Sustainable Living : Laundry detergent

Green housing : Laundry detergent

Ivy laundry detergent is my favorite. It is natural, free, and zero-waste.  Ivy grows every where aound us, and in those weird times, why are more than happy to have a good reason to put you outside the house ! You only need 3 ingredients: climbing ivy, water, and a little time. Plus, it’s fun, easy, and completely safe to make! Climbing ivy contains between 5 and 8% of saponin, an effective cleaning agent. (as a proof of saponin, just qhake your mixture when ready, you will see bubles that show you you have natural soap in your bottle !) It’s a natural detergent and foaming substance, and is great for lifting grease, dirt, and grime from clothing. As a result, we can make laundry soap with climbing ivy by extracting saponin through a simple process known as a decoction. This could actually be done with any other plant having a high saponin content. For instanse, you can try this recipe with other plants like quinoa, alfalfa, soap nuts, horse chestnut or soapweed. I stick with climbing ivy as it can be found anywhere in the planet, specially in north part and it is available all year long ! So feel free to experiment! As a bonus : kids can help you to pick the leaves and to prepare the concoction, as far as they wash their hands afeter touching ivy.

The ingredients

·   50 leaves of ivy
·   Water
·   1 tea spoon of Bicarbonad of soda

The easy recipe

  • Pick 50 ivy leaves : the best, the ones which contains a higher proportion of saponi are the oldest one. The big and dark leaves.
  • Clean them and cut the stems.
  • Put the leaves in a saucepan add a liter of cold water
  • Crumple the leaves to let seve escape easily. Cover and set it over strong flame
  • When boiling, leave 15 minutes, cover, low heat.
  • Set outisde flame in a jar with leaves for 24h. let it cool down and macerate.

After 24h, Filter and pu in bottle. Add a pinch of bicarbonad of soda. To extend its life, you can add a few drops of an anti-bacterial essantial oil (tea tree, geranium)

  • Tag the bottle. Store it in the fridge, No more than 1 month


 How to use it

Suitable for dark and coloured laundry.
Add a pinch of bicarbonad of soda in the washing machine drum if laundry is very dirty  and 1 full glass of ivy detergent in the proper area for laundry detergent (20cl)



2 to 4 weeks in the fridge if it’s warm where you live.