Product Type: Fairy household products
Newest Review: ... as it is simply what I have always been used to. I liked the fact that Fairy Non Bio is designed for those with sensitive skin and i... more
Member Name: jo1976
Date: 08/10/12, updated on 08/09/13 (321 review reads)
Advantages: Does not irritate sensitive or broken skin
Disadvantages: Expensive, bulky boxes, not effective on stained or heavily soiled washing
I've suffered with sensitive skin and bouts of (often severe) eczema since early childhood and have grown up with my clothes being washed in Fairy Non-Biological washing powder. Even as a young student, when I wasn't taking my dirty washing home to my Mum, I continued to use Fairy and now, as a Mum myself to three young boys, Fairy is still my powder of choice.
Over the years, there have been a number of new products introduced under the Fairy Non Bio branding, including tablets, liquitabs and gel. I have experimented with some of the other products but find the powder is by far the most economical way of using Fairy, particularly as I have a large family and tend to do a lot of wash loads each week. I also find it much better value to purchase the larger sized boxes of powder, as the price per wash decreases considerably as the packs get bigger. This does mean that I usually end up with the huge great boxes, which come with a sturdy plastic handle as they are so heavy and bulky to lug about! Storage can sometimes be a bit of an issue too, especially as I do try and stock up whenever the larger boxes are on a promotional offer which isn't as often as I'd like them to be.
I do find Fairy to be a particularly expensive household brand. The small 800g (10 washes) box can cost anywhere between £3-£4.20, dependent on the supermarket and any offers. The larger 38 wash boxes cost around £9-£10 per box, which is a large outlay each time but does reduce the cost per wash considerably. It is still far cheaper to consider supermarket's own brand of non-bio powder or liquid, or even other brands as they seem to be on offer more frequently than Fairy.
As a non-biological washing powder, Fairy does not contain enzymes which are good at removing dirt and stains but can be a skin irritant as the enzymes can linger behind on clean clothing. Fairy is one of the most established brands of non-bio, helping to reduce flare ups of eczema, sensitive skin and other skin complaints. I use Fairy as a preventative measure, particularly given my oldest son's skin, as his eczema seems to be the worst in the family and I struggle to keep on top of it without resorting to steroid based creams. Washing his clothes and bedding in Fairy washing powder clearly doesn't prevent these nasty flare ups, but I just feel that I am reducing the irritation as much as I can in conjunction with creams and other treatments.
Most biological powders and washing products are very heavily scented and this perfume can also act as a skin irritant. Fairy is only very lightly fragranced, leaving behind hardly any aroma at all on freshly washed clothing. I try to dry my washing outside on the line whenever the weather allows me to, as this gives my washing a lovely freshness that I don't get otherwise. I do sometimes look longingly at other brands of washing powder with their exotic sounding fragrances but this is a compromise that I'll willing to take to care for my family's skin.
The other compromise that comes with Fairy powder is the poor performance on stained or heavily soiled clothing. My kids' clothing is generally filthy by the time it makes it way to the washing machine. My older boys love playing football and other games outside and my toddler is forever spilling snacks and drinks on his clothing, so my wash loads certainly fall into the 'heavily soiled' category. I find that I have to use quite a generous scoop of Fairy powder with each load, although I do have a large 8kg capacity machine. Fairy is particularly poor at tackling muddy clothing or strong food stains such as tomato based foods, certainly at the 40 degree temperature that I tend to rely on. I always have to use the 'super wash' setting on my machine to maximise performance anyway and most loads I also use a separate stain remover too. This obviously adds to the cost of the weekly laundry as well as introducing additional chemicals into the washing process, which is one of the things that I'm trying to avoid by using a non-bio product in the first place.
I don't tend to use any added fabric softeners in my wash so I'm also reliant on Fairy to soften and freshen my clothes. I have to say the Fairy adverts where a baby is being gently wrapped in a lovely fluffy towel are not representative of my experiences! I find that towels, in particular, become quite hard over time and I don't believe that the powder really does provide any softening ability as the brand likes to suggest.
If my kids and I didn't have sensitive skin, I certainly wouldn't continue to use Fairy powder on a regular basis. It is expensive, lacks any exciting scents and doesn't really have enough cleaning power to tackle dirty and heavily stained clothing without being used in conjunction with additional stain removers. That said, I do continue to return to Fairy, aside from occasional dalliances with other brands of non-bio, simply because it is so familiar and I can be confident that it isn't going to cause any significant irritation to my boys' delicate skin.
Summary: A product that I continue to use despite considerable flaws