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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?

Nicola says:
10 March 2016

I have just discovered the wash liquid anfry pots become clean extra quick squeaky clean no scrubbing and dry with no water marks yet I cannot find anywhere that sells it in the UK (I was abroad when I used it (

We never buy fairy liquid, instead we buy aldi washing up liquid which is half the price of fairy

I know this is an oldish thread but I have just stopped using Fairy. after a lifetime ( I am 60 now) .My mum used it and my gran used it, so literally a lifetime. I have suddenly acquired an allergic reaction to something they have started to put in it. I am not an allergic type of person, so this is serious. Anyway, I am now on Tesco’s or Asda’s own cheap and cheerful which doesn’t give the same problem. Am looking for something new….. suggestions welcome.

Aldi or Lidl should be given a try. They do some excellent products and we have used them regularly since around 2006.

Muhammad Siddiquie says:
28 December 2016

not any single dishwashing liquid take a place of Fairy Liquid

I have noticed the difference in fairy liquid. I always buy the 750ml bottle although this last bottle i bought looked as though it contained 700ml and all the batch looked the same, It doesn,t cut through the grease like it used to and it used to last ages, now it last a couple of weeks and im finding bits of food on cutlery and dishes that have been washed and put away. I will definitely not be buying fairy again, I shall be going to aldi/lidel or super markets own brand in future.

Melanie says:
21 March 2017

I agree with previous comments…Fairy original is nowhere near what it used to be. Have used Fairy for over 38 years but feel it’s so poor quality. It just doesn’t cut through the grease, meaning you have to add more and more detergent. And where have all those thick bubbles gone?! They disburse within minutes! It has been watered down and is so runny compared to the thick consistency it once was. Sorry Fairy….it’s time for a change to a better detergent and I won’t be buying you anymore!

Karl Sultana says:
27 May 2017

I have used Fairy Liquid for over 20 years, but not any more. It’s a fact that it is not as concentrated as it used to be, there’s no denying it & feels as if it has been diluted, pity & shame on you Fairy Liquid!
I now use Aldi’s Everyday Magnum Lemon washing up liquid, it’s just as concentrated as Fairy Liquid & at 59p it’s definitely a very good buy.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I have found that both Lidls and Tescos liquid has a thicker consistency which sticks to plates and dissolves very slowly. Tescos also squirts out more wastefully as the hole is bigger.

Aldi have replaced magnum with a”new” washing up ;liquid named”easy”.
.Much more of this has to be added, and it is still nowhere as good-.Aldi must think they can getaway with this.I hope which? will test this one soon, A definite “don’t buy” in this household.I’ll go back to fairy liquid.

Lyn Butler says:
30 October 2018

I too am 60 and used Fairy all my married life. I have found the new formular a waste of time. It says new lift formula but all it does is suspend the oil and fat in the water. Sink and dishes are left with a film of oil whereas before it dissolved and drained away. How does one contact them to complain?

I’m no longer going to buy Fairy Liquid as they’ve changed the formula. Nowhere near as good. Think Aldi Magnum is the way to go.

I’m still getting acceptable results with Fairy but I have no objection to using other brands too.

I have started using Aldi’s magnum cheaper than fairy and seems to work better

PJ Godfrey says:
24 April 2020

Agree that formula has changed. The water has to be changed several times during the washing up for a few saucepans or whilst cake making. Tonight I could not clean an oily bottle at all with almost boiling water and 3 Fairy applications and bottle brush.
The bubbles fade in a few minutes and leave a bowl of grey scum. I am going to change to an own brand after 40 plus years.

P J Godfrey – This article dates from 2011. Which?’s most recent tests put two Fairy Liquid products at the top of the Best Buy category. One own-label product from a major supermarket scored highly and was considerably cheaper. It seems to me that, depending on the formulation and active ingredients, using more product in the washing up bowl does not necessarily improve a liquid’s performance.

Sharon Marples says:
8 August 2020

I was surprised (and disappointed) at how much Fairy liquid has changed. Once, one squirt was all that was needed to do all the washing up as it was so rich, and the bubbles lasted really well. Now it is more watery and doesn’t cut through the grease like it used to. Alas, like so many products these days, the price goes up, but the quality goes down. Fairy liquid used to be top dog, but now it is no more effective than the cheaper brands.

Annette Ward says:
3 November 2020

I agree,Fairy liquid is no longer going to be my choice (has been for years)as it was the best for removing grease with a very little squirt.Not only has it changed for the worse, where is the Original Fairy Platinum gone, I would only buy this say 2/3 times a year to use on stubborn washing up,but no longer on the shelves of Tesco Asda Lidl. They call the New lemon fairy Platnium I finished this off in no time Very disappointing.Will shop around now for an alternative to Fairy however judging by the comments they may have to do something super quick before their customers desert them

Washing up liquids are full of harmful chemicals.. I only use Sainsburys eco liquid .. its great only 85p, Surecare or Bio D…I cant use any of the others as it causes respitory breathlessness and gritty sore eyes.. change please as all these others have a cocktail of toxic chemicals one being formadehyde.. these companies need a shake up… fast..

Waitrose does a great washing up liquid with no harmful junk.. and its much cheaper too.

