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I do my main weekly shop at Tescos and have done for over a year now. I have for the most part always used their 'Value' range washing up liquid at the amazing price of just 13p per litre! I've had no gripes at all concerning it's quality or performance, so it was purely by default that I became the recipient of a bottle of a Sainsbury's equivalent, but how?
Quite simply, a request to my hubby to purchase a bottle of Tesco Value washing up liquid was somehow misinterpreted into 'Sainsbury's 'basics' washing up liquid instead, and I admit to being less than friendly when duly delivered the wrong one. Reason being, I'd assumed that a Sainsburys product would be more expensive, but was greatly appeased when told that this too was only 13p! I thought, 'Oh well, in that case ...'
*According to the Sainsburys website, this 'basics' range was slowly phased in to replace their supermarket's original 'low price' products, and by the end of March this year covers no less than 500 fruit/vegetable, grocery, and household items.
My first impression of the 1 litre bottle is that it looks rather dated, but durable. I think if you were concerned about the aesthetics of your washing up bottle, you'd probably be willing to pay a bit more than 13p anyway, and this certainly isn't an issue for me. In comparison to the Tesco Value bottle though, I'd probably choose the Sainsburys, as it's slightly more demure. The Sainsburys name adorns the traditional, white, cylindrical, plastic bottle, which is the very useful type that most Blue Peter handicraft fans prefer. If your not into handicraft though it's suitable fodder for your recycle bin!
A pile of plates to one side of the bottle depicts it's purpose with the simple phrase 'Cleans, no added promises' adjacent to them. So we're not expecting a cute little baby to appear, or a kitchen fairy to come and transform our lives. Just a very honest statement. A solid, red, plastic pull up lid crowns the top. All illustrations and print on the bottle are in dark orange or yellow colours.
My first thoughts on the 'fragrance' were 'uh oh, lemon!' Indeed the ingredient 'limonene' is listed amongst a few others which seem to use nearly every letter of the alphabet. Nothing listed rings any alarm bells with me like lanolin, but if you have sensitive skin it's best to check, or don a pair of marigolds. Anioionic surfactants are 5-15%, non-ionic surfactants less than 5%. Having had a quick peek on the Net, it seems the balance between these two surfactants is responsible for the dirt and grease on plates being broken down and removed, and then preventing the muck from returning to the cleaned items afterwards.
The reason I was a bit wary of the lemon fragrance was because 'lemon' washing up liquids tend to dry my hands and make me itch. I needn't have worried though as a month down the line and using it 2-3 times daily, I've had no reaction at all. I'm also pleased to find that the fragrance isn't too heavy, cheap or sickly, and that it doesn't outstay it's welcome by saturating the dishcloths or sponges making for a 'lemony' kitchen all day long. The fragrance is pleasing, fresh, reassuring, but not over intrusive.
The liquid itself pours like a syrup, a lot thicker than the Tesco Value, and is greeny/yellow in colour as opposed to the Tesco being blue. When added to the bowl though, the water remains clear.
In the beginning, due to it's thick and concentrated consistency I sometimes found I had to agitate the water in order to get it to mix fully, or I'd have to squirt it directly into the flow of water. But as my confidence in the liquid grew, and I took control of my cynical tendencies, I realised I didn't have to be half so heavy handed with the amount I used which soon cured this problem. Having been used to a heftier squirt needed of the Tesco Value, it took me a while to adapt.
Therefore my primary observation in comparing the two liquids is that the Sainsburys product lasts twice as long. I had my first bottle for nearly 3 weeks, and this had been in constant use, servicing a family of four. We rarely eat out (sob), I DON'T HAVE A DISHWASHER! (Plea to hubbs!), so this liquid really gets the full monty of a challenge thrown at it every day. Eggy plates, baked bean encrusted saucepans, casserole dishes, and greasy roasting tins. I sometimes leave the worst pots and pans to soak on average ½ - 1 hour, and it's never proven a problem for this liquid to remove the worst debris with the minimum of fuss and effort afterwards. It even challenges the capabilities of some of the top brands of washing up liquid I have encountered in this respect.
Glasses come up sparkling with no misty surface residue, streaking or any other marks to blur the shine. In fact this is true of all items washed… the liquid simply does it's cleaning job admirably then rinses clean away without trace.
So I really can't fault it's performance or efficiency. The smallest of squirts is sufficient to produce a thick crop of white bubbles which endures from start to finish. After usage and a quick rinse round with hot water, it doesn't leave any slippery gunk in the bottom of the washing up bowl either!
*There are a few 'Safety' warnings on the back of the bottle worth noting, none of which are surprising for a product of this nature: Firstly, DON'T go cleaning your car with it (I think the Bentley deserves better anyway!), and DON'T use on fabrics or clothing. Wash and dry hands thoroughly after use, and avoid prolonged contact on damaged or sensitive hands. Last but not least, KEEP out of reach of CHILDREN!
One piece of advice on the bottle I chose to initially ignore, was to 'Close cap firmly after use to prevent clogging'. It's worth paying heed to this as I later found out. It doesn't clog to any gross degree, but it's simple enough to prevent it and closing the lid does actually work. Aside of this, I've had no problems with the efficiency or durability of the container at all. Even under the worst duress the bottles have been easy to use and perfectly competent to their end.
*Although this information is not on the bottle, I've been assured via Sainsburys free helpline that this product is 'NOT Animal Tested'. I was also told that if it had, it would've been displayed.
I've been in Sainsburys since and purchased a further 2 bottles. One similarity to the Tesco Value liquid is that some of the bottles looked cleaner and in better condition than others on the shelf, so I took a while to choose. Neighbouring these bottles, I noticed that Sainsburys also do an 'Original' version that costs £1.06 per litre, and another more expensive own brand range, with very enticing names like 'Lemon Grove', Citrus Mint and Spring Bliss etc… These work out at £1.28 per litre. But I wasn't tempted in the slightest, noooo… I'm happy with the 'basics' model.
If this washing up liquid is representative of the quality I can expect from Sainsburys other 'basics' products, then I'll definitely be checking more of them out.
**Final words** I didn't think I'd find anything better than the Tesco Value brand as an economical answer to a busy households washing up, but Sainsburys for me have topped a class act. Their 'basics' brand lasts over twice as long, is pleasant to use, and has cleaning power equivalent to some of the so-called better quality brands. The only couple of drawbacks I can conjure up are that I usually do my main shop in Tescos, so for me personally a detour is called for occasionally, and also, only being available in a 1 litre container might deter some people due to the weight in shopping bags. But aside of this, I think it's a superb bargain for anybody on a budget, or for anyone who likes great value for money!
Sainsburys Careline 0800 636262 www.sainsburys.co.uk
Pictures of Sainsbury's 'Basics' Washing Up Liquid