It’s Conker Season and I’m going to be Making Laundry Soap

It’s conker season and the games have began. But I am excited for a different reason.

For a while now since my sister introduced me to soap nuts I have been interested in alternatives to commercial washing soaps that make a huge impact on our environment and our pockets.  When the privileged discover a new thing that happens to be a staple of a poorer country, the knock on effect is that us lucky peeps inadvertently create shortages and rising costs for those populations. Those that rely on it and this is happening with soap nuts. (Another classic example of this is Quinoa. Prices have been driven up so the middle classes can have one and a half unopened packets stashed in the back of their cupboard and locals have lost their staple diet).  So I was very interested to learn that we have a source for laundry soap and it is a lot closer to home and just happens to be season.  CONKERS !!!! (Horse Chestnuts)

Here’s the scientific bit …….Soap nuts contain saponins, which is a soap-like chemical compound that creates a lather and suds, but of course, it’s all natural.  It just so happens that conkers do to. So as it is conker season get out there and start collecting.

When you have collected them take them out of their green cases and give them a shake so there are no little creatures left. Next if you have a food mixer give them a little Ziz and roughly break them up. If you don’t have a mixer you can smash them with a hammer. This will release the saponins and some stress. Now put them in a container and cover them with hot water and allow them to steep. The conkers will now start to release their saponins.  Leave them to steep for about half an hour to forty five minutes. The water will start to look cloudy and eventually thicken with a yellow hue. Strain the liquid from the conkers and there you have laundry soap.

It will take a quarter to a third of a cup per wash. You can add a drop of essential oil such as lavender if you like your laundry to smell clean as well.  This is good for a week or so kept in the fridge. I am just about to freeze some liquid and some whole conkers plus drying them out. I will try them out in a few months to see if this is a sustainable supply of laundry soap.

Trying to lessen my impact one wash at a time

Hampstead Mum

4 thoughts on “It’s Conker Season and I’m going to be Making Laundry Soap

  1. Brilliant article, I have also began to rely on soap nuts which is terrible as u mention now I hear of the impact on Indians. I am really up for trying to dry them out, I have a dehydrater but again that’s using electricity but would love to have an all year source. Also one thing to factor would be impact on squirrels if everyone did this they popped into my mind as they threw their discarded shells at my head from the height of the tree, saying that I doubt I will be climbing to the heights that they get their supplies from. I can’t use SLS shit as my skin itches and I’ve got three little ones. I’ve been using expensive Ecover but at a tenner a pop I’d be bonkers not to try conkers. Lol 😂

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