DIY Cosmetica

Horse Chestnuts Cleanser



  • Crushes horse chestnuts 150-250g
  • Distilled boiling water 450g
  • Preservative (Cosgard) 3.6g
  • Essential oil (optional) 4g I used lavender essential oil

In this post, I'll explain a little about the Horse chestnut tree and how I use its fruits to make a cleaning agent.

You can also use this cleanser as a laundry detergent.

The horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) originates from a region in the Balkan Peninsula. Because of its aesthetic appeal, the horse chestnut tree has been extensively grown and spread to many areas globally. It is a very popular tree in Western and Central Europe and can also be found in parts of North America. The horse chestnut tree can usually be found in parks and urban areas.


Taking morning walks around the public parks is one of my favorite things to do while I live in a big city. It helps to clear my head and to think of new experiments I want to try, and sometimes, I take advantage of these walks to collect some horse chestnuts for my DIY products. I collected much more than I needed to make this cleanser since I think maybe this year I can try to grow a horse chestnut tree from a seed. I have never tried to grow a tree from a seed, and this year, I am experimenting with gardening and growing plants. So, I collected some "knockers" to make this cleanser (and maybe more things) on one sunny autumn day.


Horse chestnuts are known as "knockers" or "conkers" (this is due to the traditional children's game played using the seeds of the horse chestnut tree).

Horse chestnuts are rich in saponins, (particularly a compound named aescin) that have characteristics similar to soap.

Some plants or plant fruits can be used as natural cleansers. A very common and known as Reetha, commonly referred to as soap nuts or soapberries. Reetha usually has around 10-15% saponins content, while horse chestnut has about 3% to 6% saponins content, which makes it a milder cleanser.

Saponins function as surfactants, allowing them to decrease the surface tension of water. This characteristic aids in the even spreading of water and enhances its ability to tackle dirt on surfaces.


Horse chestnuts have an outer green spiky shell. Horse chestnuts typically drop their seeds in the fall (usually from late September to October). The seeds fall from their spiky green capsules, which split open when they reach maturity.



The chestnut detergent doesn't have preservatives, so it's best to use it within a few days. If you want to use it for more than a few days, you'll need to add a broad-spectrum preservative. I did add a preservative to be able to use my horse chestnut cleanser for many weeks.

If you want to try more cleaning products that are more sustainable than commercial detergents, please check this solid dish soap recipe or this liquid dish cleanser.

You can add up to 1% of essential oil to the cleanser. You'll need to flip or slightly shake the bottle before each use to ensure the essential oil is mixed. You can also use a solubilizer to incorporate the essential oil into the cleanser. I didn't use it since I prefer a simple product that I can use with fewer ingredients. If you choose to use a solubilizer, make sure to use the recommended amount provided by the supplier. (You will need to adjust the formula by decreasing some of the cleanser to compensate for the added amount of the solubilizer).

NUTSCLEANSER5 The detergent's PH level can differ depending on the concentration of chestnuts in your product. The PH of the horse chestnut detergent is acidic and can range between 5 to 7.

I made two different concentrations to compare the PH levels between them. One batch had 150g chestnuts, and the second had 250g chestnuts. Both batches have 450g of water. The first batch had a 33.3% concentration, and the second batch had a 55.5% concentration.

I checked the PH level after 2 hours and I couldn't find a difference between the 2 batches I made. I re-checked after 5 hours, the PH level was the same in both batches.



Test the pH of your specific batch using pH strips or a pH meter. Please check this post to read more about PH adjustments in cosmetics.

Since this cleanser is acidic, using it on marble or limestone surfaces is not recommended. Always test on a small, inconspicuous area before using it on any surface.

I cut the nuts into quarters. Some people crush the nuts into smaller pieces and peel the brown shell. You can crush them or cut them smaller if you prefer and peel them.

To crush the horse chestnuts, you can use a pestle and mortar or place the cuts of the chestnuts into a towel and use a rock or a hammer to crush them while the towel covers them.


Horse chestnuts aren't safe for consumption and can be harmful if eaten. Make sure to keep the detergent made from them away from children and pets.

Horse chestnut detergent is an environmentally friendly option for cleaning surfaces and clothes. However, you should be aware that it is a mild cleanser that may not be as potent as commercial cleansers.


  1. Collect some horse chestnuts and dry them with a towel, ensuring they are completely dry.



  1. Cut the chestnuts into quarters.




  1. Add the crushed chestnuts into a heat-resistant jar.



  1. Add boiling distilled water to the jar. Cover the jar.





  1. Leave for 2-4 hours.

  2. Strain the liquid into a different container.



  1. Add the preservative and essential oil. Mix.




  1. Check the PH.


  1. Pour into a spray bottle and use to clean. Shake gently before using to mix the essential oil into the cleanser before each use.









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