Household Cleaning Eco Swaps – Low Cost & Easily Accessible – A Review Of Ecover Washing Up Liquid & Toilet Cleaner

Is it really possible to get excited about washing up liquid and loo cleaner? Yes, for me it is. After buying both of these I was significantly more excited than usual about cleaning.

If you’re new here I’ve been making a real effort in the last year to clean up my act to help the planet without spending a fortune. When something runs out I do my best to find a more environmentally friendly alternative that is either the same cost as the product I was buying previously or even cheaper. Believe it or not this is possible. So far swaps have largely focused on my beauty routine including saying goodbye to bottled hand soap and shower gel in favour of paper wrapped bars as one example of many.

Now products are finally starting to run out in my kitchen and around the house so some more swaps have been made. It’s almost embarrassing how excited I get about an affordable swap that is really easy to come by and that’s how I feel about discovering these products from Ecover.

It’s bugged me for a while that most washing up liquids have written on the back “harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects” and we are literally washing this down the drain into the water systems. It blows my mind how companies can sell products like this. Cheap supermarket own brand dish soap never lasts five minutes and the flashier stuff like Fairy more often than not irritates my skin which added another layer of excited when I found Ecover as it is labelled as suitable for sensitive skin. I hoped this would mean no more irritated skin from doing the dishes that instantly leaves me reaching for soothing hand cream or questioning why I don’t own some glamourous rubber gloves.

I purchased a 950ml bottle on Tesco Clubcard Price for £2. In the store their 900ml bottles of Fairy, so less product, were the same price so this does work out cheaper than buying a brand with labels declaring it dangerous to sea life. But it gets so much better from there. Ecover’s washing up liquid comes in a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle which is fully recyclable and it is made in a zero waste factory. On the back of the product there are details for how to find your local refill station. These are spread around the UK so you can take the empty bottle to a store to have it filled up again meaning no further plastic bottle purchases are required. I don’t live in a big city at all, I looked up my local area for refill locations and was thrilled to find 3 within 7 miles. One of which is on a road I travel down daily on the route to and from work. The ingredients in the product are also plant based and biodegradable.

The product smells amazing, I find the bottle aesthetically pleasing and all told I’m really chuffed with this. To test it out I intentionally left my washing up overnight rather than cleaning it after cooking and had no difficulties removing things like dried on pasta sauce, almond butter or ice cream from my pans and dishes.

When purchasing the washing up liquid I was also in the market for some loo cleaner. Ecover’s 750ml bottle with an RRP of £1.75 was £1 Clubcard price. I’ve used the supermarket own brand one which costs less than 50p and found it rather useless staining my toilet blue and not really doing much besides. The Clubcard price deal placed this at the same price point as Duck & Harpic products but of course Ecover has the upper hand by not including any nasty ingredients which are detrimental to the environment. The only thing which disappointed me with this was that the bottle is made only from 50% recycled plastic unlike the washing up liquid, but given that this formula is also made with biodegradable ingredients it makes me feel like I’m doing better than not trying at all.

As the toilet cleaner claimed to remove limescale I popped the plug in my bathtub, squeezed a little of this on the offending stain that refused to budge with 4 other cleaning products and left for the instructed 10 mins. I returned to the bathroom smelling lovely and not eye watering like bleach. A quick wipe and the whole area was sparkling like new. I even sent a photo of the bottle to a couple of friends I was that impressed which brought to mind the online memes about how you know you’re an adult when you get excited about buying things like a vacuum cleaner.

The Final Word

Thanks to offers these cost me the same as other branded equivalents which seem to have no eco considerations. I appreciate that own brand options are cheaper but given how long an almost 1L bottle of washing up liquid will last me, and how much better this is for the planet than previous things I bought, I’m more than happy with this switch. I can’t wait to investigate refilling the bottle! I’m aware that solid bars of washing up liquid exist which eliminates the need for any plastic bottles but what really appeals to me about these Ecover products is how easily accessible they are as I could pick them up on my weekly shop without having to think in advance about ordering something online or venturing to a specialist store. I really hope that offers like this will encourage more people to make the swaps whilst buying their groceries. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more supermarket available eco conscious cleaning product swaps as my current products empty.

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Monthly Round Up – The Best Ways I Made Money, Saved Money & Bargain Finds In August

Well, we’re officially over halfway through the year. How this has happened baffles me. Whilst I had hoped to have a quieter month this month to try and shift some bits on eBay or Marketplace the reality is I’ve been preoccupied with enjoying my summer and remembering a little what real life was like pre the dread C-word in a way that I’ve felt safe.

I made a whopping £0 selling my unwanted items in August but I did score some great, necessary bargains that still make this post worth writing in my opinion.

