Reviewed by Louise Totton
I love my home to be clean and to smell fresh, but I do worry about using harsh chemicals, especially on things that we come into regular contact with. Up until recently, I have mostly bought the big, branded cleaning products assuming they’ll do the job better than anything else but have increasingly noticed that I do suffer from patches of irritated skin and on occasions I have noticed that when I have been getting particularly close to the surface I have been cleaning, my eyes have been watering. I am assuming that this is because of the chemicals contained in some of the products, so have had in mind to try to find some gentler alternatives, although not at the expense of effectiveness. Whilst was thinking about less harsh chemicals, it also occurred to me that there have been more and more stories in the news about the sheer amount of plastic we are throwing away and the environmental impact of this. For the most part, plastic is not biodegradable and just goes to sit in landfill for hundreds of years.
For the last few weeks, I have been working on a spring-cleaning roundup for What’s Good To Do, and was delighted when an email from Bio-D pinged into my inbox, asking me to try out a product range that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for! Bio-D’s motto is that their cleaning products don’t cost the earth – they produce environmentally friendly, Vegan Society accredited cleaning products in recycled and recyclable packaging, made from 100% natural ingredients and all without a premium price tag.
The range is impressive, and includes washing powders, liquid washing detergent, fabric softener, all-purpose cleaners, handwashes, toiler cleaner, washing up liquid and more. The majority of the packaging is made from recycled materials – this in includes both the paper bag that the washing powders are supplied in and the plastic bottles for the liquid products. They are also completely recyclable.
I was sent laundry liquid (£5.65 1l bottle), fabric conditioner (£2.85 1l bottle), washing up liquid (£2.40, 750ml), sanitiser handwash (£4.20, 500ml), toilet cleaner (£2.42, 750ml) and all-purpose sanitiser (£2.45, 500ml). My initial impression, based on looks alone, was that I really like the branding and design of the bottles. They are all a similar beige plastic with the Bio-D logo and details of the product – I thought they have a modern, industrial style and I found it appealing. I’m not a fan of the brightly coloured, gaudy bottles that a lot of cleaning companies use as I think they stand out too much in the bathroom / kitchen. These are quite understated which I much preferred. Of course, it’s all very well having fantastic environmental credentials and aesthetically pleasing packaging but none of that matters at all if the product doesn’t work.
The first product I tried out was the All Purpose Sanitiser. This comes in a 500ml ready to use spray bottle. It claims to kill 99.9% of bacteria and contains orange oil, a natural ingredient which acts as a degreaser. I have to say that I thought it was great, it has a lovely, neutral scent and isn’t remotely overpowering. It just smells clean and not at all chemically, but most importantly it works really well. I have used it in the kitchen on the hob after making a fry-up, as well as on the tiles behind the cooker. It cleans very well, doesn’t smear and really gets rid of grease. I received the normal bottle but it is also available in a refill bottle (without the spray pump) as well as a 5l bulk refill bottle. I really like this aspect of Bio-D products, as it really does allow you to only consume the bare minimum of plastics which is even better for the environment.
I loved the laundry liquid and fabric softener just as much. These are available in a range of fragrances; juniper, lavender and fragrance-free and I was sent the laundry liquid in juniper and the fabric softener in lavender. I think it’s worth noting that despite the brand name being Bio-D, all of their laundry detergents are non-bio. This is important to me as I often react to biological washing powders so do have to be careful which ones I use. I found the scents of these products to be lovely and in common with the whole range not over-powering, just clean. I normally don’t like anything that is lavender scented, but I have to say that because the scent is so subtle, I did really like this one. I do much prefer laundry liquids to tablets and powders as I feel they keep the machine cleaner and don’t clog and these didn’t disappoint. They left no residue and after the wash, I felt my clothes and towels were clean and soft and smelled lovely. I try to wash on a 30-degree wash when I can as it is better for the environment and the liquid coped very well with this and everything was just as clean as it is with my normal brand, but with the added benefit of knowing that I was not damaging the environment in any way. I am confident about the claim of no harsh chemicals because neither me or the kids have had any form of reaction after washing our clothes with Bio-D, which really was the acid test. Just like the All Purpose Sanitiser, the laundry products come in a range of sizes and refill options, should you want to buy in bulk.
I hesitate to pick a favourite product but if I had to, I think it would probably be the next product I tried – the washing up liquid. I was sent the lovely pink grapefruit version, but it is also available fragrance-free and in lavender. The standard bottle size is generous at 750ml and in common with the big branded washing up liquids, a little really does go along way. The liquid produces lots of lovely foamy bubbles and does a cracking job of getting even the greasiest of pans clean and smear free. The bubbles rinse off the washing without leaving a residue and I really loved the scent of this product. I’m confident that the bottle will last for ages, and the bottles are easily refillable, should you want to go down that route; the lid screws off and the bottle has a wide neck allowing you to easily decant more product in.
The Lime and Aloe-vera Sanitising Handwash is a fabulous and fresh-smelling product that is just as effective as you would hope. It is a food-grade standard handwash, killing 99.9% of bacteria but is also completely hypoallergenic. It is also available in a range of scents as well as a fragrance-free version but I just love the one I was sent. It is the only one of the products that I was sent that is significantly more expensive than the product I was already buying (it’s £4.20 for 500ml), but I think it is absolutely worth it for such a great quality product.
The final product that I was sent was the Bio-D toilet cleaner. I’m not entirely sure what I can say about toilet cleaner in a review! It cleaned my toilet just as well as the bleach that I normally buy but without making my eyes water when I’m using it. I liked the fresh lemongrass scent a lot and unusually for a product designed for cleaning toilets, is 100% hypoallergenic.
I think that the Bio-D range is fabulous. Every single one of the products works brilliantly, is ethically produced, environmentally friendly and smells fabulous. The products are gentle on both the skin and the wallet, which is always a massive bonus; it has always seemed before that I have had to pick between ethics, efficacy, affordability and whether they affect my skin. This is no longer a choice that I have to make as Bio-D ticks all of the boxes and I am delighted with the range.
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