* Prices may differ from that shown
Doing the daily household chores is never fun, but I hate to have stacks of dirty dishes lying around so I do a lot of washing up. I hadn't noticed Ecover's washing up liquid before but I decided to give this washing up liquid a try because it sounded nice and natural without any harsh additives, with the added bonus of a special offer price. It is available from most supermarkets with the usual RRP of £1.50 for a 500ml bottle, currently on a 2 for £2.00 deal at Tesco's.
Product description: "Cut through grease and grime to leave your dishes sparkling using Ecover Washing Up Liquid. Using plant based and mineral ingredients and clever science you'll get the results you expect without those unnecessary chemicals.
Suitable for septic tanks, not tested on animals, fully biodegradable."
This washing up liquid comes in a semi-transparent plastic bottle with a flip top lid. Inside there is a small spout that allows you to dispense the washing up liquid by squeezing on the sides of the bottle. The liquid itself is doesn't have any colour to it, so you have to look quite closely through the packaging to see how much is remaining, but on the positive side there are no artificial colourings included.
Recommended directions for use: "One squeeze is enough for a sink full of normally dirty dishes. Cleans effectively without producing excessive bubbles."
To use, you simply add to a bowl of running hot water. You can use a fairly small amount and still get a generous amount of bubbles, despite the odd statement on the bottle that it does not produce excessive bubbles. The more bubbles the better, in my opinion! The liquid itself is a nice thick gel and it is easy to control how much you are squeezing out of the bottle. The bubbles last very well which is great as I still get the full cleaning power for the whole time that I'm washing. I was impressed that this liquid was really effective at getting my dishes clean. It worked quickly without requiring any excessive amount of scrubbing on my normal everyday dishes, and seems to be particularly effective for cutting through grease left from cooking or frying fatty foods with oils leftover in the pans, leaving them squeaky clean with no residue. I do sometimes end up with burned on bits left behind after cooking things like pasta bake or roasts, and in these cases I have struggled to get them clean as it takes a lot of elbow grease and a thorough scrub to really break down these leftover particles and they do seem to stick quite firmly even with a quick soak to try and help to loosen them before washing.
I enjoy using scented cleaning products and feel like it makes doing a boring chore a tiny bit more pleasant. This washing up liquid has a lovely fruity lime and pomegranate fragrance which comes from plant extracts, and the fresh scent does make an otherwise tedious job a touch more bearable. I do not think that this washing up liquid is particularly kind to my skin, and if I have the need to wash more than one load of dishes in a day it can be quite drying, requiring a dose of hand cream to restore the condition of my skin.
Overall, I think this is a decent washing up liquid and a good buy if you're looking to use more eco-friendly cleaning products around the home.
Ecover are a Belgium-based company that manufacture cleaning products that are defined (by them) as being ecological sound. They are a multinational company whose products used to only be available via specialist stores or health food shops but now you can buy Ecover in many main supermarkets.
Although trading under the "green" banner, you only have to scratch below the surface to find some serious "greenwash" here.
In 2010, a Which report found that Ecover was "amongst a number of companies that made green claims not supported by convincing evidence". Their Vegan society stamp was taken away from them because they test on Daphnia and they also use rabbit blood in tests from farmed rabbits.
Ecover claims that it never uses "persistent chemicals" or optical brighteners" but this washing up liquid still contains several nasty artificial ingredients.
Ecover has also been harshly criticized for not subscribing to the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection's "Humane Household Products Standard", which requires companies to commit to a "fixed cut-off date" on animal-tested ingredients.
Not looking so good now is it?
There are many washing up products available that claim to be "eco" including supermarket own brands. There are only a few that genuinely are. "Dishmate" and "Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap" are genuinely eco products if you are looking to buy, or of course you could Google and make your own. The place Ecover actually takes in the market is by being the lesser of two evils, it is better than mainstream products but is still chemical and unethical if you look into it. Much like the Body shop and Lush who trade on their "natural" credentials, Ecover have adopted a persona that is not accurate and this really annoys me.
Ecover state that this is made from "plant and mineral based ingredients". They forget to mention the Sodium Laureth Sulfate, artificial scent and preservatives....
Sodium laureth sulfate is an anionic detergent and surfactant found in many products from soaps to shampoos to toothpaste etc. Used because it is an inexpensive and effective foaming agent, it behaves in a similar way to soap. SLS is sometimes made from coconut oil as an attempt to make it look like a naturally forming product. Otherwise it is derived from petroleum. SLS is classified by the EWG Cosmetics Database as a "moderate hazard."
Ecover state that their products are not tested on animals. They get away with this because Daphnia are not classed as an animal and neither is blood.....
The ingredients are listed as follows:
>30%: Water, 5-15%: anionic and non-ionic surfactants, <5%: Citric acid, parfum (type: Pomegranate and lime, contains limonene - may cause an allergic reaction), sodium chloride, preservative (0.02%): 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol.
USE AND EFFECTIVENESS:
This was given to me to try out by somebody who was taken in by the "greenwash" surrounding the brand and its practices. It comes in a 500ml opaque bottle which is totally recyclable. The liquid is clear and the scent is very chemical. The liquid seems to cope well with greasy dishes and manages to clean up dried on food after soaking. I used the same amount of this as I would a mainstream product and it performed well. It rinses off easily and luckily does not leave the dishes smelling of fake chemical pomegranate. The lime was barely present but I prefer that to having a nose-full of chemical scent.
