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Horse Chestnut Soap Recipe

Horse Chestnut Soap

Some popular brands of laundry detergent have been found to contain more than 25 toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde and chlorine bleach, not only are these substances bad for the environment there’s is growing evidence that they are harmful to  our health. Thankfully there has been a growing trend of people using more eco-minded products & this horse chestnut soap is wild, simple & sustainable.

One of the alternatives that seems to have growing in popularity in the last couple of years are Soap nuts. Soaps nuts are the fruits of the Sapindus saponaria tree and are typically imported from South America, so you have to question how eco they really are when you consider the distance they travel.

Luckily we have our own alternative, that’s abundant in the UK, conkers, from the Horse Chestnut tree.

Both Soap nuts and Horse chestnuts are high in saponins which is a soap-like compound, sapo means soap in Latin.

You need about 4 conkers per wash but they can be used a few times. I tend to make a large batch and store it in a jar in the fridge.

They don’t have a very strong aroma, so adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil will give you the familiar clean laundry smell.

It’s a tree most of us are familiar but here’s an ID guide just in case.


Method for making Horse Chestnut Soap

You want to dry the conkers before storing them, otherwise, they go mouldy very quickly (I use a dehydrator but a warm windowsill would also make)

Once fully dried, crush or chop the conkers into small pieces. (I store this in a large jar and then use about 3-4 teaspoons for each wash.)

Add the required amount of crushed nuts to a small jar, add your essential oil, top up with boiling water and leave for 30 minutes at least to soak.

Once soaked, strain through a fine sieve and add the liquid to your washing machine drawer and wash on your ordinary cycle.

The soaked nuts can be used three or four times before they need discarding. (It gets weaker each time so I soak them for longer)

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