Household,  Laundry

Greener and ethical laundry liquid for the New Year

At long last 2021 is here. Phew. Even though it’s been a bumpy start with the pandemic ongoing, let’s hope we can turn the corner soon.

As a nod to a fresh start, this post is about eco-friendly laundry liquid.

Ethical minefield

You’ll probably know that one of the most prominent “eco” cleaning brands out there is Ecover. I was using it for a few years for many household jobs, including laundry. All in all, I was pretty happy.

But sadly, in 2018, Ecover and Method, another well known “eco” brand, were acquired by SC Johnson.

SC Johnson is a multi-national that owns other cleaning brands such as Pledge, Glade, Mr Muscle and a host of others. Outrageously, SC Johnson develops and creates formulations for some of its brands using animal testing.

Even though Ecover is a separate legal entity to SC Johnson (and a B Corp, at that) and claims itself to be cruelty-free, its link to unethical practices through its parent company is really disappointing.

Animal welfare charity, Naturewatch, has called for a boycott of Ecover and Method as a result. For more details, see here.

Thankfully, there are other ethical and eco-friendly laundry liquid options out there that aren’t associated with businesses that participate in cruel and outdated practices.

Shop refill options 

I’m a big fan of refills generally. If you have a good zero waste shop nearby, refilling your old laundry liquid bottle can be a great way to reduce plastic waste. It’s also more cost effective than buying new bottles.

But, you might have noticed that so many refill shops only stock Ecover.

It can be hard to find an alternative refill laundry liquid that also performs well. A good one to try is Ecoleaf by Suma if you can find it anywhere. Or even SESI which I mentioned in a previous post.

It’s worth ringing around a few shops to ask what they stock and to also flag the Ecover / SC Johnson link to see what they say, if Ecover is stocked.

Some of the drawbacks of shop refills

One of the main things to bear in mind with in-store refills is timing things properly so you don’t run out. This can be sorted by filling a spare empty bottle to store. But remembering to do this can be a pain, especially if you do a lot of laundry.

Another issue with shop refills, especially in these times of Covid-19 restrictions, is that it can be harder to get to a zero waste shop. And as they tend to be small, queuing takes time.

Ordering your zero waste shop refill online to save time won’t help because you can’t use your own container.

Another way

My preferred option when it comes to laundry liquid is to buy a 5L bottle of Faith in Nature’s Aloe and Rosemary laundry liquid so I can do my refilling from home.

Although the bottle is plastic and kerbside recyclable, when it’s empty you can post it back to Faith in Nature for free to be reused (5L bottles only).

Returned larger 20L bottles are currently recycled in a closed-loop system by Faith in Nature’s producer. Which basically means the bottle is melted down and reused to create more bottles. So virgin plastic is eliminated. Hooray! This process will soon be applied to the 5L bottles too. For more details see here.

I should flag that Faith in Nature offers in-store refills too. To find your nearest UK stockist, click here. If you’re lucky to have a local zero waste store that stocks the laundry liquid then getting it from there would also be a good bet.

So, what is Faith in Nature?

Faith in Nature is no new kid on the block. It’s been around since 1974 and has become a big player in the UK eco-friendly personal care market.

Faith in Nature liquid shampoos, conditioners and body washes (all in recycled and recyclable bottles) are well worth a look if you haven’t yet been won over by solid bar products. It also makes good old fashioned bar soap.

One of Faith in Nature’s key aims is to make products that are accessible and affordable. Because sometimes ethical and sustainable products can be more expensive than basic, mainstream options. 

What’s in the laundry liquid?

Faith in Nature has struck the right balance of creating a laundry liquid with top-notch cleaning performance without including harsh nasties.

The ingredients are 99% natural. As you’d expect the liquid is non-biological, free from parabens, sulphates, preservatives, phosphate and bleaches. It’s also biodegradable, vegan and cruelty-free.

What about the scent?

The rosemary essential oil scent is lovely. It’s subtle. Almost like like a body wash. It lingers on your fabrics faintly but as it’s natural, don’t expect massive bursts of “clean washing” fresh scent.

Instead, you’ll get laundry that’s clean, neutral smelling and toxin-free.

How does it perform?

The cleaning power of the Faith in Nature liquid is impressive. It even tackles muddy dog walking clothes with ease. And all at 30 degrees. Another environmental plus.

For stubborn stains, you can apply directly to the stain, lather it up and leave for 20 – 30 minutes before washing in the machine.

As the laundry liquid is so gentle, it’s perfect for hand washing too.

How long will it last?

As the laundry liquid is super-concentrated, you don’t need to use a lot.

Faith in Nature says 5L does about 150 washes which is around 30ML per wash. The 5L bottle lasts me about three months.

Any downsides?

The only drawback to this laundry liquid is there is just one scent available so if you don’t like the smell of rosemary essential oil, it might not be for you.

But the scent’s so subtle anyway, why not give it a go and see what you think?

If you’re a fan of Faith in Nature’s laundry liquid or any of its other products, I’d love to hear your thoughts and favourites. Please do share in the comments below.

Faith in Nature Super Concentrated Laundry Liquid, 5L, £25.99 and 20L bottle, £80.00. Available directly from Faith in Nature and other retailers including biggreensmile.com

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