~~ Who's a Dirty Girl? ~~
I'm a keen gardener and that inevitably leads to having very dirty hands at some stage, from handling compost, our heavy clay soil, or, messiest of all, sorting out the wormery. As I find it virtually impossible to undertake these tasks wearing gloves, you can see why I often have dirty hands as a result. There is the slight complication that I'm the chief cook and bottle washer for the household, so it's important that I can clean up effectively after a stint in the garden. I've come up with two solutions to this dilemma: to use a barrier product before I go into the garden, so that my hands will clean up more quickly afterwards; or to use a product that is really effective at cleaning however dirty my hands are. I've managed to find products that offer me both solutions, but it's the second that I'm reviewing today.
~~ Help is at Hand ~~
I came across this Ecover product a year or so ago at my local garden centre. Ecover are well known for products that claim to be environmentally friendly. I think the packaging has changed since, as mine is in a different coloured tube, white/yellow with green, blue and red rather than the blue and white one shown on the Ecover website. It wasn't so much that I was actively looking for something like this; it was more that it caught my eye and, aware that my hands get in quite a state, I felt it was worth the try. I think I paid around £2 for it but I'm not sure. It seemed a reasonable price to pay to see if it was effective. I was a bit sceptical because it claimed to be made of natural ingredients, as you might expect from a brand like Ecover, and I thought that maybe something like a strong detergent would be necessary to ensure cleaning. So it wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't find it very useful as I could afford £2 and I hadn't seen any similar product to try.
~~ Scrub-a-Dub ~~
As I read the instructions for use it became clear that this product actually scrubs the dirt from your skin; in fact, it's not just recommended for garden dirt. Ecover advertise this product as suitable for removing paint, grease and other difficult stains from your hands while still being gentle and not removing the skin's natural oils. Cocoa shell is the main ingredient that achieves this, acting as a natural exfoliant. The principle seems to be that dirt, paint and stains will be deeply ingrained, therefore need to be gently but effectively worked out of the skin.
~~ What's In It? ~~
The packaging content details below are taken directly from the Ecover website:
The tube is made of polyethylene; the .cap of polypropylene. Polyethylene and polypropylene are 100% recyclable and can be recycled together using a low energy process.
Ecover claim, on the tube, that the cleaner is made from only natural vegetable and mineral ingredients. Here is the contents list, displayed on the tube in tiny, slightly blurred script:
* Wool powder
* Sodium C12-18 alkyl sulphate
* Coconut Shell Granulate
* Lauryl glucoside
* Sodium chloride
* Citric acid
* Silver chloride
* Titanium dioxide
The 'parfum' has me slightly puzzled, as the only aroma I can clearly detect is lemony, and I would have thought that came from the citric acid. It's a pleasant enough smell, though, and not overpowering in any way. I wouldn't want that, in any case, if I was cooking soon afterwards.
~~ Clean Hands or Dirty Hands? ~~
To use this cleaner you simply need to squeeze a small amount from the tube and rub it thoroughly into your hands, then wet them with warm water and continue to rub them to loosen any remaining dirt or grime. When you're satisfied that it's done its job, you rinse it off; it's as simple as that.
~~ Tough on Dirt? ~~
In my experience it lives up to its claim to remove ingrained dirt. It cleaned my hands in no time, though of course I still had to pay special attention to fingernails etc to be sure of complete cleanliness. I haven't used it to remove paint from my hands, or grease, so I can't really comment on its success here, although I will say I believe it would work.
~~ Gentle on Hands? ~~
My hands are often quite dry, and tend to crack at the finger ends, especially in winter time, so if this was to have a harsh, drying effect I think it would show on them. If anything I've found the opposite to be true - they feel in better condition. I think this may be due to the exfoliating properties form the coconut shell.
~~ Recommend? ~~
It's worth it if you have dirty jobs to do - and personally I can't stand the smell of products like Swarfega. You don't need a lot, so a tube lasts well. Most importantly, I've found that it works for me, so I would recommend it and rate it as a 5 star product.
~~ Where to Buy ~~
As I said, I believe I found this in a Garden Centre. It's possible that stores like Homebase might stock it. It's available to purchase from Amazon at £2.70. You can also purchase it directly from Ecover, at the website given above, which might be worth considering if you use some of their other products; the current price is £2.24 per single tube, reduced if you buy in bulk e.g. £1.93 each if you buy 18 or more. [Delivery charges apply].
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