I was literally driving down the road and saw Horse Chestnuts on the side of the busy rural highway, hung a u- turn and decided to fill a cloth bag (of course it was cloth) with the nuts littering the shoulder. I had seen a few posting on Instagram about making laundry detergent from Horse Chestnuts and right then and there decided to give it a try.
After some internet research and a lot of nonspecific recipes, I came up with a recipe that I think works pretty well:
To make the dry stage of the process you start with:
- Pounds and pound of fresh Horse chestnuts without the hull (green spiky flesh that surrounds the nut). I read that you need 10-20 pounds of raw shelled nuts to get you through one year. I am collecting around 20- 30 pounds this year (yes, I do lots of laundry).
- Process the hulled nuts with either a grater, hammer, or food processor with a grating wheel/blade. I used my mothers food processor’s grating wheel.
- Then put them in a blender, in batches, to make a pulp. Repeat.
- Place a layer of the pulp on a cookie sheet and dry in your oven for 1-1.5 hours on 200 degrees Fahrenheit or until nice and dry. You will need to do this stage in batches. Cool and then place in a jar to store your “detergent”. Repeat. This dry stage will keep for 18-24 months in an air tight container.
To make the liquid washing solution: makes 2-4 loads (depending on load size and machine requirements). Don’t make a large batch of solution, it goes bad in about 7 days in the fridge.
- Place about 1/2 cup dried nuts in a jar and cover with 1 cup boiling water, let steep for 15-30 minutes, strain through a fine sieve.the liquid will be a milky yellow/white solution (where will be some fine bits of chestnut in the bottom of your jar, that’s okay. I carefully pour my solution when I use it and always leave a little solution at the bottom of my jar with the bits, when it is empty.
- One load uses 1/4 cup -1/2 cup solution (depending on load size and machine requirements)
- I added 5-8 drops of Lavender or peppermint essential oil to the solution to make my laundry smell fancy.
- If you make a bunch of solution a head of time, store it in the fridge. I should last about 7 days.
Have fun with this recipe. I sure am excited about this rediscovered zero waste recipe.
I might just try to wash my hair with a chamomile/horse chestnut shampoo. Keep you posted on that one.
*Some of the stages in the process of making Horse Chestnut laundry detergent. The bottle on the right is the final product.