expenses.
Even though you’ll still have to pay for washing soda with this method, a 55-ounce bag of washing soda costs less than $5 on Amazon, so that’s still a much better deal.
Plus, traditional laundry detergent can contain a number of toxic chemicals that can seep into your local water sources. This can affect your plants, local wildlife, and in some cases, even your drinking water. When mixed with wastewater, these chemicals can also create dangerous combinations.
However, we know that not everyone wants to make their own detergent — regardless of the cost. So if you’d still rather buy yours but would prefer an eco-friendly option, try Meliora Eco Laundry Powder or any of these planet-friendly options.
What everyone’s saying
Some users were shocked to hear that something so commonplace to them could act as laundry detergent. “Conkers for washing laundry! I mean, who knew?” said one.
Others were happy to vouch for the idea. “[This is] the best detergent I’ve ever used, and gets my washing much cleaner than synthetic detergents,” wrote another user.
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