How to use weeds to do the dishes

Jen Meldrum
Monday, 1st August 2011

Some of you may be so fed up with horsetail weed that you just want go wild with the weedkiller. But we want to make our weeds do a little bit of work for us before we commit them to the compost heap, so we asked one of our readers to explain how it can be useful.

The horsetail 'weed' Equisetum has been around since the dinosaurs and is impervious to many herbicides. It is strong enough to push it's way through pavements so therefore, it must be strong enough to rival popular brands of washing-up liquid when it comes to cleaning crockery, glassware, and round the taps.  Just pick off handfuls, dip it in the washing-up water and use it as a dish-mop, then sit back and admire the sparkle of your glasses. I believe the useful ingredient is silica. Let the used horsetail dry well before composting or making weed tea. Used like this, you may begin to like it more!


Other uses for horsetail around the world

  • As a soft green dye
  • To make tea
  • As a Thickening powder
  • To make a dish in Japan called tsukushi, similar to asparagus (attention: some species can be poisonous)
  • To provide silica for supplementation
  • Polishing wooden tools

Useful resources

Article: How to make compost and weed tea in a small space

Book: Weeds - a wide range of ideas to keep even the most prolific invaders at bay

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