Product Type: Cif Household Cleaning
Newest Review: ... which happens to the grout between the tiles, especially in the shower area. The Cif website advises that Cif Bathroom Cleaner is the ... more
Classic cleaning cream
Cif Cream Lemon Fresh
Member Name: yackers1
Cif Cream Lemon Fresh
Advantages: Cheap, nostalgic
Disadvantages: Not as good as other cleaners, harsh on the skin, requires a lot of rinsing
Wikipedia informs me that CIF actually stands for the "Canada India Foundation", and not the brand of cleaning products consumers have rammed down their throats at every opportunity. Hmmm, there's something not quite right here. Now then, if I typed in JIF I'm sure I would have got the answer I was looking for. That was the brand name that captured the hearts of nations. That was the brand name I grew up with and if anyone mentioned the word JIF then an image of a predominantly white bottle with a green lid would instantly appear.
Well, that was the case until January 2001 when JIF was rebranded as CIF. Some say it was the result of streamlining advertising activities for the global market. Some say the name changed because many Europeans had problems pronouncing the name. Whatever the reason, it should have been left well alone. "If it isn't broke don't fix it", so what was the point? And it really is a stupid name. A previous house mate of mine used to shorten the STD to "Syph" and whenever we were in the supermarket the same immature joke about CIF cleaning cream followed by an immature giggle. Thinking about it, that's what I think the name of this re-branded JIF is - a big joke.
****In the Beginning..........****
In 1969 CIF, I mean JIF, was released in France. According to the marketing spiel it became a household name through the skater adverts which how scouring powders, which had historically been used for cleaning purposes, could scratch and cause damage, like a skater on ice. I'm afraid this was way before my time and having never seen the advert I am unable to comment on this.
5 years later, in 1974, JIF hit the shores of the UK and Ireland and, according to the same marketing spiel, it "heralded the end of scouring powders".
CIF is currently produced by Unilever, the multinational company that produces several different brands in the food, home care, nutrition and personal care markets amongst others. The Unilever umbrella is far fetching and includes well known products, such as Carte D'or, Flora, Persil, PG and Hellmanns. Whether JIF/CIF is the brainchild of Unilever, or whether Unilever consumed the originator of JIF/CIF somewhere along the line I can't identify, but then at the end of the day I'm really not that bothered.
****Everything seems to be about the ethics****
In this day and age many consumers are concerned about how products are developed, tested and made and where they originate. From the environmental issues to testing on animals to the working conditions of the staff some consumers will let these factors influence their purchases.
So, is Unilever and ethical company? Would you refuse to buy a CIF product, or any product under the Unilever umbrella for that matter because of the company's ethical stance?
Putting "Do Unilever test on animals" in to Google produces pages of results that all state Unilever still tests some of their products on animals. Sites like caringconsumer.com, astrostar.com and pleasebekind.com are a handful of sites that are definite Unilever haters. The Unilever site itself doesn't deny testing on animals and states "Where some testing is required by law or it is currently unavoidable, we (Unilever) aim to minimise the number of animals used". Whilst this is unethical Unilever also states that "Since 2004 3 million Euros per year has been invested in a research program designed to produce in novel and non-animal approaches". So, the company claims to be doing something about it, but just how far has it gone and is this enough?
On the other hand Unilever claims to be actively undertaking the "Cleaner planet plan" which is a program designed to tackle the environmental impact of laundry products. Unilever claim to have made powders more concentrated and in doing so "reduced greenhouse gases by 5% - 20%, reduced packaging by 10% - 20%, reduced CO2 emissions and saved billions of gallons of water". Quite a claim, but is it corporate tripe? Unilever's ethical stance and responsibilities can be found on the company website, so if you're interested just Google Unilever and you won't go far wrong.
****Enough of the company and all the corporate stuff, what about the products?****
Since its beginnings the CIF range has expanded and now consists of a large and varies range for numerous cleaning activities, and consists of CIF cream cleaners, CIF antibacterial cleaner, CIF multi action fizz, CIF bathroom cleaner, CIF power clean, CIF oven cleaner, CIF stainless steel and the CIF floor cleaning range. Whatever cleaning task that needs to be done there is a CIF product that can help, although it may not always be the best option to go for.
