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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?

anak says:
9 July 2012

I will definitely be changing from Fairy Liquid to another brand as it definitely is not nearly as good as it used to be. I sometimes have to wash things twice because it is not removing the grease well enough. What’s more my hands are breaking out with Dermatitis and I have to wear rubber gloves which I hate.

M Wilkins says:
1 November 2016

I have noticed a decline in performance with fairy luquid. I’m assuming that one of the chemicles has been removed . Due to to damage to the environment or cancer scares. Which has happened to a lot of other products such as paints and weed killers etc.

swim says:
15 August 2012

I am also going to change from Fairy. It doesn’t remove grease even in the hottest of water. The only way I have been successful is to use it neat (on a sponge), rinse off into the washing up bowl, and continue with the rest of the (non greasy) dishes. I also get Dermatitis.

Dean L says:
10 October 2012

I have been using Fairy for quite a few years now and it has only been this last 6 months or so that FFairy has started to give me Dermatitis, My Doctor couldnt work out why my skin on my hands was cracking, I did ask about washing up liquid and he asked what do i use and how long have i used it for and said naaaa it cant be Fairy, so i went to the hospital for tests and they comfirmed it def is the Fairy washing up liquid.
I am guessing that the company that make fairy have put something in it to cause this to my hands.
I have now changed to Aldi Magnum washing up liquid which lasts longer and smells better. I prefer the Bamboo version of Magnum although no complaints for the others i just prefer Bamboo.
I think Something needs to be done regarding the Fairy causing skin issues and maybe the company should look into this (something has def changed at Fairy)

Brig says:
10 April 2014

I have terrible problems caused by fairy washing liquid. My skin cracks and it takes at least a week for them to recover again. I’m going to stop using Fairy.

I absolutely agree. Fairy liquid is not what it used to be. We don’t have Aldi that close but might just find one and go there!! I’d be keen to know a good alternative in other supermarkets.

googles says:
28 January 2013

I absolutely agree with other users of Fairy Liquid in that it is nowhere near as effective as it used to be. I imagine I use about twice as much of the product than before and it is obvious that the manufactures have watered down the formula so we have to buy it more often. I for one will now try other brands such as Aldi’s to see if I can get better value for money.

My partner and were discussing the quality of fairy liquid past and present. The original used to last for ever in the bowl. Now, even after putting a strong squirt in it just dies.
We are convinced it is a poorer product.

I agree that is is not easy for everyone to go to ALDI however when I visit my family there is an ALDI there I just buy 12 bottles and they last me the whole year and at 59p it is very affordable.

nik says:
14 May 2013

hands that do dishes can feel as soft as your face I DONT THINK SO!! when ever i use fairy liquid it ruins my hands i end up with open cuts all over my knuckles ,HOW CAN SOMETHING THATS SO STRONG AT CUTTING THROUGH GREASE BE KIND TO YOUR HANDS ??

I hope that Procter & Gamble do not still use that slogan when advertising Fairy Liquid. I know someone whose mother suffered from industrial dermatitis working at a Procter & Gamble factory, many years ago.

I’ve just looked at the handcare advice, which is in tiny print on the back of Fairy Liquid bottles. It mentions that people with skin problems should take care but not that washing-up liquid can cause these problems.

Nar1 says:
31 October 2014

What a lot of nonsense! People get your facts right, PLEASE!

Fairy does have Methylisothiazolinone added BUT the only way of contracting dermatitis is IF FAIRY actually contained both the above additive AND methylchloroisothiazolinone.

As someone who has combination skin, I have never suffered any adverse reaction with Fairy’s washing up liquid in all the 30 years I have bought it.

If you suffer from any adverse reaction, it may possibly be down to too much time spent washing your bare hands in hot water, or a reaction to the rubber gloves you might wear.

Nar1 – All washing-up liquids contain detergents and detergents are well known to cause dermatitis in some individuals, even though you and I are not affected.

you make an interesting point – but would you please expand on why you think both MI and MCI need to be present to cause an adverse reaction and not just MI on it’s own?

cross chris says:
24 August 2013

I always use tesco own brand. After seeing your review my husband went to Aldi and bought Magnum. I asked him if it was tested on animals, he didn’t know. I don’t think Which ever mention this important fact. I shall continue to use Tesco own brand, very effective, not tested on animals.

