Eco Ivy Dishwashing and Laundry Soap

From ivy leaves you can easily create a detergent for both dishes and laundry. Biological, effective and almost free!

In a previous post I showed you how to make your own homemade laundry detergent with ingredients from the supermarket.

In this post I am going to show you how to make an eco dish or laundry soap with ingredients from your garden. It’s hard to find a dish or laundry soap that is more natural or effective than this one, it is very similar to the organic chestnut detergent. I like this soap because it is all natural, it works and it literally costs pennies to make.

Eco Ivy Soap Ingredients:


Shred the leaves and put them in a big pot with the washing soda and the water. Bring to a boil and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, stir frequently.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Let the mixture sit until it foams when stirred vigorously. Strain the mixture through a sieve or cheesecloth and pour it into a container.

Using poison ivy as detergent

That’s it, you’ve made homemade Eco Ivy Detergent! The dissolved saponins of the ivy foams well and has a solid cleaning effect for day to day dishwashing  and laundry needs.

The washing soda improves the cleaning effect and by killing any germs the ivy detergent lasts longer. This mix works best when used fresh and should be used within a few days. Storing it in the fridge or a cool dark cupboard will increase its lifespan.

If the dish soap is too runny for your liking, you can thicken it example, with guar gum or simple starch. This ensures the usual consistency and improves the detergent.

The Ivy detergent can also be used for washing clothes. Simply put about 200 ml / a cup of the Ivy solution in the detergent compartment of your washing machine.

Even easier: it is possible to wash immediately with fresh ivy leaves. Put a handful of shredded leaves into a wash bag or into a sock and tie the end up and drop it into the washing machine.

But isn’t ivy poisonous?

Just like most plants, ivy is poisonous. Older plants with dark berries are highly poisonous. You should  avoid consuming large quantities of the leaves, especially older and darker leaves. However, this soap is meant for topical use and should never be eaten. Ivy leaves have traditionally been used as medicine, for example this ivy leave supplement for bronchial health. Some people may have an allergic reaction to ivy, so start using a small amount and watch for any reactions.

You can find more ideas for herbal receipes in the book The Domestic Alchemist: 501 Herbal Recipes for Home, Health & Happiness:

Have you tried the Eco Ivy Detergent? What other plants do you use for cleaning? Share your tips and experiences in the comment section!

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  1. Can this be used in front loader washing machines?


      Hi Rachel,
      yes! We do have a front loader and it works very well. Just put it in the normal tray. It is also possible to use whole ivy leaves: stuff them into a sock (a hand full of leaves will do it) and put it to the laundry.

    • thanks! I have so much ivy in my yard. I am going to try this. I appreciate the resources!

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