Saturday 12 June 2010

Ecover Ecological Bathroom Cleaner & Limescale Remover

You can't have your cake and eat it, as the saying goes, but when it comes to keeping my house clean, that's exactly what I want. I want products that really work and are tough on grime but that are also kind to the environment and won't put my kids in constant contact with harmful chemicals. The two big brands that I keep coming back to for eco-friendly but effective cleaning products are method and Ecover. They both really deliver on efficiency and green ethics and I have yet to be disappointed.

Having already reviewed Ecover's laundry liquids and power cleaner, both of which scored a well-deserved 5/5, the lovely people at Ecover asked me if there was any other specific product from their ranges that I'd like to test. My reply was, if you think you're hard enough, how about trying to get my grimy bathroom clean ?! Despite my best efforts and various harsh and decidedly ungreen cleaning products, my sink still looks constantly grubby because of (I think) ingrained limescale. We all know the ring around the bath and the ring around the toilet rim, but this is the first time I've seen a ring around the sink in the bathroom ! Well, their response was : Bring it on ! They sent me a bottle each of their Bathroom Cleaner and Limescale Remover.

I'd just like to stress again, before I start, that this is a slightly unfair test in that no other products I've tried, even those without any green credentials, have managed to tackle the problem, so I wasn't really expecting Ecover to succeed either, despite their "naturally powerful" claims.

I decided to start off with the general Bathroom Cleaner. I sprayed some directly on to the sink then had a wipe around with a damp cloth. It cut instantly through general grime and soap scum, leaving me with a relatively clean sink and a lovely fresh-smelling bathroom. The bottle states that it has a "fresh ocean fragrance" and the smell reminded me (in a good way !) of toilet cleaner, so it smelt clean (even if I know that's just psychological). When you have kids in the house, you spend a lot of your time cleaning up (or at least trying to !) random unidentifiable stains and messes. For the past month or so, there have been a few pale blue splotches on the bathroom sink. I can only assume they are either ink stains from Sophie washing her hands after an accident with her new inkpen from school or Juliette doing something that seems totally sensible and normal to a 5-year-old like washing felt tip pens in the sink ! But whatever they are, nothing has been able to shift them. Well, I had a tentative squirt and rub with the Ecover Bathroom Cleaner and was amazed to see that the smallest stains disappeared -blimey ! Despite an extra squirt and some intensified elbow grease, the most stubborn of the blue stains and the "ring around the sink" still wouldn't shift though.

Time to drag out the secret weapon - the Limescale Remover ! After a good rinse to get rid of the bathroom cleaner - I know Ecover use plant and mineral ingredients as opposed to harsh, toxic chemicals but I still didn't want to push my luck by wilfully mixing products - I had a spray around with the limescale remover. I decided to have a look at the instructions to see if I should leave it to do its magic for a while before wiping it off (answer yes, leave it for a few minutes, depending on limescale build-up) and had a moment of panic because it says not to use it on enamel, marble and natural stones, brassware, gold, silver, household appliances, damaged or hot surfaces. Hold on, ENAMEL ? Aren't sinks made of enamel ?! Then my eyes settled on the "Powerful descaler for bath and shower areas, tiles, taps and basins", so I assume it's designed for the job.

To be on the safe side, I decided to wipe it straight off. The greyish grime on the sink always drives me mad because it looks like filth even if I know it's limescale and I always have the feeling that you can't get clean washing in a sink that looks dirty, so I was overjoyed to see the deposits on the front edge of the sink disappearing before my eyes. The next thing I noticed was, whatever the blue stains were, they were no more ! Yay ! I won't lie and say that it removed 100% of the limescale because it didn't, but it definitely started tackling the problem so I'm hopeful that with repeated use, it will eventually get rid of most of it.

Both products are really easy to use, coming in a spray bottle that directs the product where you need it without dripping everywhere. As with all Ecover products, both the Bathroom Cleaner and the Limescale Remover use plant ingredients, promise fast and complete biodegradability and cause minimum impact on aquatic life. Contrary to the Bathroom Cleaner, the Limescale Remover does carry a warning label as an irritant, and warns that if swallowed, you should seek medical advice immediately and show the packaging. It can also be irritating to eyes, respiratory system and skin, but I didn't have any reactions to either product, despite holding the cloth in my hand without wearing rubber gloves.

I am therefore very impressed. Even if the products didn't get me a 100% sparkling clean bathroom, they did give me a better result than many of the harsher, less environmentally-friendly options that I have tried recently.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : Limescale Remover £3.51 (500ml), Bathroom Cleaner £2.34 (500ml)

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