Wednesday 2 December 2009

Alma Win - Cleanut Eco-Friendly Liquid Laundry Detergent

Soapnuts. They sound like a great idea. You put a few in a little bag, throw them in with your washing, they replace washing powder and you can use them several times over. So they're better for the planet, totally natural and free from chemicals and work out cheaper than using detergent. I really wanted to try them out, as they sound like such a green option. But then a few friends who had tried them started mentioning the fact that, in the end, your whites start looking a bit grubby, and if you have anything with stubborn stains they won't come out, and you need to add fragrance for your washing to smell nice and clean, and be careful with delicate fabrics or they might get damaged. Hmmm maybe not such a good idea then. I like using green options but only if they work as well as the non-green alternatives I'm used to.

Well, the first thing I noticed about Alma Win's Cleanut Liquid Detergent is that it's 100% natural and is made from soapnuts. So you get all the benefits of using them without the disadvantages. Brilliant ! I dashed straight off upstairs to throw on a load of washing. I had a quick sniff and it smelt of lemons, a bit like the citronella smell of some mosquito repellent. Quite strong but not overpowering.

My one criticism would be that the washing instructions are a bit confusing. I looked on the bottle to find out how much to use and ended up confusing myself ! One measuring cap = 30ml. There's a table showing how much to use depending on how dirty your washing is cross-referenced to the hardness of your water. But we've got a supersized 8kg washing machine so I presumably need more than a normal 5kg machine. In the end, I just lobbed in a capful plus a half capful in the prewash compartment and hoped for the best ! (Looking closer, you're not supposed to put it in the detergent drawer. "Shake the bottle of AlmaWin Cleanut® Liquid Detergent well before use and put required amount directly into the washing machine drum." Oh well, it still worked ! )

It all came out fine - perfectly clean, although I have to admit there was nothing badly stained in there. It didn't smell of much though, and I like my washing to smell nice and fresh when it comes out of the machine, so I've just started a new load with an extra dose of fabric softener. It wasn't until I started writing this review that I saw on the website that it "contains soap-nut extract for superior softening, eliminating the need for fabric softener". Oops. It would have been useful to put that on the bottle.

So, what else does the website tell you that the bottle doesn't ? It's "naturally effective, giving outstanding washing results and great stain removal at all temperatures, even 20°c". Good to know - on the bottle, it says to use between 20-60°. "Makes ironing easier" - I'll have to take their word for that because (shhh) I don't iron anything ! "Fragrances laundry with organic vervain and eucalyptus essential oils" - oops, so much for my nose, I thought it was citrus fruit !

Ethics-wise, they have everything going for them. "Alma Win began life in 1993 manufacturing ecological cleaning and washing products that can be tolerated by the skin and are in harmony with man and nature. Alma Win products have been successfully dermatologically tested by two German Universities - Heidelberg and Witten-Herdecke - and are therefore especially suited to consumers that have allergies or sensitive skin." That's very reassuring for me as I'm using it to wash, amongst other things, baby clothes.

As well as being gentle on the skin, Alma Win products are gentle on the planet. "Our products are certified by ECO Garantie which: causes less damage to aquatic animals and plants, help to reduce water pollution and reduce the amount of packaging. ECO Garantie is the quality organic label for ecological products and you will find the logo on each bottle/packet." They are biodegradable, not tested on animals, suitable for vegans and there is a whole list of chemical nasties that they don't use.

I'll definitely be recommending it to my friends who tried and gave up on using soapnuts in their washing machines !

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : 750ml £5.95

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