I can remember my mother swearing by the JIF cleaning cream and it was the cleaning product of our household. Whether cleaning the stainless steel sink, the basins, the toilet bowl, the oven, the worktops JIF was the product used. In fact, you name it and my mother probably used JIF to clean it.
From the transition from JIF to CIF and moving through the decades this product doesn't appear to have changed at all, other than the name that is. The cream is still the same consistency. It is a bit too thick to run out of the bottle when it is turned upside down without the lid on but thin enough to be squirted a few metres if the bottle is squeezed, which adds a bit of childish fun during the cleaning process. The lemon variety has a subtle hint of lemon (obviously) but there is still that unmistakable original "JIF" aroma that I find very nostalgic.
The cleaning abilities of CIF, just like the JIF before it, are also the same which I consider poor by today's standards, and this is a big disappointment especially given the packaging's claim that this product, and I quote;
i) Cleans garden furniture and barbecues.
ii) Leaves a deep down clean and a brilliant shine
iii) The formula cuts through tough grease and limescale.
iv) Tackles the toughest cleaning jobs in the kitchen, bathroom and all around the home.
v) Gentle on surfaces including enamel and vitroceramic
Personally I find the above an absolute fallacy, however It is a good multipurpose cleaner for light marks, and to give relatively clean things that extra sparkle. It definitely is not man enough for tough stains and marks, let alone cleaning a barbeque grill. It is suitable for getting that dried on bit of tooth paste or soap off the sink, but if you want to get rid of the mould in the tile grouting or the lime scale build up on the hot tap forget it. This CIF product won't have any effect at all, although it will make the room smell nice and fresh.
With the advancements in technology and research cleaning products are now strong enough to remove the most stubborn of marks, stains, lime scale attacks etc, but still remain friendly to the basin/toilet/sink/tap etc., but CIF has remained stagnant and stuck in the eighties. Don't get me wrong, retro is cool but not when it comes to cleaning products. In this day and age I expect something that will get the job done quickly, effortlessly with little fuss and make the item I am cleaning sparkle. Unfortunately, this CIF product doesn't cut the mustard and is far, far behind the competitors.
I can remember the worst thing about using JIF was the rinsing process. It was an arduous task that required lots and lots of water and even more rubbing and wiping. Yet, no matter how long was spent on rinsing the cream there was always a scummy residue left behind when it dried (probably due to the tiny grains in the cream) and the process had to be repeated a second, or even a third time and it never seemed possible to get it thoroughly rinsed first time round. I have to say that this issue still remains with this CIF product, which is very annoying. Why hasn't Unilever tweaked the formula to make it easy rinse? After all there are alternative cleaning products out there that don't suffer from this issue.
The CIF may not be harsh on stubborn stains but I find it is on the skin. I suffer from dry skin yet I never use gloves when cleaning with any product. Stupid I know, but I just find gloves such a faff and would much prefer to do without. I can use much harsher cleaning products than CIF and they will have less effect on my skin than the milder CIF does, which I find strange. Maybe there is some unique ingredient or something in CIF that doesn't like me but I find it dries my hands out, making them itchy, red and sore for many hours after use. This is just a quick warning to any of you who may have sensitive skin, or a skin complaint like I do.
At £1.69 for a 500ml bottle CIF is relatively cheap but then given its performance in cleaning activities it should be. Currently this product is on offer at Tesco and can be bought for £1.00 up until 4 May 2010, but even at this ridiculously low price I don't think it represents good value for money. Being such a household brand getting hold of this CIF product, or any other CIF product in the range will not present too many problems.
If you want a cleaning product to add a bit of sparkle to already clean surfaces (just remember not to let it dry otherwise it will take a lot of rubbing and buffing to get rid of it) and make the kitchen or bathroom smell nice and fresh this product is one you may like to consider, especially if you're a bit "old school" and were brought up with JIF.
However, for any 'proper' cleaning tasks this CIF product just isn't up to it and there are far more suitable alternatives out there that will do the job not only better but also much faster with less fuss and much less rinsing, and because of this I just can't recommend this product.
Summary: Kickin' it back old school