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Fairy’s no longer the Queen of washing-up liquids

Different washing-up liquids

It’s dominated our tests for 20 years, but now the unthinkable has happened. Fairy’s place as the top washing-up liquid has been usurped – by a much younger and cheaper model. Is it time to clean out the Fairy?

We were as surprised as anyone by these results. Fairy’s been at the top our washing-up liquid tests for so long that it seemed like it would never be knocked off. Just last year, it scored 90%, while the next-best liquid on test got 69%.

But products change formulas all the time, which is why we keep testing the likes of washing-up liquid every year. This year’s test showed that Aldi’s Magnum Premium Original and Fairy Original were equally good at removing fat, but the foam bubbles in Aldi’s liquid lasted longer.

This is important because when the foam disappears, it acts as a visual cue for people to add another squirt of liquid, even if it’s still working.

The price isn’t right

Aldi’s improved performance is down to them adding more active ingredients to the liquid, but it’s still cheap at 59p for a 500ml bottle.

In contrast, Fairy has been systematically reducing the size of its bottle over the last two years, from 500ml to 450ml and now 433ml. But has it reduced its price? No.

Fairy told us that changes in the formula have made a more concentrated liquid, allowing them to reduce the bottle’s volume, but it seems like a sneaky way of raising prices to me.

And it’s not just Aldi’s washing-up liquid that impressed us recently – Aldi Del Rivo orange juice with bits was also awarded a Best Buy in our orange juice test.

Have you used Aldi Magnum washing-up liquid? If not, will you give it a try? Or will you be sticking with Fairy?

spagettibob says:
30 August 2011

I am so glad to hear that there is a recommended alternative to Fairy washing up liquid! I have been allergic to it forever, as has my mother. I wonder whether anyone else has had the same problem?

Washing-up liquids contain detergents that remove the protective oils from skin in the same way that they remove oil and grease from crockery and cutlery. At best they will dry the skin and some people suffer more serious problems. This might not That’s not really an allergic reaction, though damaged skin will become more sensitive to the effect of detergents. It may not depend much on brand. Allergies may be caused by other components of washing-up liquids and these will depend on brand.

It is worth washing your hands thoroughly after using washing-up liquid. Rubber gloves are a great help but wash and dry the insides in case soapy water has entered.

There are products that claim to be kinder to skin, but they will still remove natural oils. They may also be less effective at cleaning.

Washing up liquid is something I don’t like to scimp on because cheaper usually means poorer quality which in turns means I use more, so in the long run it’s not cost effective, but I will be trying the Aldi version out now.

Yes, i have tried Aldi,s washing up liquid and its Brilliant !! i bought 2 bottles 2wks ago and just gone into the 2nd btle yesterday, i cant believe it as normaly i would of used at least one btle a week ! I have told all relatives and friends to buy it. Great value for money, Well Done ALDI !!!

Doogy says:
10 October 2011

Viv, are you washing 10k+ plates per week? cause if not you might want to use far less liquid.

Um, yes two extremes here; 1 person who gets a decade or two out of a bottle and another who sounds like they are using a 50/50 mix of water/detergent! Perhaps we need a public education campaign to educate people on dosage.

In general the advice given in the original article is correct- the suds are there to indicate whether there is enough detergent left to bind with the detergent. When the suds start to be replaced with clear water, it’s time to add more detergent.

.. detergent left to bind with fat molecules that should read!

We use a reasonably good quality (M&S) push-down soap dispenser to dispense the minimum amount of soap required for any job. The dispenser succumbed to corrosion after about 6 months of use with Aldi’s Magnum. The new pump is doing fine with Fairy so we’ll probably stick to that. The down-sizing and dilution add to our synicism about manufacturers but most every one is up to something these days.

Some washing up liquids contain salt (sodium chloride), which can improve cleaning performance. Chlorides are very corrosive to the steel springs in dispensers, whether they are cheap or expensive. The MSDS data sheet for Fairy Liquid does not show salt as an ingredient so it is probably OK for use in dispensers.

I’ve found that it helps to dilute Fairy Liquid with a little water when used in a dispenser, to decrease the viscosity.

chris says:
20 November 2011

I buy Waitrose manufactured by McBride in Manchester. Ocado bring it to the door and it works fine for the few pots that dont go in the dishwasher. Anyone who can be bothered to waste time, energy and fuel going all the way to Aldi to buy the very few products they sell that are better than anywhere else must be mad. What would people think if they saw an Aldi product in my kitchen…If it’s not Waitrose its not worth it!

“What would people think if they saw an Aldi product in my kitchen”

I’m going to go on the basis that that’s a wind-up, trying to elicit a response. Because I would really hope that such shallow, small-minded attitudes only really exists amongst ‘upper-class’ twits with more money than intellect, who drive their little Tarquins to hockey practice around the corner in their 4×4’s in case any common people touch them.

That said, I agree that I wouldn’t go out of my way to go to Aldi or any store for one or two specific products; I’ll always just shop at the closest supermarket. Depending where I’ve been living at the time I’ve done the majority of my shopping in Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Lidl and Asda’s.