Bargain Finds

I officially have an addiction to Facebook Marketplace and I’m totally ok with this as it has been saving me a fortune. This month I picked up 3 items of free furniture and in August I found a wonderful statement floor lamp. I was initially loosely hunting for a different style one before coming across this human sized Pixar lamp in a pale green blue colour. It’s magnificent. It was listed as “like new” and I can’t see a single mark on it.

I was chuffed to get it, knowing it was a bargain but I only got more smug from there. I looked the exact one I had up to discover it cost over £80 from the Range. Days later I saw a virtually identical shaped and sized lamp to mine retailing for over £200.

Mine cost me £20.

This month I resisted the lure of the Boots clearance section with strong willed determination to work through my accidentally hoarded stash of beauty products. I’ll no doubt be visiting there next month as I’m one of those people who starts their festive shopping very early to avoid stress and help save me some cash.

Saved Money

This month I began venturing to eat out in restaurants again after what feels like the longest time. Below are some of the ways I saved money whilst having a much needed night off cooking.

Tesco Clubcard Vouchers – These were converted to cover the bill for Pizza Express minus drinks and as I don’t drink this wasn’t costly. I also visited a Chef & Brewer chain where I enjoyed an entirely guilt free steak and chips as I had Tesco vouchers to cover the cost of my main meal. Without these I highly likely wouldn’t have splashed out so much so this felt like a real treat.

Remembering Money Saving Expert’s Nandos Hacks – yes, there are such things. I learnt ages ago that ordering 1 large portion of fries was cheaper than the price of 2 regular sides and it was rumoured you got more chips. So I decided to test this out with a friend and we both agreed we had more food for less cost. We also opted for the refillable zero drinks as these dodged the sugar tax cost and saved us a few extra pennies. I’m well aware we could have been even cheaper by only having tap water but as this was my first Nandos trip in over 18 months I fully intended to enjoy the whole experience and the little savings all add up.

August ’21 – A Round Up Of All The Samples & Free Items I Got This Month & How I Got Them

Last month I optimistically thought August would be a calmer, quieter month for me but it has been far from peaceful in all the best ways. I’ve simply not been on my phone as much to register for sampling opportunities but in true frugal fashion I’ve done very well with saving on any shopping trips I have been on such as picking up free food whilst doing the grocery run. Without further ado below is every thing I picked up at zero cost this month.

Beauty

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream – I’ve been curious about this cult favourite for some time now so was pleased to be able to get hold of a sample of this to try out. I was able to get this via filling out a sponsored social media advert.

Carolina Herrera Liquid Lipstick – I managed to get this after filling in a sponsored advert on Pinterest. It took nearly 2 months to arrive but was definitely worth the wait as the pink toned red is such a beautiful colour. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a lipstick and have quite the collection of glorious minis like this.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair – I got 2 sachets of this from a sponsored social media advert. I’ll be saving these up, along with other high end beauty samples, to make a gift for a relative as they love this product and I find it a bit underwhelming.

I’m sorry to say beyond this I totally lost track of any postal freebie arrivals and didn’t manage to pick any up in stores!

Food / Drink

3 x Greggs breakfast rolls – one a week via O2 Priority Moments. I generally tend to pop into town to run errands early in the morning on a Saturday and add this to my list as it’s a completely free treat to start the weekend.

Iced latte from Cafe Nero – again free via O2 Priority Moments on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. I’m slightly disappointed I only managed to grab one of these but did nail how to make a wonderful coconut milk iced latte at home with Aldi’s 69p long life milk so I’m not too upset by this!

Peanut cereal bar from Holland and Barrett – via an offer on Shopmium. Whilst I don’t like peanuts I popped to the shop to browse clearance items and decided to grab this whilst there. I often do this and pass them onto friends or donate to food banks as it’s a totally free way to do a good deed.

Nucao Original Sea Salt chocolate bar – Green Jinn offered £1.15 cashback. I bought the bar on clearance for £1.14 on a whim and was granted the cashback so technically made 1p profit. These bars are very densely nutty.

Sproud Pea Milk – from Waitrose via an offer on Green Jinn. This is long life so I grabbed one to pop in the cupboard. I do this whenever I see long life plant based milks for free on cashback apps as it helps me to save a fortune in dairy free milks.

Mighty banana vegan milkshake – again via an offer on Green Jinn. I find this by far the best cashback app for saving money on dairy free or vegan items.

Meal in Pizza Express – by paying with Tesco Clubcard vouchers

Home

3 x Items Of Furniture – I got all of these free after spotting a listing on Facebook Marketplace. The previous owner was having a house clearance and just wanted the items gone to save them having to pay for a service to take it all away. I’m a huge fan of the mid century style and had actually been looking for one of these exact units from the start of the year so I am absolutely thrilled with this find.

