Weird Victorian life hack sees people use chestnuts as washing machine detergent

An Instagram influencer has explained how you can ditch your washing powder in favour of conkers for a free and eco-friendly alternative.

Josephine Becker shows in a video tutorial on her Instagram how you can stop using shop-bought detergents by turning conkers (horse chestnuts) into a soapy liquid that you use in your washing machine.

In the clip on Instagram, she explains how it is much better for the environment, Mirror Online reports.

It's also a handy way to use conkers which are inedible and in fact slightly poisonous, unlike their festive cousin sweet chestnuts.

Josephine, who has 26,400 followers on Instagram, shows how she cuts the conkers up before soaking them in a jar of water.

In the video, she explains that conkers have saponins, a soap-like plant compound that is sometimes added to shampoo or shower gel.

After they've soaked overnight, the foamy water can be added into the washing machine while the chestnuts are sieved and thrown away.

The caption said: "Trends such as buying soapnuts, which are shipped over from e.g. India, is C02 intensive, harms local populations by driving up prices, appropriating their traditional-used items and is also super uneccessary bc we have our own soapnuts in Europe/N.America."

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People who swear by the weird method claim the "conker soap" can wash out even stubborn smells like sweat and remove blood.

One fan raved: "Thank you for this!!!

"I didn’t know we could use these, my housemate and I bought soap nuts earlier this year and love them but next time we know an even better option!"

Another joked: "Right, going to set my kids to work collecting and washing over half term. Edutainment."

The Woodland Trust has previously written about how Victorians used soaked, crushed up conkers as soap.

Be warned that there is no research into whether using conkers instead of laundry detergent could damage your washing machine in the long-run, so be sure to check your guarantee.

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