Ecover have launched a new range of cleaners. In fact, they seem to make a cleaning product for every occasion these days – need your kettle descaling? Ecover can do it. Need a stain remover? Ecover has one. Anyway they have developed ‘Eco-Surfactants’ to go in the range of cleaners.
To give you a bit of marketing-speak background about this, I’ll quote from Ecover’s press release:
“Surfactants, the active ingredient in the majority of household cleaners, from washing up liquid to stain removers, are produced largely from petrochemical substances using high temperature and pressure processes. These petrochemicals do not biodegrade completely and leave behind metabolites. Ecover has always replaced these petrochemical ingredients with plant-based alternatives, but until now have had to utilise the same ingredient manufacturing processes.
“Now all this can change. Ecover’s scientists have invented an innovative new process using a special ‘bioreactor’, a machine which provides the perfect breeding ground for yeast cells. This in turn enables them to harness yeast’s unique ability to combine water-soluble sugars and non water-soluble oils to produce what Ecover has termed an ‘Eco-Surfactant’. This is the first time that a surfactant has been produced using an entirely biochemical, low energy process on this kind of scale, and testing has proved that it provides supreme cleaning as powerful as the petrochemical market leaders as well as complete biodegradability and low toxicity.
“Ecover’s unique Eco-Surfactant is produced from a ‘sophorolipid’. Sophorolipids are completely natural compounds created through the action of micro-organisms such as yeast, and they have a number of unique and beneficial characteristics. Not only do sophorolipids work best at neutral pH levels which are kinder to the skin, they are also kinder to the environment.”
And it goes on and on. But for the reviews we’re more interested in how do they work. And when Ecover sent me the Multi Surface Spray Cleaner (the one with the green top), they sent me a mainstream, ‘traditional’ brand, Flash One for All, to compare it against. So it was cleaning time for me.
The Flash works as you would expect a long-established product to work – perfectly well. It has a nice smell of lemons, not as fake as I would have thought and very similar to Ecover products which have a lemon scent. This version of Ecover’s spray cleaner doesn’t have the lemon scent and has a very neutral odour.
The company claim this version is twice as powerful as its previous spray cleaner and although I didn’t really notice that (not sure it’s possible to test in a domestic setting), it worked very well and just as well as the Flash. To be honest on the surfaces I was cleaning there was no difference at all. I can’t claim either was better or was worse.
Which is sort of the point. It would be very hard for a natural cleaner, something which you don’t need to wear gloves for or worry about food around, to be better than one with a lot of chemicals in. So I’m very impressed with it.
Ecover Multi Surface Spray Cleaner costs around £2.84 in supermarkets and is available online from places like Nigel’s Eco Store.