Thursday, 26 May 2011

Testing, testing... Hands First scrub and Persil Small & Mighty

Michela eating her cereals while watching Peppa Pig, check out the rogue spoon...

I am no domestic goddess when it comes to the cleaning department so any product that does the job in a jiffy is very welcome! I have a preschooler who likes to paint and pottering in the garden (and sandpit), plus she is a messy eater (she likes to eat while watching cartoons so often the fork/spoon misses the mouth... hence the big bib in the picture).

I am a homeworker juggling childcare, voluntary and paid work, plus being social secretary for my outgoing daughter (playdates, birthdays, picnics...), something has to give - so I'm not dusting, washing or scrubbing unless I have to! Let's say I aim for decency rather than perfection. I haven't inherited the cleaning gene from my aunt, who washes her ceiling's light fittings at least once a week and irons hankies, smalls and socks.

I usually buy own-brand products for cleaning, but couldn't resist the chance of trying out these branded goodies that were kindly sent to me.
Hands First Power Scrub

Hands First Power Scrub & Moisturiser
Last time I tried a hand scrub I was freelancing at the News of the World and using their toilet, where the dispensers were filled with a gritty and slightly stinky liquid soap. The toilet was shared by the editorial staff and the men working at the printing presses (the upstair floor vibrated under our feet when the machines were on), hence the soap, which felt like sandpaper on my soft, girly hands.

Back to the present.... now that I work from home I like to have my lunchbreak in the garden (weather permitting). I enjoy gardening but I don't use gloves much (my hands are quite small and it's hard to find gloves that fit). So after planting cuttings, trimming and doing odd jobs, my fingers and nails are quite dirty. Usually soap is not enough to take the dirt off and have to use a nail brush on my skin too... ouch!

With my grubby paws I grabbed Hands First Scrub and gave it a squeeze but a minuscule amount came out. I had to squeeze harder to get enough out, but it did the job quickly without feeling too scratchy, while the gorgeous fresh fragrance lingered on my hands for hours. 

The gritty texture is due to pumice and walnut shells, while oils and other natural ingredients provide the fragrance and moisturise hands. It's anti-bacterial and dermatologically tested too. I can't find any fault with it, aside its dispenser, which is not user friendly. Rather than having a cap like a shampoo bottle, I'd have preferred a pump action system, the one you normally have in liquid soaps. However, it has proved to be a very good product, which my partner likes to use too. He has found it effective against grease after maintaining our bikes.

Stockist info
If you visit there is a search facility to find your nearest stockist and some online retailers are also listed. Prices vary so it pays to shop around (I saw it on sale for a tenner on Amazon, but for around £6 at

Persil Bio Small & Mighty

I'm a washing powder girl (old fashioned, I know!), so I was really curious to try this product. Persil Bio Small & Mighty is a concentrated washing liquid that claims to reduce waste while saving time and energy.

Its size means there is less packaging and the bottle is recyclable, while its cleaning credentials state you can get results even at 30 degrees and on 30 minute cycle. I have an old washing machine without a short cycle, but I was itching to try washing at 30 degrees. As most of the load included Michela's clothes and some dirty bibs, I was curious to see what happened. To my surprise everything came out of the machine looking immaculate and smelling fresh (no need for conditioner, then). Even the dirtiest bib was looking good, which is a feast since it had sauce and other nasty food stains.

I can't fault it, the only thing that would bother me is the price. Its RRP is £4.39 for the 18-wash bottle (other formats available are 28, 54 and 85 washes). The own-brand, basic powder I'm using costs £1.69 for 25 washes. Of course it doesn't come with a fresh scent and I need to wash at 40...

I think time will tell... I recently admitted defeat and stopped buying own-brand washing up liquid as it wasn't cleaning the dishes properly (grease alert!) and I needed to use lots, so I'm now using Fairy (it makes great bubbles too so I can refill Michela's bubble-making kits).

So... brand or own brand? It really depends on the product and how far the supermarket is... That's why this product, which is widely available and lightweight, might be really tempting.

Coming next...
Watch this space for my very own yummy cheesecake recipe using Philadelphia cheese, plus savoury serving suggestions.

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