Conker Laundry Detergent

2 Materials
1 Hour

Looking for a way to reduce chemicals and plastic in your life? This 100% natural laundry detergent made from conkers is gentle on skin, eco friendly and easy to make.

First of all you'll need some conkers! This amount of conkers made approximately 500ml detergent, so adjust the number of conkers you need roughly based on how much you want to make.

You need to use a large, sharp knife to cut the conkers into pieces. I went for 8 pieces per conker but you could do quarters instead or you could chop them up more. The smaller the pieces, the faster the product will infuse later.

Once you've chopped all your conkers, you should have something that looks a bit like this. Now, get the kettle on! (Not for a cuppa)

Put your chopped conkers into a jug or other suitable container and once the kettle has boiled, add as much water to the conkers as you'd like to make. You should notice (as shown in pic) that the liquid has a soapy, bubbly look to it. Leave this liquid to soak for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. You'll notice the liquid becomes creamier and less transparent the longer it soaks.

Strain the liquid through a sieve just to make sure no little bits of conker stay in yoir detergent. There you have it! Each load of laundry will require between half a cup and a full cup of liquid detergent depending on load size. The liquid can be stored in a tub or jar for a few days in the fridge, or you can make up as required. I found the detergent to be effective on a standard load of laundry but I decided to still use fabric conditioner to keep the "clean washing" smell. Let me know if you give it a try and how you get on! You can also dry large amounts of conkers to keep throughout the year to make more when conkers are not available.

Check out @plastic_what_you_preach on instagram for more eco ideas :-)

Suggested materials:

  • Conkers   (Park)
  • Boiling water

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  8 questions
  • Jan48585070 Jan48585070 on Jan 02, 2020

    I've never heard of conkers. What are they and where can I get them?

    • William William on Jan 02, 2020

      Neither have I. Did some research and found out they are known as Horse Chestnuts (not the edible kind) or Buckeyes in the US.

    • Joy Browning Joy Browning on Jan 02, 2020

      They are Horse chestnuts, or buckeyes. I had to look it up. 😊

    • Plastic What You Preach Plastic What You Preach on Jan 13, 2020

      They're the seeds from horse chestnut trees. Not to be confused with regular chestnuts which are edible. Conkers are not for eating! They're all over the UK- I'm not sure where else in the world they're found sorry.

  • Jenny Hern Jenny Hern on Jan 02, 2020

    Where do you get them at ?

    • Flipturn Flipturn on Jan 03, 2020

      Reply to Jenny:

      She got them from a park. It says in the suggested materials.

    • Theresa Zeth Theresa Zeth on Jan 12, 2020

      I'm older than dirt and this is the first time I've ever heard of such a thing!!! One day I'm going to find me some and try this!

    • Plastic What You Preach Plastic What You Preach on Jan 13, 2020

      They're all over the UK. They're also called horse chestnuts if that helps you to find out where else in the world they grow :-) x

    • Plastic What You Preach Plastic What You Preach on Jan 13, 2020

      Hahaha older than dirt . That made me laugh. I've only heard of it relatively recently but it did work when I used it. I didn't use it on anything heavily soiled so I guess I didn't really TEST it. But so far so good x

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jan 03, 2020

    It is easy to mistake chestnuts ( Left side in photo below) and conkers ( Right side in photo below). They both look similar, and conkers are often called horse chestnuts, which in itself is confusing. Chestnuts are edible, but conkers or horse chestnuts are poisonous, and can even cause paralysis if ingested.

    Question for Plastic what You Preach:

    Which did you use for this project?

    • Amy Disbrow Amy Disbrow on Jan 03, 2020

      We call them buckeyes

    • Flipturn Flipturn on Jan 03, 2020

      Isn't it interesting how sometimes similar items can be called different names depending on where in the world you live?

    • MomofivejsOR MomofivejsOR on Jan 10, 2020

      True. They are called Conkers because when they fall out of trees they Conk you on the head.

    • Lisa Lydia Sics Lisa Lydia Sics on Jan 11, 2020

      Thanks, for the information. I would not anything link conkles in my home were childern may confuse them.

    • Plastic What You Preach Plastic What You Preach on Jan 13, 2020

      I used the ones that are like the ones on the left of your photo. I am led to believe these are not edible. The ones with the spiky shells- the ones used in the traditional British game "conkers" . Xxx

  • Alan Alan on Jan 11, 2020

    Can this detergent be "canned" (like in canning jars) for longer storage?

    • Plastic What You Preach Plastic What You Preach on Jan 12, 2020

      No it can't be stored long term once it's made up. However, you can dry out the conkers and store these long term (a year or more) . You can then use the dried conkers to make up batches as needed. Once made it keeps for 4ish days in the fridge. Hope that helps

  • Theresa Zeth Theresa Zeth on Jan 12, 2020

    This is really cool idea, but I do question you own comment on if these conkers are eaten they are poisonous. How do we know it wont cause a skin reaction?

  • Lari Lari on Jan 12, 2020

    hello, ok PLS don't think I need a book called 'Dummies for Conkers' lol but are conkers in all areas of U.S.? all year? thank you for the share I am absolutely in for saving our planet from the plastic's!

  • Karlene Hamilton Karlene Hamilton on Jan 12, 2020

    Conkers? They look like Buckeyes. Are they the same thing?

  • Marva Litow Marva Litow on Jan 13, 2020

    What are confers?


Join the conversation

3 of 10 comments