More and more of us are considering the environmental impact of the products we buy. But do we really know what we're getting when it comes to our washing-up liquid?
Our latest lab tests show clear differences in performance, showing which washing-up liquids are likely to last longer and leave your plates sparkling. One washing-up liquid cleans up with an excellent 85% test score, while another sinks to the bottom with a meagre 37%.
But this time we've gone even further, looking behind the scenes at brands' eco credentials, so you can make sure you choose a product that's good for the planet as well as your dishes.
What does 'eco' really mean? We asked 11,095 Which? members in February 2019 what they expect from an eco-branded washing-up liquid, and the results showed that lots of us are confused about what we can expect from our eco products.
While consumers may have an idea of what they expect from a 'green' product, there's no real defined definition. Being 'eco-friendly' can mean different things to different manufacturers. And it's clear that consumers' expectations can vary, too.
However, whether they're labelled as being 'eco' or not, there are minimum ecological standards that all washing-up liquids sold in the UK have to adhere to by default.
EU law states that surfactants (the main detergent ingredients that cut through grease) have to meet specified standards for biodegradation. This means the extent to which the substance breaks down into carbon dioxide, water and mineral salts, and can be absorbed back into the environment.
This means that, in some way, all washing-up liquids can be considered eco-friendly.
We asked major washing-up liquid brands how sustainable their products are, based on specific criteria. Compare the results in the table below, and for the full low-down on each brand head to our guide:
Here's a summary of our main findings:
We've broken down our sustainability criteria so that you can choose which elements are most important to you when choosing a washing-up liquid. For example, if animal testing is your main priority any of the products would be suitable; for minimising your plastic usage you might prefer Ecover.
However, you should also consider how well your washing-up liquid cleans. If you get stuck with a Don't Buy that's bad at cleaning, you'll be using more product to scrub at your dishes, meaning you'll use more water to wash up with and you'll be making more frequent trips to the supermarket to replace the bottle.