Just Gone Viral: An Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Recipe

A large container of laundry detergent.
You can make an eco-friendly laundry detergent from buckeyes, also known as conkers. (Image: Screenshot via YouTube)

Laundry detergents often contain chemicals that can be harmful to you and your family. Why use them when you can create an eco-friendly cleaning solution that is safe? One such eco-friendly laundry detergent recipe that was uploaded to Facebook in September has gone viral with more than 11,000 likes and 14,000 shares.

Eco-friendly laundry detergent recipe

The recipe was posted on “The Watercress Queen” page, which calls itself a community interest group focused on food and families. The person who shared the laundry detergent recipe mentioned that she has been using it for over a year and loves it since it has no smell, no chemicals, and generates no plastic waste. The recipe makes use of buckeyes, also known as conkers. So collect as many buckeyes as you can from horse chestnut trees.

For each cup of detergent, chop 5 to 6 buckeyes into small pieces. Dry them rock-hard using an oven at low heat or a dehydrator. Once they have been dried out, put them in a jar and add a cup of hot water. Let the buckeyes soak for around 10 to 30 minutes. You will see that the mixture has become a creamy, thick liquid. Strain it into another jar.

Resoak the buckeyes for about an hour and strain the liquid. Repeat this process multiple times with a soaking time of 2 hours, 4 hours, or even overnight. Every time you soak, the liquid gets thinner. When the color of the buckeyes changes from yellow to white, you can stop the soaking and straining process. The liquid you got from the first soaking can be used for washing the dirtiest clothes. For normal washing, you only need to use half the liquid. The third batch can be used when you want to lightly wash clothes.

“I make the liquid as I need it. If you need to keep the liquid pop it in the fridge (label the jar so it doesn’t get drunk) and it will keep for around 7 days. Always stir the liquid before use to evenly distribute the ‘soap’. The used conkers [buckeyes] can then be added to your compost. Please always say thank you to the trees for the gift of conkers and please plant some of the conkers for our biospheres’ future,” says the post.

Alternative options

Another way to make eco-friendly laundry detergent involves the use of three bars of 4.5 to 5 ounces of soap, 6 cups of washing soda, lemon essential oil, and powdered bleach. The bar soap should be organic, with coconut-based ones being ideal.

First, cut the soap into small pieces and add the pieces to a food processor together with washing soda. Blend until you get a fine powder. Let it sit for a while. Pour it into a clean container. That’s it. Every time you use a portion of this mixture, add a few drops of lemon essential oil as it acts as a degreaser. When washing white clothes, mix in a scoop of powdered bleach.

Lemon essential oil acts as a degreaser in this eco-friendly laundry detergent recipe.
Lemon essential oil acts as a degreaser. (Image: silviarita via Pixabay)

This laundry solution is low-sudsing. As such, you should be able to use it in your washing machine without much trouble. However, you should only use half the normal amount of detergent. Check the warranty document of your equipment to ensure that the solution does not contain any ingredient that might void the warranty.

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  • Raven Montmorency

    Raven Montmorency is a pen name used for a writer based in India. She has been writing with her main focus on Lifestyle and human rights issues around the world.

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