Washing up - again!

14 December 2011
I was asked at a recent workshop what liquid I use to wash up. This is such a painful question for me because I've been chopping and changing, searching for something that feels right. Older readers here would remember that we gave away our dishwasher a couple of years ago and had a new sink unit installed recently. Well, I love the new sink. It gives me the room I need for large pots to be soaked totally covered with water. In my old sink I could only fit large pots in on an angle. The new sink helps me clean and makes washing up a pleasure, and now I have finally decided on a washing up liquid I'm happy to use long term.

Honestly, I feel like I've split the atom. Of all the simple things to come undone over, this has been it for me. I just couldn't get it right. There are so many detergents containing harsh chemicals and, quite frankly, I prefer to use soap. I've been using my liquid soap but it takes so long to make up, I can't imagine doing it for all the years I have ahead of me. I tried using my bar soap and it is good on some things, not good on others. Yellow laundry soap was similar. The search was on. Over the past month or so I've been experimenting - looking for something I'm happy with and would be prepared to stay with for a long time. We are a frugal family and I have to feel confident about recommending what I use, so price is a consideration too. In the end, Ecostore dishwash liquid won because it's plant-based, it contains no Sodium Laurel Sulphate or any other nasties and it washes well. It's in the medium price range.  There are home brand detergents at 11 cents per 100ml up to Morning Fresh detergent at $1.07 per 100mls.  This is listed at 88 cents per 100mls on the Woolworths site, and I'm happy with that, knowing I'm getting a safe, effective cleaner that is plant-based. Although if Woolworths are going to sell it in the store at $3.99 by my calculations, that would be 79 cents per 100mls, not 88 cents.

Now let me absolutely open with you here. Ecostore contacted me a few months ago and asked me to review some of their products. I have used a few Ecostore products in the past and while I thought they did an excellent job and had good green credentials, they were too expensive, especially for products we buy a lot of, such as dish liquid. So I told them that. I said I couldn't recommend something that I thought was too expensive. Case closed.

About a month ago I was doing some shopping for the Centre at the local Woolworths. They had Ecostore dish liquid for $2.99 a 500 ml bottle. I bought one for home. I've been using it for a couple of weeks and have had absolutely no problems with it. It cleans everything well, there is a pleasant lemon fragrance, nothing over-powering, and the skin on my hands hasn't dried out or become itchy. Best of all, as it's plant based, I feel very confident using it. So I emailed them and asked if they'd changed their pricing policy.They told me Woolworths has a special price and they expect the price of their dish wash liquid to be $3.99. I just checked online and it's listed there for $4.29, but maybe the online price is higher than the store price. Does anyone know?

So long story short(ish), I bartered some dish wash liquid for this review and a sponsor button on my blog. They will be supplying me with dish liquid for the coming year. I want to reassure you that I will write the truth as I find it. I will keep an eye on the ingredients list and the amount in those bottles and if they change, I'll write about it. Liz, the woman I've been emailing with said she'd been making her own laundry liquid and power but when she went back to work she had no time to make it. She asked me if I would do a review on some laundry products. I've agreed to do that early in the new year. I've asked for the recommended retail prices to be sent too and I'll compare it to what I make here at home. If it compares well, I'll tell you that, if it doesn't, I'll tell you that too. I'm not about to sell my soul for the cost of a few cleaning products.

So there it is. I'm settled and happy with my choice. Now I can just get on with it and enjoy the washing up again - staring out the window at the fading vegetable garden, watching the birds fly in and out and thinking about all of life that is there to enjoy.


  1. On their USA website, they have 16oz. for $5.19 US, 32oz. for $8.50 US.

  2. Rhonda I'm very interested in your post. We have never had a dish washer . My hubby says I have him and we both like playing in the water.

    We are on tank water and I rarely throw out water that has been used for just one purpose.
    So my dish water is put into a plastic dish inside my sink 99 times out of 100. That water is then often used to water plants, water grass, mop a verandah floor, to scrub the house steps and in times of little water put into bucket to flush the loo.

    I have been using your recipe for home made soap for a few years now.

    For the kitchen I use a plastic soap saver
    ( 50c at the op shop some years ago)with the scraps of soap for breakfast and lunch wash up as they are rarely very greasy and I get a good amount of bubbles with the tank water.
    The dinner dishes I've been using the Aldi kitchen liquid. I rarely go into Woolworths - the prices shock me too much but I will try this ecostore dishwashing liquid a try next time I front the store.