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Monthly Round Up – The Best Ways I Made Money, Saved Money & Bargain Finds In July

July was an incredibly busy month for me meaning I definitely didn’t put any effort into money making this month. I’m hoping when things calm down over August to get back on the eBay train selling clothes I no longer wear and more. In terms of bargains, I’m mildly ashamed to say I succumbed to the lures of the Boots Clearance section but as I paid with my Advantage Card points I think I can be forgiven. I’m banning myself from Boots for August!

Made Money

I sold an unwanted household item for £15 on Facebook Marketplace which was a pleasant surprise as I forgot I’d listed the item a month previously. During the last week of July I received an offer on eBay for an item of clothing I’d borderline given up trying to shift. I ended up making around £7 profit and considering it only cost me £10 in the first place from an ex-high-street clothing market in London I was pleased with that.

I’ve unfortunately been so busy this month that I’ve not had a chance to properly list more clothes on eBay etc but it will be top of my priority list in August.

Bargain Finds

I picked up an Indeed Labs Watermelon Melting Cleansing Balm which still retails for £24.99 on Superdrug and Look Fantastic’s websites for £2.70 in Boots clearance section. It was marked with a £3 sticker and I then got a further 30p off thanks to student discount. I paid with my Boots points so it didn’t cost me anything. This can be used to remove make up and my current make up remover is running out so that helped me to justify this!

I also picked up a Lee Stafford Heat Protection leave in hydrating cream for £1.80 also. I try to look after my hair with low cost products to save me having to pay for hair cuts quite so often so was pleased to grab this as my current one is 2/3rds empty. Once again I paid with Boots points so there was zero spend involved.

In Wilko I picked up this adorable Chinese Money Plant for £1.50 instead of £3 as it looked in need of some care. I’ve wanted one of these plants for a while but been unable to spot one in stores for under £8 so am really happy with this.

Food Savings

Clearance Food – the main element of almost every main meal I ate this month was from the clearance section of Tesco. I managed to time my supermarket arrivals really well to stock up the freezer with reduced fish and more. I’ve been hunting for nearly a year since I gave up dairy for clearance vegan cake and finally hit the jackpot this month. I managed to get a BOSH chocolate cake reduced. As it didn’t say “not suitable for home freezing” I chopped it up and froze 3/4s of the cake which was then defrosted on a slice by slice basis when I fancied a treat.

Lots Of Free Vegan Food – via Green Jinn. I saved £8 on 4 cartons of long life Mighty Pea milk, £4.20 on two large tubs of Alpro Greek Style yoghurt and £1.60 on a vegan chocolate milkshake. I also managed to score 2 vegan probiotic drinks for nothing saving £2.40. Green Jinn is by far the best app for dairy free and has saved me so much money. I haven’t had to buy dairy free milk in over 5 weeks now because I’ve been able to grab these almost weekly. They’re long life and retail at £2 a carton usually so this has been a great saving for me on an essential item. I now have 8 cartons stocked up in the cupboard which are in date through until June next year which is brilliant.

Lunch Box Additions – via Checkout Smart and Tesco Clubcard I managed to get two boxes of 100g pea stick snacks for a total spend of 20p for the two. Green Jinn had an offer for 45p off own brand strawberries which I managed to use also. Via Shopmium I got a free 500ml Robinsons drink also which made a nice treat as this isn’t something I would normally buy.

Cheap Treats – Via Shopmium I scored a £5 tub of vegan ice cream for £3, I’d usually spend about £2.50 on occasion for a treat so decided to go for this as I’d never buy it full price. I also discovered Asda is incredibly reasonable for dairy free desserts with a pack of 2 chocolate mousses or tiramisu retailing for £1. Tesco’s equivalent in virtually the exact same packaging is £1.80. I can confirm I tried both and they were amazing.

Home Bargains Dairy Free Snacks – Home Bargains is the best for reasonably priced, relatively healthy dairy free snacks. They have dupes of Nak’d bars which are 99p for a box of 3 and only made with 100% natural ingredients. I’ve tried both the cocoa orange and blueberry flavours before and they’re fantastic. I also got 2 boxes of Graze Superfood Oat snacks for £1.49 a box instead of £2.50. Whilst there I discovered that the lemon and blueberry flavour which previously contained milk are now vegan so I was over the moon. I find these sorts of snacks brilliant for on the move or when I’m craving something sweet but avoiding chocolate etc.

Free Box Of Celebrations – via Shopmium as July was my birthday month. Whilst I don’t really eat dairy I decided to claim these as I could always gift them on to someone else. I was offered £3 cashback from Shopmium, they were on Tesco Clubcard price for £2 so I ended up making £1 profit on this.

For all the other amazing freebies I got during my birthday month stay tuned for a post scheduled very soon!

Saved Money

Thanks to the mostly glorious UK weather I did a lot more walking to get from A to B which resulted in free exercise and travel. This month was so hectic that I ate out only once and shared lunch with a friend outside in the sunshine at an independent cafe which was lovely.

