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.

Comments Welcome.

Eco Effort Round Up: Recent Recycling Scheme Discoveries, Zero Waste Laundry Product Swaps, Packaging Free Supermarket Options & More.

I’m really trying to do by bit for the planet without hugely increasing my spending and decided to write bi-monthly posts on the recent eco efforts I’ve made. I remember in school many ears ago being really upset by the deforestation of the Amazon and wanting to do something about it so these little swap wins really make me happy as I know I’ve taken small actions rather than doing nothing at all. I’ve had quite a summer clear out and with every eco swap I make the more conscious I am of the rubbish that is still left. I find products designed to help the planet often fascinating such as packaging made from sugar cane, which is sustainable and totally recyclable. Some inventions completely blow my mind, one of which is included in my recent discoveries. I’ve found better ways to “bin” things as well as some low cost swaps that will lessen my impact on the planet. Read on to find out more.

Decluttered Make Up & Recycled The Items

Garnier have partnered with Terracycle to pop cardboard bins across the UK to collect unwanted make up items. I’ve seen a few of these bins in larger supermarkets as well as Boots and Superdrug stores making them very easily accessible which I love. Whilst having a good sort through my make up this month I decided to be brutal on a declutter by being really honest with myself about how long I’d had items, when I’d last used them and if I was likely to again. I popped deposited them in a Garnier bin that I found. To give an idea of how easily I’ve found these I’ve so far come across 3 in my local area in supermarkets or Boots and I don’t live in a big city. I was pleased to see the bins were quite full so people are engaging with the scheme.

This month I discovered that The Body Shop have relaunched it’s recycling programme to help recycle trickier skincare and beauty packaging. They’ll accept items from any brand which I think is fantastic and I’m keeping any awkward to recycle items to one side to deposit in store.

Discovered Packaging-Free Options At Supermarket Counters

I reached out to supermarkets via Twitter and had both Tesco and Sainsburys confirm that they’re happy for customers to bring in their own containers for shop assistants to fill at their counters to avoid the use of plastic bags. I’m so pleased this is an option as although I don’t eat meat that often for convenience I tend to buy cold cooked meat packs weekly. That’s one more plastic-free switch for me!

More recently I’ve made a really effort to cut back on the amount of plastic in my weekly shop. I’ve used my own bags for years but in the last month I’ve made a real point of sticking to packaging free fruit and vegetables. I’m pleased to see more options are becoming available although I’ll forever roll my eyes at why cucumbers need to be shrink wrapped in plastic?! My local Tesco has varieties of potatoes, broccoli, carrots, apples, bananas, citrus fruits etc without packaging so I’m trying to stick with those and shop seasonally as this keeps costs down also.

Ordered More Wild Refill Deodorant Blocks

I placed my first online order for 3 blocks of deodorant from Wild Refill. I used the discount code they gave me for my blog which is NOT affiliate – FSFARD20 to get 20% off. Delivery was free. I’ll admit they are more expensive than the deodorants I used to buy at £1 a pop but these have zero plastic waste, I love what the brand stands for as well as their fundraising efforts and the products are highly effective for me. I’ve not struggled with any skin irritation and much prefer the scents I’ve tried already to any deodorant I’ve used previously so I don’t mind paying for these at all. Quite a lot of eco swaps I’ve made have worked out much cheaper e.g. bar soap over plastic bottled shower gels so for me it all balances out. Given the name of my blog, Forever Saving For A Rainy Day, I think it speaks volumes about this product that I’m willing to pay a bit more for this eco swap.

Discovered More Ways To Recycle Soft Plastics

Since the start of the year I’ve been collecting anything labelled as “recycle with bags at larger stores” and doing exactly that. I was slightly amazed and horrified how quickly these things added up. I didn’t realise until very recently that you could also chuck crisp packets into these collection bins as well as things like clingfilm. Whilst I don’t use clingfilm I am quite partial to crisps so this was a nice discovery to reduce what I send to landfill. I tend to take my items to Tesco as this is most convenient for me but I’m aware the Co Op also offer a similar service.