  3. Thanks for that info, Rhonda and your honesty. It is so refreshing to hear from people not influenced by marketing ploys.

  4. This is a bit timely for me. I have been in the exact situation over the last year or bit more trying to find a dish wash that I am happy with and without breaking the bank. The Morning Fresh I am using at the moment is really putting me off and I can't wait to finish it. It smells like pure chemical. I do really like the "Method" dish cleaner and it ticks all the great boxes BUT at nearly $10 a bottle...no way! Because we don't go to shops very much we are a bit ignorant of broad brand ranges and I hadn't heard about Eco Store before. So thanks for taking a bit more of the hard work out of it for me, I will give it a try...maybe before I run out of this one. Ugh it really needs to be pushed to the back of the cupboard.

  5. Rhonda,
    I love your honesty and the fact that you're not afraid to speak your mind!
    I looked online to see if Ecostore products are available here in the U.S. and it is. Their dish liquid is $8.50 for 32 oz. and $5.19 for 16 oz. Those are the online prices and since I haven't searched around to see if any of our discount or grocery stores have it, I have nothing to compare it to like you did at Woolworth's.
    If I find it locally, I'll let you know but maybe someone else will chime in on this one.
    The web address for their store in the U.S. is,

  6. I have been using their dishwashing liquid for a while and also the dishwasher tablets (yes we have a dishwasher, but with 6 kids it makes sense) and like both. I don't use their washing powder though as planet ark is a lot cheaper.

  7. I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for being upfront and honest. It is a refreshing change of pace from what I am (sadly) accustomed to.

  8. Hi Rhonda,

    Thank you for your honesty, it's so refreshing.

    This post caught my interest and I will be watching out for others comments.

    I have always assumed on-line shopping is more expensive as you have to pay for the folk maintaining the site and actually picking the item off the shelf to mail to the consumer.

    I will be trying the eco store liquid as $3 is what I spent last time for 500ml. From memory it was Fairy Liquid.

    I must admit I am guided firstly by price and would therefore have no problem changing to a more environmentally friendly product if the price was the same.

    It seems most products environmentally friendly do cost a lot more otherwise a lot more people I'm sure would change over.

    Kind regards,


  9. "I'm not about to sell my soul for the cost of a few cleaning products."

    I had a smile on my face while reading this post, especially the quote above. Rhonda, there is no way that I could ever imagine you being anything but honest and above board. That is part of your charm. That is part of why you and your blog are part of my daily routine. You are a lovely, simple, down-to-earth person that I wish lived next door instead of half a world away. I trust you. I'm sure that I am just one of many who feel the same way.

    Valerie in Pennsylvania

  10. I'm Glad you wrote this post I have been struggling with the dishwashing liquid as well, I must say we use the eco dishwashing liquid and their dishwasher powder. We have a biocycle and cant use any nasties in it. the only thing I have left to try it on before it I swap over completely is scouring my wool, at the moment I use the morning fresh so when that is gone I will test the eco. but so far we are very happy with it and we buy it up when it goes on sale although maybe next time you are dealing with them you could mention a bulk pack would be good. From what I can see here in South Australia the woolworths online cost is the same as instore, but their sales are different. Keep up the good work.

  11. Thank you Valerie, I appreciate that.

  12. Hi Rhonda love your blog so many great ideas ! i have been also searching for safe dishwashing product i stumbled across a product at my healthfood store called Herbon Its great ! cost is $7 for 1 litre next time i will buy the 5 litre for $30 very economical .It is aussie made and completely safe check out there site just google Herbon . I have a family of 5 with 2 littlies so i am constanly at the sink this product has this far lasted me 4 weeks . Anyway just a thought if you have not heard of it . Thanks for all your info love it !! kindest regards Sonia

  13. While I (unfortunately) don't quite share your enjoyment of handwashing dishes, it is something I have to do at times and I have had a hard time comparing dish soaps. When water is an ingredient, and when the degree of dish-dirtiness (technical term - hah!) varies, it's not always clear which product is doing the better job, dollar-for-dollar. All that to say: I'm always happy to hear a considered recommendation, and will put this product on my "try when it's on sale" list - thank you! :)

  14. Interesting, thanks for that info Rhonda. I don't make my own (can't do it all and work full time) but I'm not happy with Palmolive that I've been using for years. If I forget to put my rubber gloves on my hands feel like sandpaper for the next two hours. This may be the answer.

