Long regarded as the leaders in ethical laundry detergents, Ecover have now launched a new range called Zero. It claims to be good for not only the environment but your skin too. But what did our readers think?
We put the Ecover Zero range through independent trials. Four of our readers, all with sensitive skin issues to contend with, tried the product for two weeks. This is what they thought.
Sophie Brace suffers from sensitive skin. But as well as wanting a product that can be kind to her, she wants it to be tough on dirt too.
Sophie said: “With two boys and a husband who are involved in a lot of sport these products were going to be given a real test. They had to contend with cricket and rugby kits and on the whole most of the mud and grass stains were removed. Compared with other brands of other washing liquids it was as good if not better and the fabric conditioner left all the clothes feeling super soft.
“Although the vile plastiky smell that greeted us when we opened the bottle was off-putting, once washed our laundry had a lovely smell. Very fresh and outdoorsy. As well as the lovely smell, once the clothes had dried they were much softer than the usual products we use.
“Not only did these products leave our clothes lovely and clean with a fresh smell but also had the great benefit of not irritating our skin. We have seen an improvement in my sensitive skin since using the Ecover Zero and we will not be going back to the products we used before. I can definitely say we are Ecover Zero converts.”
Ruth Wilkinson wanted a product that was good for the environment and kind on her toddler’s skin.
Ruth said: “As a mum with a 21 month old dirt magnet, laundry is a daily task. With the sheer volume of laundry I’m getting through, I’m aware that while our clothes are clean, our environmental conscience isn’t.
“I found Ecover Zero scored 100% for cleaning. From mixed lightly soiled family loads to single heavily soiled items (food, grass stains and mud), all washed at 30 degrees, it was faultless. The laundry feels soft straight from the drum and retains its softness when dried (both on the line and with a dehumidifier). It has a fresh and soapy scent, which is far more natural and attractive than the usual perfumes. Whites came out as white as normal too.
“My toddler’s skin is fairly sensitive and he is prone to dry patches. Although he had no dry skin patches as a result of the Ecover, I did notice the appearance of a dimpled rash, especially on his arms and legs. This may have been coincidental and the result of environmental irritants, and the Allergy Uk approval on the Ecover bottles gave some reassurances.
“For clean laundry at low cost to the environment, Ecover Zero is perfect. The price may well deter all but hardened green parents from making the switch, due to the volume of use. But it’s an effective alternative and smells and feels a lot nicer too.”
Emily Perowne was already a fan of Ecover, but her sister has sensitive skin and was wedded to the product she’d been using for over 20 years. Could she convince her to convert?
Emily said: “I have recently moved back to my parent’s house where they have been using Fairy laundry detergent and fabric softener for twenty years. My younger sister has sensitive skin that can easily be brought out in a rash by certain products and my Mum was resolute about the fact that Fairy is not only the best for her skin, but for the whole family’s needs. I was hoping to disprove this with a solution that would be beneficial not only to us but the environment as well.
“I used both of the products for numerous loads of washing and made sure to include some of every family member’s clothes. My Father is a farmer and I even decided to test the products on his extremely dirty work clothes, as well as the dirty tea towels from the café where I’m working. I was not surprised by the fact that the products worked very well and gave good cleaning results. There were the occasional stains such as tomato sauce, which I had to pre-treat before washing a second time as they didn’t completely wash out, but the same would have been said for any brand of detergent.
“The reason I love Ecover is not just because their products work, but because I don’t feel guilty about washing them down the drain afterwards. My only reservation with these products is that they’re fragrance-free. It sounds ridiculous, but I found that although my clothes seemed perfectly clean, I almost didn’t believe they were as they didn’t smell clean. This was especially the case with my Dad’s work clothes, as they would still smell of grease, oil and mud after washing.
“I am going to continue to use Ecover products, but I think I will stick to the scented ones! As for my sister, she didn’t get a rash, and I hope I’ve converted my parents too!”
As well as having sensitive skin, Rachel Owen describes herself as having “borderline hygiene-OCD”. She thought anything that could satisfy both would be pretty clever.
Rachel said: “I started with bedding, 100% white cotton at 40 degrees using a shortened eco-friendly rinse cycle. The real test for me would be my pillowcases because my skin’s so sensitive, I can barely use face-creams and make-up. The wash came out white and soft and after sleeping, didn’t irritate my skin. There was a tea spill, about 50p size which didn’t wash out, but I would usually pre-treat.
“Next-up my Liverpool Rollerbirds skating kit; hot pants and the like. We train indoors so there’s no mud and a 15 mins ‘sports wash’ as soon as I get home is fine for mixed man-made fabrics. The wash smelled fresh while not perfumed perfumed.
“Washed my safety-pads inside pillowcases on the cold setting with least agitation and no spin. They don’t get dirty as such and can’t be washed too often as they’ll lose their rigidity, but they need a freshen as we ‘pay in sweat’ like in ‘Fame’. Again good results.
I sell vintage dresses, so I held my breath and hand-washed one from the 50s – a silky confection with a bit of froth underneath. It was fine. Really gentle. The dyes were different back then so I didn’t use conditioner. No dye ran and the colours were really vibrant.
I’d recommend to anyone with sensitive skin but Ecover could do with putting info on the bottles about suitability for different fabrics.