Did you know you could go foraging for laundry detergent? There’s a free alternative to industrial detergent, and it’s right in your backyard. Get ready to ditch toxic chemicals and unnecessary packaging.

Did you know ivy is rich in saponin? Saponin is a natural detergent and foaming substance. It’s a surfactant that is effective at lifting grease, dirt and grime from clothing. The more saponin a plant has, the better it will clean. And there’s no shortage of  ivy leaves: they are evergreen. So, how do you use the  ivy’s rich saponin content to wash your clothes? You make a decoction. Here are  the steps to follow to make your ivy laundry detergent.

You need :

60 ivy’s leaves, water, glass bottles.

Rinse the leaves. Scrunch them or cut them in two with scissors. Use gloves if you have sensitive skin.

Put them in 1.5 l of water and boil for 15 min.

Let cool and sit all night or at least 12 hours.

When ready, squeeze the last juice out and filter the detergent with a cheesecloth. Put it in a glass bottle and you can keep it up to 2 months in the fridge. When I make lot of it, I even freeze it sometimes !

Use around 100 ml per laundry load.

  1. Avatar

    Tried ivy as a washing detergent scrunched up and put into a sock. Didn’t boil first but will do this for the next time as the small wash load of mainly whites with some soiling have definitely come out clean and bright after a 40 degree wash. A tea towel (which I would normally boil wash to be honest )was ok but not spotless. We have an abundance of garden ivy so I will try this again but boil up first as suggested.
    I added a cap of white vinegar as recommended somewhere so would repeat that. Very impressed !!

  2. Avatar

    Hi Alison.
    Thanks for your comment.
    I have been using this recipe for years now and wouldn’t swap for anything else. I have never been disappointed even on whites. We have a treasure in our gardens 😊😊😊

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