Do it yourself – Chestnut detergent

For many people, it is now a matter of concern to increasingly follow a sustainable idea in everyday life. All our consumer behavior has a particularly strong impact on the environment – almost every day we are faced with the challenge of finding our way through the abundance of products. In the ideal case, we take care to buy products that are as organic, regional, and packaging-free or packaging-saving as possible. It is as advisable as it is interesting to take a look at the ingredients of food and cosmetics, which is greatly simplified by apps such as “Codecheck”.

But since sustainable products often cost a lot of money and the change from your favorite brands to ecological alternatives takes a certain amount of time, we would like to present an easy way to produce your skin- and environmentally friendly detergent from chestnuts in no time at all.

Conkers contain saponins – soap-like substances – which, like soapnuts, can be used without hesitation. However, the latter are not indigenous to our region and therefore leave a decent ecological footprint.

Maybe some of you have already made your own detergent, for all others a short instruction on how to do it follows.

Instruction manual:

For a wash with fresh chestnuts, it is sufficient to collect eight to ten chestnuts, quarter them, and pour about 300ml of warm water in a glass. After about ten to twelve hours the lye is ready and can be put directly into the washing agent compartment of the machine after stirring through a sieve. If you would like to spice up the neutral smell a bit, you can alternatively simply add a few drops of essential oil (e.g. lavender). Et voilà!

If you are already convinced of your natural detergent, you can collect and process a few kilos of chestnuts. For a supply of detergent, first cut the brown balls in half before you cut them into several small pieces. For white laundry, you have to remove the shell at once, which works easy when cutting. The next step is to chop them in a mixer/shredder. The picture on the right shows the finished result including the bowl (no problem for colored laundry).

In order to prevent the formation of mold after filling the granules into a screw-top jar, the chestnuts must now be dried. To ensure that all the moisture really escapes, we recommend placing the pieces on baking trays and drying them in the oven for several hours at approx. 50° C circulating air.

In this way, you can be sure that your chestnut granules are dust-dry and will last the whole year. Whenever you want to wash your laundry with it, add about three heaped tablespoons of the chestnuts with about 300ml of water. After about an hour, the detergent can be used as described above. (For explanation: the smaller the chestnuts, the faster the saponins are dissolved)

Tip: Treat stubborn stains (e.g. fruit) with gall soap before washing!