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Wash 'n' Goth *updated*
Persil Black Velvet
Member Name: gothiron
Persil Black Velvet
Date: 04/01/02, updated on 05/02/02 (3750 review reads)
Advantages: Not that dear, washes stuff OK, smells OK
Disadvantages: It's not black, and come to that, not that velvety either, and it leaks when you knock it over!
As promised, the review has been updated, the final, final verdict is at the foot of the review, marked with * *
Black certainly seems to be the new black when it comes to persuading people to part with their money. From black knicker liners (it’s OK lads, it’s not another “female” only op!) to black Christmas trees, it was probably only a matter of time before the multi-billion pound washing industry twigged that a detergent aimed at black and dark coloured clothes would be a money spinner. Afterall, they can keep your “whites whiter than white” so why not “blacks blacker than black”?
So here it is, Gothiron Guide to the Guinness of Laundry World, Persil’s Black Velvet.
Seeing as most of my wardrobe falls into the category of well, black relived by faded black with highlights of more black, this seemed ideal for me and fellow Goths out there. Apparently a £2.5m ad campaign in the Summer was aimed at “young, affluent British consumers - a generation notorious for wearing black and dark clothes”
Well first big disappointment – it’s not black! OK, you may think that I’m being unreasonable here (or else plain daft), but I had envisaged that this newcomer to the scrubbing board of laundry enhancements would be the washing equivalent of tipping a pint of the black stuff into the machine. Instead it is the usual creamy white colour of washing liquid the world over. The clear plastic bottle does have a greyish tinge to it, with a black plastic band on the top but it’s just not the same. Memo to Unilever: Any chance that the next redesign could feature a skull & cross bones, the odd crow or gothic castle on the label, just to get into the spirit of things?
So does it smell like Black Velvet? Thankfully no. Black Velvet, far from reeking of Guinness & Champagne like it’s alcoholic (and may
I say, totally vile) namesake, has that standard soapy aroma, nothing special, nothing nasty, nothing highly scented, just normal.
So that was the appearance and aroma testing over, now on to the practical bit. Is it any good?
After scurrying around to collect together the pre-requisites for this trial ie my dirty washing in assorted shades of “dark”; long black skirt, mangy black top, decent black top, black jeans and assorted black T-shirts + “unmentionables” in that odd shade of grey, I was ready to rock and roll, well do the washing anyway.
The bottle says that the 750ml is adequate for up to 14 normal washes if you use the bottle cap as a guide for measuring. It’s the standard “one cap for normal, two caps for heavy” instructions on the bottle, and the liquid should be added directly to water trays rather than using a dosing ball or straight to clothes. I shouldn’t imagine it will metamorphosis your clothes to brilliant white if you don’t follow the instructions exactly, but hey, this was for Dooyou!
The bottle is a contour style, meaning that it is easy to hold and pour, having a “waist” rather than just being straight, there is the standard lip for pouring, making measuring easier and the main lid is easy to twist off, meaning that this design would be good for people with struggle with tight lids. The downside is that I should imagine it’s pretty easy for children to undo as well and the product doesn’t seem to contain Bittrex to prevent children drinking it. From personal experience, (that is forgetting I’d got this on my hands and then eating a biscuit – urghhhh!) I’d doubt that more than a sip would get swallowed unless your child has a perchant for soapy drinks!
As this is a biological product containing enzymes, it says that it isn’t suitable for Silk or Wool (damn, that’s a quarter of my wa
rdrobe ruled out) but I’m sure a non-biological version will follow.
Once the liquid was in the machine, it seemed to produce a good amount of lather and bubbles – I wasn’t paying that much attention to the froth-o-meter! The liquid dispersed well, there was no residue left in the tray, unlike some of the other brands that seem to have the stickability of a slug when it comes to actually getting involved in the wash, and the clothes didn’t feel sticky once the wash had finished. So again, perfectly fit for purpose.
Whilst the clothes were drying off, I wondered just how this stuff was meant to work, all the bottle says was “It’s different because it actively helps to keep your blacks as black as new” and that it doesn’t contain bleach (which makes sense if you don’t want to lighten something!). Maybe the secret is in the list of active ingredients, so for the scientists out there, these are the active ingredients:
5-15% Anionic surfactants, soap
15 – 30% Nonionic surfactants
Well any clues there chaps? I ventured over to the Persil.co.uk website, only to find that Black Velvet isn’t listed on their site yet, but apparently you can buy Persil Revive online, fascinating! And no, I really couldn’t be bothered to ring the Persil Careline: 0800 776644 to ask how it worked just to be told “because it does!”
So what’s the verdict?
My clothes admittedly still looked black, they were clean and smelt nice but I can’t help thinking that Black Velvet is probably no more effective than any other colour-specific washing liquid/powder/ tablets/capulets etc. At £2.99 for 14 washes, its comparable with other liquids on the market and not overpriced but as I usually opt for whatever is cheapest, I’m not probably the world’s best judge on this area!
To be fair, I only have used this
once and it may be in the long term that clothes do stay blacker using it but as I’m not prepared to do some sort of Head and Shoulders “I washed this half in Brand X and this half in Brand Y” with my beloved midnight collection, I think I shall keep an eye out for this on offer but not bother to hunt it out especially.
Well now that the bottle is almost empty and I have religiously used it for my dark wash, I’m still no more impressed than I was originally, clothes come up clean and don’t look faded, but I’m certain that my usual washing liquid would be just as effective.
The Other Half has been quite surprised at how many times I insisted his new black jumper needed washing over the last month or so – well if it did work it’s only right that he gets the benefit too, and if it made no difference, he wouldn’t notice!
If a new campaign was run that actually showed some sort of before/after example, as well as stating the time period that this is effective over, I might reconsider, but after falling victim to the ploys of the evil ad-men once, (OK, twice if you include THAT coffee), I’d still be dubious. On this performance I can’t particularly recommend this product as being more suitable for black clothes than a standard colour powder or liquid. Yes, it works OK as a way of cleaning your clothes, No, I don’t think that my blacks look any different.
In fact, you’d be better off taking the good advice given in Comments and invest your couple of quid in few Dylon Colour Fast Dyes to revitalise your fading clothes.
Wonder if it would work on fading looks as well! ****