Bought An Eco Egg For Laundry

After posting that I intended to make this switch quite some time ago my laundry capsules finally dwindled and one of my amazing Instagram followers messaged me to say they’d seen the Eco Eggs on a stunning deal in Home Bargains. I was able to pick up an egg which is suitable for sensitive skin, approved by Allergy UK, fragrance free and capable of doing 720 washes for £4.99 instead of £24.99. 720 washes is due to last 3 years if doing 4-5 loads a week. At most I do 2 so not only if this a magnificent way to save the planet, it’ll also save me a fortune if I get on with this. I genuinely legged it to Home Bargains the morning after I was told about this deal for their opening time I was that excited. The egg itself is made with recycled plastic, the inner packaging is recyclable and the more I read about it the more impressed I was. It’s non toxic so not harmful to aquatic life also. The egg itself is surprisingly light. A housemate of mine had one, I never heard it in the washing machine, she struggled with eczema and this didn’t flare it so I’m almost embarrassingly excited to try this. I’m hoping this is goodbye plastic for my laundry! Needless to say in time a egg review will be coming.

Acnecide, Cerave & La Roche Posay Made The Shortlist – The 3 Best Budget Friendly Cleansers I’ve Ever Used For My Acne Prone Combination Skin

I’ve used a LOT of cleansers since developing adult acne around 6-7 years ago. I went through virtually everything my local Boots and Superdrug stores had to offer like Garnier, Clearasil, Clean And Clear, Simple etc before transitioning to several ranges from The Body Shop. These led me to Clinique’s Anti Blemish Solutions and beyond. I used to think the higher the price tag on a product the better it would be for my skin after nuking my skin barrier with cheap drying formulas that were just too strong for my face. I thought it might be helpful to pop together a list of the best cleansers I’ve tried to date for specific reasons. All of which I’d naturally buy again or have already bought several times over.

Acnecide Gel Wash – £9.99 for 50g – For Tackling Breakouts

I’ve previously used prescription treatments with Benzoyl Peroxide and my skin hated them. They caused my skin to become red, swollen, puffy and very sore but I can use this product with no negative side effects. I’ve only ever bought one bottle of this and I’ll admit it took me a while to work through because it was too much for daily usage for my skin but I can’t deny how effective this is at taking the aggression out of spots. Whenever breaking out I’ve reached for this as the first port of call to calm any painful spots as it does such a good job without ever hurting. It is low cost, reliable and when used sensibly doesn’t cause dryness or irritation. If washed off really thoroughly it is possible to avoid bleaching towels too. My skin is in a position now where I don’t feel the need to rush out and buy another bottle immediately whilst I work through my stash of products but I would happily buy this again in the future if I felt I needed it.

Cerave Cream To Foam Hydrating Cleanser – £12.50 for 236ml – For Non Stripping Cleansing When Using Acne Treating Actives

I tried the original hydrating formula but just preferred the texture of this very lightly foaming product as I’m so used to gel cleansers, this felt like the perfect hybrid. It has never caused irritation even when my skin has been incredibly sensitised from easing in topical acne treatments like retinoids. It’s affordable, easily accessible, doesn’t leave skin feeling overly stripped, tight or dry. It feels soothing and caring whilst leaving my skin feeling clean. I see it as a no nonsense product that works perfectly for me so that I can use other actives to treat my skin like BHA exfoliants etc. I can’t comment on how good it is as a stand alone to treat acne as I’ve always used this in a routine with actives.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser – £ 18.50 for 400ml or £12.50 for 200ml – For Being The Best Gel Cleanser I’ve Tried

I bought the giant bottle of this cleanser whenever it was on offer for the better part of at least 4 years. Prior to this lots of products I used aimed at acne prone skin I found far too harsh and aggressive whilst the gentler formulas did absolutely nothing for my spots. I used this prior to discovering exfoliant toners, retinoids etc. When used morning and day because a little went a long way it would last me 11-12 months making it the most cost effective cleanser I’ve ever used. I’ve even seen the 400ml bottle featured on Boots £10 Tuesday before so at this price it would end up costing less than £1 a month to use. It is gentle, non stripping, non drying and leaves skin feeling clean but not overly squeaky. The only reason I stopped using this was because I was prescribed a topical retinoid and required a hydrating cleanser as a result. I significantly prefer this to the Avene Cleanance gel cleanser and find it more gentle than La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Peeling Gel. Although I haven’t used this now in nearly 2 years it will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first cleanser I ever found that I felt was making a positive difference to my skin without causing any negative side effects that needed balancing out.

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.

Comments Welcome