Make your own natural laundry detergent using English Ivy!

As any farmer knows, work on the farm goes far beyond just tending the crops in our fields. With the fast paced spring energy moving right now, the less desirable plants are growing as fast as the desirable ones. But one thing we also know as plant lovers is that even the invasive and undesirable plants often have valuable uses, both ecologically and for humans!

This brings us to English Ivy, Hedera helix. It’s great if you want a green ground cover that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. However, it is a fast, aggressive grower and is considered invasive in many areas. We didn’t plant it here, and we don’t want it growing up into all our trees, but IT IS HERE. After cutting a lot back recently, I began to do some research and discovered that English Ivy has a very high saponin content. Later, I chatted with Lauren, one of my indispensable apothecary assistants, and she told me she had successfully processed English Ivy into laundry detergent! Most plants with high saponin content aren’t very abundant or sustainable for using in this way, but English Ivy sure is. She shares her recipe for a DIY natural laundry detergent below. It is the most sustainable laundry detergent I have found yet!

Lauren’s English Ivy Laundry Detergent

  1. Gather 50-60 English Ivy leaves.
  2. Chop them up.
  3. Simmer in a quart of water for 20 minutes
  4. Let the decoction sit overnight.
  5. Strain the following morning, squeezing the liquid from the leaves
  6. Use ½ to 1 cup per load
  7. Store remainder in the fridge. (You will want to use it within a week).
  8. Do some laundry!
  9. Celebrate your 100% local and 100% easy clean-ness!