I Made My Wooden Ash Detergent! My Opinion on Its Effectiveness.


Free laundry, it exists and it’s easy to do.

My opinion on its effectiveness is more than favorable.

SO ? I take you on a walk to make homemade laundry, with ashes?

Laundry, as we know it now, has only existed since the 1930s with the invention of synthetic surfactants.

So I wondered what people did before the appearance of the multinational chemical companies.

One day, in the course of my readings and browsing of all kinds, a few words made tilt: « Wash the old way with ash detergent ».

There I said to myself, my old, but what are you talking about? Ash-based detergent? Mega yuck!

Bitten by the surprising info that I had just unearthed, I immersed myself in the grimoires to discover how our grandmothers discovered ash lye:

Once upon a time the laundry of ashes

Sensitive souls refrain. It is as a result of rituals of sacrifices at the stake that they realized that their clothes full of grease and ashes came out much cleaner than usual.

I don’t know what prayer they had made to their gods, but that of making it easier to wash clothes was answered!

Nowadays, we no longer wonder if it’s witchcraft, we know it’s chemistry, so… we only sacrifice plants to be a good Cinderella.

They all contain potassium, but some more than others. Potash (from the English « pot ash » which means pot ash, thank you Wikipedia!) is a washing chemical compoundin the same way as soda.

With potash + fat, we obtain liquid or soft soap, such as black soap.

With soda + fat, we obtain solid soap, like Marseille soap.

But back to our sheep … no, to our ashes!

Gathering, a treasure hunt

Armed with my new knowledge, I went for a « useful » walk summer last. Because in our regions, the queen of potash is the fern.

I’ve already stuffed my backpack with leaves very dry which I cut on the spot. You have to leave the roots, because it grows back every year.

It is perfect to help light the fireplace or the barbecue. It avoids buying those pesky little chemical cubes or using alcohol or gasoline. yuck.

Some will find less than others at home. But you see, that’s what makes up for it when you live in Brittany, and you even have a town called Fougères. There is less sun, but we are millionaires in ferns, na!

I no longer empty my ashtrays anyhow now: for once smokers will make themselves useful!

The tobacco also contains a lot of potassium, as well as banana peels, corn silk, buckwheat chaff and peelings potatoes among others.

Afterwards, it is not always easy to dry them. do not forget wood obviously. And the charcoal from the barbecue and the personal papers that we burned… let’s go, everyone to the laundry!

And for those who live in an apartment and who do not smoke? We will have to be strong and courageous… and ask for alms from friends, relatives, neighbors who do not use their ashes.

How to do

1. Sit in a well-ventilated place, preferably in the garden, or on the balcony.

2. Sieve the ashes with a colander. There should be no charcoal, nails, staples from crates, etc.

3. In terms of proportion, dose 3 good glasses of ashes for 1 liter of water (preferably rain, but hey, we’re not going to quibble), in a 1st bucket or a basin.

4. Mix a little, with the hand, it fears nothing.

5. Leave to macerate between 24 and 48 hours, to extract the potash in the water.

6. Mix four times in between.

7. Filter the preparation in the 2nd bucket putting 2 tea towels in the colander.

8. The resulting liquid should be a little golden and soapy to the touch. It will be more or less depending on the plants that have been used. If this is not the case, filter again with clean tea towels (avoid paper towels if possible).

9. Then pour the liquid into a bottle very clean.

10. Add a few drops ofoil essential, 10 for 1 liter : lavender essential oil, Rosewood, For example. But this step is optional.

11. Shake to mix. The laundry is ready, it’s already foaming. For the dosage, put 100ml for each laundry machineor even less for recent machines which are very economical.

12. The ashes that you have left in the cloth, you will put them in your compost or at the foot of the plants, because potash is also a fertilizer.

And at the same time, it will bother the slugs and snails who don’t like ashes at all.


There you go, your ash laundry is ready 🙂

You see, making ash lye is easy!

Some put the ash directly into the drum of the machine. Alright. I have not tried yet.

It was valid with the washing machines of yesteryear, but I’m a little afraid of plugging the holes in my modern machine!

Now you know how to make a 100% natural detergent with wood ash. And no need for Companion or thermomix!

My recommendations

– You can store ashes indefinitely, but not laundry detergent.

– Do not use for washing dishes.

– Just like soda, potash dries out the skin without saponification (operation which makes it possible to transform it into soap by adding oils). So you have to wear gloves if you wash by hand. Just in case, wash your hands with vinegar to lessen the corrosive effect.

– Also avoid washing floors with it if you are unsure of rinsing well, especially if you have pets or small children.

– Depending on the quality of the ashes, a disadvantage of your detergent is that it can be more or less « corrosive », avoid washing fragile linen with it.

It’s clean and it smells fresh

Question efficiency, nothing to complain about. It will, of course, detach before washing when there is heavy. As with all other detergents, but nothing more.

So. All of this blew me away last year, and I can’t wait to start the fern walks and barbecues again (I’ve already stored all my tobacco ashes this winter!).

And if you like ash laundry, you’ll probably like ivy laundry. Check out the recipe here.

Savings achieved

This detergent cost me 0 €. Total pleasure: ecological and free!

The price of my usual laundry: 10 € per month. SO 120 € savings per year (knowing that I do one machine a day).

If I want a delicate scent, I choose the dried lavender in the cabinet. It lasts several years.

And it’s free when you have it in the garden or on the balcony.

Your turn…

Would you like to start washing ashes? When are you starting? We can’t wait to read you!

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Also to discover:

10 Uses for Wood Ash You Never Thought About.

How I Make My Natural Fabric Softener.

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