Green Kitchen Hacks: DIY Dishwashing Powder

Autumn… the trees are starting to turn golden, and are shedding their fruits, and shortly afterwards their leaves. This is the perfect time of year for collecting and making your own dishwashing powder!

Wait… dishwashing what….? Now, you may never even have heard of dishwashing powder – I certainly hadn’t for the longest time. Until I lived in India, where it’s quite common to use powders, for instance ash, soapnuts or other natural substances, for washing dishes. And when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense!

When we think of dishwashing detergent we usually think of a liquid that we buy in a plastic bottle. And while there are good natural and biodegradable options now, they still come in plastic, even if it’s recycled or can be refilled in a zero waste store. And on top of that, liquid soaps by definition require some kind of preservative and they are need more energy to transport than more light-weight solid options.

In addition to being zero-plastic and biodegradable, the option I’d like to present to you today has an added benefit: You can pick it up from the ground for free!!

You may not have guessed it, but chestnuts – the regular, inedible horse chestnuts – are high in saponines (the thing that makes soaps soapy, basically), similar to the Indian soapnuts which can be used for hairwashing, laundry or as a dishwashing powder, too.

Please do try this at home!

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Collect a bunch of chestnuts, wash them, chop them up coarsely and leave them to dry until they become hard and fully dry.
  2. Grind to a fine powder in your (high-power!) blender.

If you want a lovely beige powder, like in the picture, it’s nice to peel off the dark brown crust first. Peeling works better when they are fresh rather than dried. Note that the peeling is a bit time consuming though, so if you can’t be bothered, grinding them whole (and dried) works just as well.


Horse chestnuts peeled, chopped, dried and ground into fine powder

Btw, you can use this chestnutpowder for laundry, too, although I think you’re supposed to make a tea of it first and then use that. I haven’t tried it yet – if you have, please leave a comment with your experience below!

Happy washing 🙂

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