laundry “by nature”

Horse chestnuts (NL: wilde kastanje FR: marrons)

How great is this! During a corridor talk at work (….let’s call this networking, he!), I heard a colleague who was doing a laundry with horse chestnuts (thanks LL!).

Really? Yes, horse chestnuts trees are part of the soapberry family. So its fruits (the horse chestnuts) are releasing saponins when soaked in warm water. And this saponin is a really good detergent! If you search the internet, there are a lot of tutorials on how to make liquid laundry with it… but we want easy and quick (and cheap) solution, right?

So, if those trees are growing close by, go for a walk when they are ripe and falling on the ground, and collect some of them…now, the kids might be helpful;-)

Cut them in 4 (as soon as possible otherwise they will get to hard) and let them dry. Put 3 nuts (=12 pieces of cut nuts) in a small bag (or old panty or something similar) to be sure it doesn’t get drained with the water and break your washing machine. You can use them 2 times!

If you search the internet (I like most this post), you will read that you have to crush, or even to peel them… crushing will increase and accelerate the saponin (acting as soap) release; and peeling will reduce the risk of light grey coloration of white clothes on the long term. So if you have a lot of white clothes and that you wash them separately, just use the washing powder (peeling the chestnuts will take you long!). If you really want to peel them, cut them in 4: once dried, it is really easy to peel them.

Ivy (NL: klimop FR: lierre)

Ivy with flowers (one of the last flower in the garden… a paradise for the bees!)

Ivy also release saponines when in contact with water! And Ivy grows everywhere!

As for horse chestnuts, you can make a soap preparation with shredded leaves in water; but we want EASY and quick solutions!

So take a handful of leaves, cut them in 2, put them in a washing bag (or old sock or panty which you tie up)… there you are!!!