I only visited the Boots clearance section once so I feel that needs to be noted as a way I saved money!

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Low Cost & Easily Accessible Eco Friendly Beauty Swaps That I Plan To Make

In the last few months I’ve been trying really hard to clean up my beauty act. I’ve swapped to zero waste razors and deodorant, given up plastic bottled soaps and gels for paper wrapped bars and tried to prioritise brands with better eco credentials. I know I still have a long way to go. The only reason these swaps are in the pipeline and haven’t already happened is because I have a stash of beauty products or essentials to work my way through. As someone who likes to make the most of their money I’ll often stock up on items I trust or rely on in advance of needing them to ensure I’m not caught out having to pay full price which means I’ve accumulated quite the stash.

Bar Soap Facial Cleanser

I’m aware that last year I mentioned wanting to try Carbon Theory’s bar cleanser but have found such conflicting advice online that I was put off from this. Reviews I read said the formula could be quite drying and as I use prescription acne treatment or ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide, AHAs, BHAs which can be drying I now use and need a more hydrating cleanser. I’ve seen that Cerave, one of my favourite brands for cleansers, released their famous formulas in bar form with cardboard packaging. So far I’ve yet to see this on sale in the UK in stores but have seen it on Amazon and as I love the original bottled formulas I’ve a lot more confidence that my skin will get on well with this. I think Cerave must be sick of me and my enthusiasm for this product on Instagram as I keep trying to find out when I might be able to buy this in UK stores!

Via Instagram SebaMed UK’s cleansing bar came onto my radar. It too comes in cardboard packaging, has a ph of 5.5 and is designed for sensitive acne prone skin meaning it is gentle and non stripping.

Once my stash of bottled cleansers has been worked through I’ll be transitioning over to one of these alternatives. Interestingly I recently saw online that Nivea have released bar facial cleansers and I’m aware The Body Shop also have a variety. I’m just incredibly fussy as my skin is very acne prone but if yours is less temperamental than mine and your face is less likely to break out faster than you can say “spots” then this is becoming a really easy swap to make.

Bar Shampoo or Refillable Shampoo

I am thrilled that The Body Shop now have refill stations in their stores up and down the country. I didn’t expect my smaller local stores to have this option but both do which made me very happy. As they’re little stores they only have 6 options but this includes 1 hand soap, 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner and 3 shower gels. The shampoo in my local store would be my one of choice out of all their options which was a very happy discovery.

I’m torn between trying the refillable shampoo and Garnier’s new Ultimate Blends bars. I’ve seen these several times in Boots on half price offers making them £3.99 instead of £7 which sounds like a great affordable swap option to me. As they’re stocked in Boots I can see myself using my Advantage Card points to give this a go without spending a penny. I think I’ll try one of their bars first and if I don’t get on with the shampoo bar experience then I’ll go for The Body Shop refillable option as a back up.

I’ve got quite a collection of shampoo bottles that I’ve accumulated from clearance deals thinking these were too good to pass up at the time. I’ll move towards bars once I’ve emptied the bottles I have. I know so many people rave about Lush but their expensive prices put me off slightly when I’ve no idea how I’ll get on with shampoo bars hence waiting it out this long to make an eco switch.

Reusable Cotton Pads

I’ve been incredibly wary of these given that my skin is really acne prone. I didn’t want to potentially waste my money on these. Since delving into using an oil cleanser I’ve been using a wash cloth to remove this and as long as I chuck it in the wash once or twice a week I’ve not had any issues. This has given me the confidence to venture into trying reusable cotton pads. I’d only really be using these for exfoliants and don’t tend to use that many cotton ads as it is hence not making this switch sooner.

One of my wonderful followers and “insta-pals” as she likes to call us, The Acne Pharmacist, kindly sent me a surprise pack of 3 reusable pads recently so I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to try these out.

Plastic Bottle Free Make Up Remover

I’ve been a huge fan of the Garnier Micellar Water since discovering it a few years ago. It’s my go to for removing eye make up as it is cheap, cheerful, highly effective and doesn’t break me out. However, given that I really want to try and make my beauty routines more eco friendly I’m intending to try The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Butter instead as this comes in an aluminium tin. Their mini retails for £5 and as I’m a loyalty card holder I received a £5 voucher for my birthday month so I was able to pick this up at no cost. All that’s required is a wash cloth which is far better than plastic bottles and disposable cotton pads so I’m really hoping my skin gets on well with this.

More Eco Friendly Body Lotion

I’m aware The Body Shop recently redesigned their packaging for body butters to include an aluminium lid to make them more eco friendly. I’m torn between purchasing this which I’ve used before and enjoy or branching out to try products from Lush. I’m equally open minded about using a moisturising product in a cardboard tube or similar so intend to do my research for when the products I have run out.

I’m open to low cost suggestions of ways I can continue to clean up my beauty routine.

Comments Welcome