Pete Carr says:
27 January 2014

Fairy’s quality has declined together with the price increase. Keeping the price the same whilst making the bottle smaller is sneaky whatever they try and dress it up as. Aldi brand much much better. Won’t be buying fairy again. They are resting on their laurels and will continue to lose customers until they stop trying to con customers.

Keeping the price the same whilst making the bottle smaller is not good for the environment. Better to keep the same size and increase the price.

Other companies engage in this sneaky practice.

If you have a small bottle you are likely to use less. I read this years ago and have tested it using a small bottle of washing up liquid sold as a sample. I use less, and so have others who have tested this approach. Detergents are not good for the environment, so we should use as little as possible.

The best approach is to combine your idea and mine, buying a large bottle and filling a small bottle for day-to-day use.

Annakay says:
27 January 2014

I have been using Aldi’s Magnum for quite some time now and it beats Fairy hands down.

Isaac says:
14 July 2014

I was a fan of the premium washing up liquid from Aldi until they stopped selling the premium and labelled their original as which approved .This Is bad from Aldi as the premium was approved by which and not the original .They have been selling the original as which approved and this is mis leading the public and is in breach.
They have been doing this for a while now and I have noticed they do not have the premium in stock anymore as they could not afford to sell that quality at that price .

Keith says:
14 July 2014

I entirely endorse Isaac’s comments.

In fact I have emailed “Which” about this (in May)and have received a wishy-washy reply.

Is there any chance Isaac, that instead of typing “which” you could type “Which?” — then your posts will make sense when other people read them? Thank you.

very cross chris says:
21 August 2014

Mark, that should be “Which”? not “Which?” if we are going to be pedantic. I understood the posting from Isaac and thought he was making a relevant point However, ‘ Tesco’ own brand washing up liquid is by far the best and judging by Issacs comment’ Aldi’s ‘Magnum’ is not the same as it was when ‘Which’ tested it so an update is needed.

Hi all, let’s try and be polite to one another 🙂

We’ve just performed a new test – here are the latest results: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2014/08/great-value-washing-up-liquid-tops-our-tests-375872/

very cross chris says:
21 August 2014

Grovel, grovel Mark, I am sorry. I had never noticed that the magazine ‘Which’ was actually ‘Which?’. You were right all along and I was just in a bad mood. Still, we have now got an update and I publically apologise to you!!

Which magazine are you talking about Chris? 😉

I should add that if Aldi has indeed “stopped selling the premium and labelled their original as [Which?] approved” then Isaac makes a valid and rather important point. Sorry, should have mentioned that in my earlier comment. And sorry if it sounded terse!

Katharine says:
24 August 2014

Why does the latest review not include the ‘normal’ Fairy liquid??

For me it’s all about smell.

I’ve spent way too much of my life sniffing cleaning products …. ok …. do I need to rephrase that?

Now settled on Ecover Marigold (and Camomile I think). Just enough perfume to mask the stink of raw detergent.

How those TV ad actors can bury their faces in stuff washed in Bold … the job must really pay well !

Don’t care about hand-care as I always wear disposable gloves.

Other brands are available
I have no connection with …..

YVONNE Christine dines says:
2 March 2015

Fairy is no longer removing the grease on my pans, I have changed to Percil liquid, to give that a go.

Gedis says:
2 March 2015

Also got dermatitis over last changes to their formula, changing to amway

Tan says:
2 March 2015

I have had terrible dermatitis and had every cream after using fairy liquid still suffering could not use my hands since Christmas had to go to Docs and still having treatment fairy should take the baby off the front of the bottle I have taken picks of hands they look like a ninety year old. The old fairy is better then the new type which can damage your skin badly

Patsy says:
7 March 2015

I have noticed recently that Fairy Liquid no longer gives very much lather, and seems to stop working on the washing up quite quickly. I did wonder whether the water board had been adding more chemicals to the water, making it even harder – but after reading all these comments, I realise it is Fairy which has deteriorated in quality and will stop using it.

I hope Proctor & Gamble read all these enlightening comments.

Carole Dean says:
2 May 2015

It’s good to see these comments – I thought it was me. Definitely a shadow of the product it once was, might just as well use a cheap own brand product and save the cash

Vivien Pope says:
4 March 2016

I am now using 3 times as much liquid than before, so next time I shall be buying one of the Supermarkets
own brand. Goodbye Fairy Liquid.