What I did like about the liquid is that it was gentle on my hands. I hate rubber gloves and my hands get battered at home with a hobby involving tools and a coal fire causing mess and dirt. I have to wash them a lot. This product did not wreck my hands.
I used the whole bottle and even used some to wash floors with. I was happy with the performance but unhappy with the false representations of "naturalness" so I would not choose to buy it.
*It has come down in price from years ago- it costs around £1.30 for 500ml now.
*A huge bonus for rural dwellers is that it is suitable for septic tanks.
*Not AS damaging and chemical laden as mainstream washing up liquids but still not remotely natural.
* Biodegradable bottle.
* Bottle can be refilled where facilities exist (Holland and Barrett used to do this).
SUMMARY: Lots of false claims which are annoying and dishonest.
When it comes to using a washing up liquid I do normally opt for Fairy as I find it delivers the best results. However, I am not one to turn down an offer or bargain and will happily try other brands if it saves me a little bit of money but I still like a decent quality washing up liquid. About 6 months ago I needed to stock up on washing up liquid and I saw in Tesco that the Ecover washing up liquid was reduced to just £1.00 per bottle well needless to say I bought one (or two!).
Ecover is a brand I am vaguely familiar with having used their laundry products before and have been pleased with the results so I thought this would be a little bargain. Ecover is all about being green towards the environment and using ingredients which are gentle and as natural as possible. They have a range of household products and are not overly expensive unlike some other 'green' products can be making the average person feel a little happier that they can afford products which won't harm the environment so much.
The Ecover washing up liquid comes in a variety of fragrances but the only one available to me at the time was the pomegranate & lime version which was perfectly fine with me. The washing up liquid is an award winning product and has been specifically formulated to help cut through grease and grime whilst not only being gentle to your skin (should you not wear washing up gloves) but also to help with the environment by using no unnecessary or nasty chemicals.
Its formula has been made with natural plant perfumes and is fully useable with septic tanks and it isn't tested on animals. Ecover certainly make it seem possible that a washing up liquid can work just as effectively just without using any harsh chemicals. They basically give the claim that your dishes, glasses etc will be left sparkling clean just like any other washing up liquid just without all the unnecessary products as well as being ideal for those with sensitive skin.
The Ecover washing up liquid comes in a semi-transparent bottle which is rectangular in shape and is a milky white colour. Depending on the variety you buy will depend on the label and plastic cap colour. As I bought the pomegranate & lime the colour theme is a deep pink which is nice. The label is very simply with green and blue Ecover logo together with an image of a pomegranate and a splash of pink. On the back there is information about the product itself together with the ingredients list and contact information for Ecover.
The bottle is fully recyclable including the top as they are fully biodegradable. Ecover do advise that their bottles can be refilled where the facilities are provided but to my knowledge I don't know anywhere which can re-fill the washing up bottles.
Ecover advise that you only need to use a small amount each and every time you wash up as they claim that their washing up liquid is effective on grease and grime. The liquid is completely clear and has the same sort of consistency as any other washing up liquid I have come across. Ecover do advise that their washing up liquid does not provide excessive bubbles so don't be too disappointed if you don't get a wonderful white froth that brands like Fairy provide.
I tend to wash my dishes within an hour of them being used and left in the sink mainly because I just can't stand mess so this washing up liquid never really got the chance to be tested out on plates or bowls which had firmly stuck food products on them but it did have to cut through dishes which had been used to bake lasagnes, cottage pies etc which we all know leaves the dishes with a greasy residue.
Fortunately this washing up liquid managed to cut through the grease without any problems at all, it left my glasses perfectly clear and clean and any other item again nice and clean. It really didn't struggle and I didn't have to make any real effort trying to clean the dishes as with one sweep of the sponge the items because clean. If left to dry naturally you don't get a residue left either which is a good thing but then I do rinse each and every item once washed in order to rinse off any residue or bubbles.
The one thing I did notice was the distinct lack of the fragrance. Before I used it I did try and smell it via the bottle first and there is a noticeable fragrance which is quite sweet with a citrus hue but it wasn't overly strong. Once I started to wash up my dishes with it the fragrance wasn't noticeable at all which is hardly the end of the world but it is nice to have an aroma especially when you buy it with a fragrance as you may as well buy a non-fragranced washing up liquid and not be disappointed!
The only small downside is that it doesn't produce a lot of bubbles due to what it is made from and although it is only very minor I really do like the more luxurious type of washing up liquid as for some reason it makes me think my dishes are going to well and truly clean. That and with my partner doing the washing up he thought that the lack of bubbles meant he hadn't used enough so used more than he actually needed to and therefore wasting a perfectly good product!
I really quite like this washing up liquid as it is incredibly gentle on the skin and hasn't irritated mine and I can have quite sensitive skin which is a plus. It manages to clean my dishes/glasses/mugs etc incredibly clean with little effort which actually saves me quite a lot of time. I also like the fact that it is a more green friendly product on the environment. Would I recommend? Yes, I would at a RRP of £1.36 it is reasonably priced and does the job it claims. However, simply due to the fact the fragrance is not really noticeable I can only give it 4 stars.
Price: £1.36 (around that mark)