How to make homemade ivy laundry detergent
How to make homemade ivy detergent. Image: Heike Rau – Shutterstock

Did you know you can make your own laundry? There are a few free alternatives to industrial detergent, and it’s right in your backyard. Prepare to get rid of toxic chemicals, unnecessary packaging and polluting emissions.

Are you concerned about the chemicals in industrial cleaning products? I have good news. You don’t have to be a lab rat. You can make your own cleaning products and in addition to cash, including detergents, without spending a lot of money.

There are several recipes for effective detergents that will not harm your health and pollute the water with toxic chemicals.

In our case, we normally do laundry by mixing baking soda and Marseille soap (adding sodium percarbonate if we wash white clothes).

Ivy laundry detergent recipe.

Meet your friendly neighbor, Ivy!

Do you know this invasive plant that grows in your garden? This very one. You’ve known it since you were a kid, but did you know it’s rich in saponins?

Saponin is a natural detergent and a foamy substance. It is an effective surfactant for removing grease, dirt and grime from clothing. The more saponin a plant contains, the better it will cleanse. And there is no shortage of ivy and they are evergreen.

So how do you use saponin-rich ivy for laundry? Here are the materials you will need and the steps to take to prepare your Ivy laundry.

  • Preparation time: 25 minutes.
  • Total time: about 14 hours.
  • Make enough for 6 loads of laundry.

Materials and ingredients.

  • 60 leaves of English ivy.
  • 4.5 cups of water.
  • Gloves (for people with sensitive skin).
  • A basket.
  • A large saucepan.
  • A tea strainer or cheesecloth.
  • Vinegar (optional).


Go for the ivy.

If you live in Europe, Asia, and the United States, you can find it growing on a tree in the forest or covering the walls of a house in your neighborhood. If you don’t know how to identify it correctly, you can use a plant guide to help you.

2. Put on the gloves and collect the leaves.

  • Ivy sap can cause skin irritation. Wearing gloves is one way to avoid them in case you have sensitive skin.
  • Collect 60 ivy leaves and put them in the bag or basket.

3. Make a decoction.

  • At home, rinse and sprinkle the leaves in your hand (keep the gloves on if you have sensitive skin).
  • Put the leaves in the pot and add 4.5 cups of water.
  • Put the saucepan on the heat and bring the water to a boil.

4. Wait and filter.

  • Let the ivy cool for half a day.
  • Then, squeeze the leaves in your hand (with gloves on) to extract the juice. The leaves can be used in your composter.
  • Strain the tea into a jar using a tea strainer.

5. Wash your clothes.

  • For each load of laundry, add ¾ cup of this tea. The recipe is sufficient for 6 loads of laundry.

6. Extends the life of the detergent.

  • To extend the life of your Ivy laundry, store it in your fridge or add a little vinegar to it.

Ivy laundry detergent is perfect for woolen clothes or delicate clothes! It is not recommended to clean children’s cloth diapers or totally stained and damaged clothing.

Is it convenient to make this laundry detergent? No! But doesn’t it feel good to get out into nature, to find out what gifts common plants like ivy can give you?