The only time I lived reasonably close to a Waitrose I only shopped there once; they seemed to have M+S pretensions and prices but without the quality; a forgettable range of products. (in my humble opinion).

Chris says:
21 November 2011

Oops i appear to have offended an Aldi shopper. Food in discounters and larger supermarkets is cheap for a reason. poor service and ill treated suppliers. Ocado is actually well priced without compromising on quality and without feeling awful about the poor underpaid farmers. i also notice that it is almost impossible to find a British piece if chicken in the prepared meals at any other supermarket but waitrose and booths. Even m&s use imported chicken which i think is dreadful in a shop that so many people trust. hope this explains why i avoid discounters.

See the commenting guidelines, Chris: Avoid purposely provoking members of the community into a desired emotional response, or ‘trolling’.

I’m not surprised by the feedback from abmscopes.

Perhaps if you read my post properly chris you’d notice that i’m not an aldi shopper offended or otherwise. There has never been one near where I have lived. Your reasons for shopping where you do are fair enough. What isn’t fair enough is your hilariously poncy and shallow comment about what your friends would think of you if they saw a specific brand in your kitchen! You must be incredibly insecure and a brand slave if these things bother you. Marketing mug might be a suitable label. I buy what’s best for me according to quality, price, availability and yes ethics. But brand name? Hell no! Could.nt give a monkey’s what colour the bottle is or what its ‘brand’ is.

Chris & abmscopes, it’s great that you’re getting into the subject of this discussion, but as Wavechange points out, we do expect a certain amount of courteousness between our commenters. Please both take a moment to read our commenting guidelines before posting again. Many thanks.

Chris says:
21 November 2011

I’ve changed my mind. i love aldi and lidl. They keep the aisles of waitrose clean. haha last comment i promise

Sigh. Back on topic, Fairy’s new platinum (at a premium price) seems to be where the original formulation used to be. It is so concentrated that we could never get the hang of quite how little we needed to use! Consequently we were frequently emptying the washing-up bowl still full of suds; always feels bad that. Wish there was a way to store washing-up water for next time!
Straight after that bottle we’ve bought the original again and you certainly notice the difference- have to keep topping up the water with new squirts…

Thanks for that abmscopes. Fairy’s platinum eh!
We have been using Magnum for several months after seeing it was a Which best buy; but find we need twice as much as the normal Fairy to dissolve grease (and you don’t get squeaky!). It even makes fingers feel greasy. In case anyone asks, yes we do rinse crockery first before the main wash.
We will try the Platinum next.

See the suggestion by Zin Darwi, above. Put your Fairy Liquid in a dispenser and you are likely to use less.

I used to buy Waitrose own brand ‘concentrated’ stuff (indicated as such) as being both
best value for money AND most efficacious but it is no longer offered for sale at my local

Unilever’s Persil is no more….? Remember there was a titanic court case in which they
lost out to Fairy’s maker.

Frengineer says:
12 January 2012

I have just looked at this site because I have recently thought that Fairy Liquid is getting weaker. I Use a push button soap container to do the washing up and seem to be using more and more squirts. I realised tonight that I am refilling the bottle more frequently.

Aldi here I come.

Isabella Caldwell says:
21 January 2012

The white original bottle lasts twice as long as the see through bottles, therefore is thicker and well worth the price, the see through bottles are a RIP OFF

Are you referring to Fairy liquid?

The above is an ambiguous and inappropriate comment (use of words like ‘rip off’ are very subjective and unhelpful).

I don’t see a problem with thinking something is a ripoff Louis, if it lasts half as long as the white original bottle.

That is the opinion of one person, to which she is entitled. It may be that for her one bottle lasts less than the other one, but that has not been tested.

How does she know that it lasts half as long? Has she been using more liquid than before? Where is the data to back up such a claim?

As I said, this is a very subjective comment. She is passing ‘rip off’ as fact, making this worse by using capital letters.

There is a confusion between fact and opinion. What is a rip off for one person may not be for another one.

Hence, I stand by my original opinion (to which I am entitled) that the post is both ambiguous (it is unclear what brand is being referred to), unhelpful and inappropriate.

Jennyren says:
22 January 2012

I too have just noticed the change in Fairy but to my advantage. I could not use Fairy at all as it made my skin crack so badly that it would bleed and it would take weeks for it to heal, this would happen even if I just touched the dish cloth that had been wrung out in the water. I could use Surcare without any problems but it never got the grease off of fry pans etc. I recently accidentally used Fairy without any problems but did notice the change in it – not so harsh so presumably not quite so good but thats fine with me!

lisa says:
26 June 2012

I will not be buying fairy washing up liquid again! it has definately been changed and I get hardly any foam now and it nolonger breaks through the grease. I thought it was me so iIhave checked on line and others seem to be having the same problems – its now nolonger any better than value brands. Bad move whoever decided it was a good idea to change it !

I use both Fairy – when it is on offer and Magnum when it is not. I find both really good, an excellent way to test them is the teaspoon test. Whenever I compare a product to Fairy or Magnum I only use one teaspoon to do my entire wash. If the liquid can’t clean as much with one teaspoon then I don’t buy it again.