Ivy Lye Detergent

Let’s start this blog with a 100% natural and zero waste recipe.

Ivy is full of saponin, a natural surfactant with detergent and foaming properties.

Ingredients – For 1 liter of product :

  • 50 freshly cut climbing ivy leaves (60-70 if they are small)
    Choose the largest leaves to give the ivy time to regenerate.
  • 1L of water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda


  • a measuring cup
  • a pot
  • a pantyhose or strainer
  • a tablespoon
  • a funnel
  • a glass recycling bottle (or old washing powder bottle)
  • a label


  1. After picking the leaves, rinse them with cold water to remove impurities.
  2. Cut or crumple the leaves coarsely to release the saponin.
  3. Put them in the pot (or in a pantyhose in the pot).
  4. Fill the pot with 1L of water, cover and boil for 15 minutes.
  5. Take off the heat and let infuse for at least 12 hours (keep covered).
  6. Pour the liquid – by filtering it using the pantyhose or strainer and funnel – into the pot. Add the baking soda and shake the bottle to mix.
  7. Label and keep in the fridge.
  8. Don’t forget to dispose of the used ivy leaves in the compost.


Shake the bottle a little before each use. For the dosage, use a little more than your usual detergent.

The detergent is dark but don’t worry, it doesn’t stain!
If your light-coloured laundry ever dulls, add percarbonate (stain remover and bleach) to the detergent tray. Be careful, it is only active from 40°.

The detergent can be kept for 1 month in the fridge.