Supermarket own-brand washing-up liquid tops Which? testBut Co-operative Ecological limps in to last place

24 August 2013


A supermarket own-brand washing-up liquid costing less than £1 has topped the 2013 Which? washing-up liquid test. 

We put 16 brands and own-brands to the test in the Which? test lab to see which could clean the most plates, most effectively. But while a supermarket own-brand liquid topped our washing-up liquid league table, another from supermarket Co-operative finished last with just 12%.

Which? members can log-in to our full review to discover the best and worst washing-up liquids on test. If you're not already a Which? member, you can find out the best washing-up liquids as revealed by our expert tests by taking out a £1 trial subscription.

Washing-up liquids to avoid

Three washing-up liquids including Co-operative Ecological Concentrated cleaned so poorly that we are rating them as Don’t Buys. You can find out the other two Don’t Buys by reading our full washing up liquid review.

The same Co-operative liquid was a Best Buy in our 2012 test. Since then, the Co-operative has changed its formula, reducing the amount of surfactants – the main active ingredient in washing-up liquid.

We asked the Co-operative why it had made a good product into a poor one, and it said it had changed the formula to meet the new requirements of the EU Ecolabel. It also said it took our test results seriously and will work to improve the product.

Washing-up liquids in our test

Which? washing-up liquid expert Katie Benson says: 'The biggest thing we look for in a washing-up liquid is how well it removes greasy fat from dishes. We put a single drop of liquid into a bowl of hot water and keep washing small greasy plates in the bowl until it loses its ability to clean the fat. The more plates a washing-up liquid can clean, the better it is.

'We measure how long the foam lasts, because this gives an indication of how well the liquid cleans less intensive, non-greasy stains. Liquids with longer-lasting foam are able to clean more lightly soiled dishes.' Find out more about .

Here’s the full list of washing-up liquids we tested:

  • Aldi Magnum Premium Antibacterial Eucalyptus, 69p (500ml)
  • Aldi Magnum Premium Original, 59p (500ml)
  • Ecover Lemon & Aloe Vera, £1.53 (500ml)
  • Ecover Lotus & Almond, £1.89 (500ml)
  • Lidl W5 Balsam, 59p (500ml)
  • Marks & Spencer Simply Original, 80p (450ml)
  • Marks & Spencer Simply Sensitive, 80p (450ml)
  • Persil Lemon Burst, £1 (500ml)
  • Sainsbury's Antibacterial Lime & Olive, £1.20 (450ml)
  • Sainsbury's Original, £1 (450ml)
  • Sainsbury's Sensitive Aloe Vera, £1.20 (450ml)
  • Surcare Sensitive, £1 (450ml)
  • Tesco Antibacterial Lime & Lemongrass, £1.10 (500ml)
  • Tesco Daisy Original Concentrated, 85p (500ml)
  • The Co-operative Ecological, £1 (500ml)
  • The Co-operative Original Concentrated, £1 (450ml)

New formula Fairy

This year, the biggest washing-up liquid brand is missing from our test. Fairy, the brand that has topped many of our tests over the last 20 years, made changes to its formula very recently. We weren’t able to get hold of the new version in time to test it this time.

Don’t worry though, we’ll be testing the new formula Fairy as soon as we can, so we can compare scores with the other washing-up liquids in our test. Look out for the results later this year.

More on this…

  • Find out which are our washing-up liquid Best Buys
  • Cleaning products you can rely on - our round up of all cleaning Best Buys
  • Rather use a dishwasher? Check out our dishwasher tablet Best Buys