Irene Garwood says:
27 August 2020

I have used Fairy for a long time now but have found that the last couple of bottles don’t work as well as before. I bought a bottle of Asda’s own yesterday and was very pleased with the result and only 50p. No more Fairy!

Linda Bugnell says:
6 December 2020

Fairy very poor quality at the moment. Will be changing. Never used anything else but it has changed significantly. Very dissatisfied

Jim Stott says:
7 December 2020

After using it for over 60 years I’ve just decided to stop using Fairy liquid as well, it just doesn’t work any more. It doesn’t kill grease, you finish up redistributing it around the item that you’re trying to wash. I’ve been recommended “Elbow grease” we shall see………………..

Sara Gracia says:
29 December 2020

Fairy has definitely lost its superiority- it just doesn’t lather as well as previously. Now looking for alternatives!

Fairy liquid is no linger as frothy, and leaves a greasy feeling n the crockery/saucepans etc.
what changed?
it used to rely on good old sodium lauryl sulphate

We have used Fairy Original liquid for all of our 51 years of marriage – never the cheapest liquid, it was always the most economical. The last pack I bought was the usual Original, Fairy Liquid but NO!, it was ” improved scent” ( “original” and “improved scent” is a conundrum). Used once, the pack is useless for domestic use – the pungency of synthetic perfume (nothing to do with cleaning dishes) is overpoweringly debilitating and entirely unnecessary. Dishwashing by hand does not need a synthetic, aerial , chemical deodorant.

Fairy has certainly changed in the last year. They added an overpowering cheap scent to their ‘platinum all-in-one’ dishwasher tablets as well and I have nearly a full pack under the sink that will not get used by me.

Both I and my husband have noticed Fairy Platinum washing up liquid hasn’t been cleaning very well. The spoon I use to measure olive oil now has to be cleaned again with neat Fairy whereas it used to clean in the diluted mixture in the washing-up bowl.

I noticed our Fairy Platinum has now become Fairy Platinum Quick Wash and often see it endorsed by Which? in TV adverts. Considering how badly it now washes, I am amazed to see it it get top spot in Which? washing-up liquid reviews with a score of 81%
From the review:
– The best washing-up liquid we tested
– Fairy Platinum Quickwash is very good at removing tough grease
– Lasts longer than all others. The only washing-up liquid to score a maximum five stars for fat removal.

Fairy Platinum Quickwash really delivered on Fairy’s age-old promise to clean for a lot longer than the competition. It keeps cleaning fat from plates longer than any other liquid we tested. It’s also very good at tackling tough grease stains, such as those left behind after a roast dinner.

The review gives it 5 stars for foam – it hardly foams now and doesn’t last long so I don’t know how it can get 5 stars.

As a long time user of Fairy washing up liquid, those remarks were true once upon a time, but not now.

I agree about the smelly Fairy dishwasher product. Why do they do it?

I suggest wiping greasy plates and pans before washing.

Looks like some folk don’t think much of fairy liquid, see:-https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/home-garden/shopping-guide/washing-liquid

I think we need a good fairy to take over from Procter & Gamble. At present I’m using Ecover, which does the job for me.

You will need a good washing up liquid if you use Ecover tablets in your dishwasher:
” Cons
Mediocre or poor at removing most types of food stains
Terrible at tackling pasta residue“

I’m using Ecover washing up liquid, not dishwasher tablets. It doesn’t stink and does the job fine for me. Most of my washing. up goes in the dishwasher but with hand-washing it helps not to let food dry on crockery.

I was simply pointing out that if someone does use these dishwasher tablets they may well have to wash the pots again by hand afterwards – maybe with Ecover liquid.

Most dishwashers have a prewash that wets the contents to prevent food drying on.

Thanks for the link Derek, makes the Which? top score look even more questionable.

The Lemon Fairy Platinum dishwasher tables are OK and smell nothing like the unscented where the scent was so strong, the load got a second water-only wash to get rid of the smell.

I complained to P&G about the unscented tables.

It was the lemon ones that I thought smelled disgusting, but I seem to have an overactive sense of smell for perfumes. I’m glad I missed the other ones.

I am currently using Neutral Washing up liquid which I buy in bulk from Amazon. It’s hypoallergenic, fragrance and colourant free and endorsed by Allergy UK. I always wear Marigolds to wash up but It does a good hand wash without. Strong perfumed detergents will trigger a migraine so I avoid them if possible.

I don’t understand the popularity of strong, highly perfumed washing up liquids, Beryl.

Hot water plus powerful detergent is a recipe for skin damage if you don’t wear gloves, especially if hands are not properly rinsed and dried.

Considering there are many perfumed varieties of Fairy washing up liquid, why do they want to make the non-perfumed one perfumed?

It may be new, but there is nothing ‘improved’ about this scent. It smells really horribly sickly and florally. What are P&G playing at? They must realise that people have stuck to, and bought the original scented Fairy Liquid for years, because it’s a none offensive, neutral scent.
This new formula (which I’m assuming is cheaper to produce, why else would they change it) also triggers my Asthma and makes me cough. I have bought Original Fairy for 40 years. I will never buy it again….unless the ‘original original’ makes a comeback.