  15. Rhonda, firstly I would like to say & I think I could safely say this on behalf of all your readers NOBODY would ever dream they would hear anything but honesty in your posts.

    I really like this product too & was using it for the last 14mths or so, but of late I have changed over to Kin Kin Naturals(which is locally made to us) it is plant based & grey/septic safe. So far I have been happy with it but I must admit I never have much Heavy! washing up as I rarely use much oils/butter.Have you ever tried Kin Kin? I met the man who makes it at The Maleny Food Festival apparently he was the head formulator for OMO in Sweden but didn't like all the chemicals once he started his own family.
    Kin Kin Naturals appealed to me as it is a locally & family made company but if it doesn't work out I will be back to using ecostore again as I never had a problem with it I just wanted to cut out the transport miles.

  16. I often use that one too and have been quite happy with it. I also quite like the Herbon (bigger bottle and also available in bulk) at the local health food store. Both I can use with no gloves. I used to have to buy new gloves every week when I used ordinary dishwashing liquid as my hands would break out in dermatitis. It certainly says something for the chemicals in them. While paying a little more for the eco ones, I am wasting less and saving by not having to buy gloves.

  17. Buying stuff online is more expensive then buying it in the shops. Coles is the same.

  18. I only discovered your great blog a few weeks ago & I'm so glad I did. I really like the sound of the ecostore dishwashing liquid. I checked out their website & they also have a range of skin care products. As I haven't even started my gift shopping these may be ideal for my dd, Mum & niece. I'm going to duck down to Woollies & buy some so I can test them out. If they are as good as they sound, I think some baskets of body products will be on the list. :-)

  19. I second Caroline's praise for Kin Kin dishwash and we do cook with a fair bit of oil and butter :), it's pretty good stuff, smells nice and easy on my eczema. But it is a bit expensive at around $1.60 per 100mls. It's quite thick though, a little goes a long way, I use it to wash my floors as well and I put a tiny amount in my all purpose cleaner for the kitchen.

  20. l have been buying ecostore for some time and l find it works well, yes it is high in price but l buy only it when it is on sale and l buy a few at a time. this week l recived a coupon from ecostore for half price washing powder, it has been on sale in woolworths for $5.99 down from $8.99 and then half that it was about $3.50.

    Cheers Gail (poodle lover)

  21. This is the one we've used for a while now but I have to say I prefer the 'old formula' over the 'new formula' - but the new one is still good.

    As far as I know here the online WW price is the same as the shelf one, usually at least. Just now I checked and online it's $4.29 so will be interesting to see what it's on shelf for.

    I rarely use it straight, usually diluted in a pump.

    I also use it diluted in a pump as my handwash in the kitchen.

    Goes even further that way :) just don't over-dilute it.

    Cheers, Kristy

  22. A truly honest post Rhonda...rest assured that your readers would not even think anything else of you. I too have wondered about what to use for wahing liquid and had been hoping you would come up with my answer soon (lol).
    Most detergents give me awful dermatitis and even with a dishwasher i have to wash up alot as i wash the twins bottles, cups etc by hand. I have had to settle for Morning Fresh as even though it is expensive i only need a drop of it so it lasts quite awhile.
    I have looked at the ecostore brand but it always seems so expensive...so it's good to read of your firsthand opinion and perhaps i shall give it a try.
    Thanks Rhonda
    Jode x

  23. The USA online store now has a 50% off on all products. Although, the shipping is high, I bought the 32 oz dish detergent and think it will last me for a very long time. Since I live solo now, I wash my dishes by hand and have been looking for just the right detergent.

    Thank you, Rhonda for suggesting Eco Store.

  24. Hi Rhonda, ecostoreusa.com has all their products 50 % through today only with free shipping over $25.!!! Great time to try these products. Angela

  25. In the U.S. it is Dishwash Liquid – 32-oz.
    Price: $8.50. Woolworth in many places are gone now. There are still a few around, but not many. I tend to use a product called Seventh Generation and at 25 ounces for $3.99 (or less) I call it a bargain. The lavender fragrance suits me and makes washing up a not so unpleasant task along with the benefits of no laurel sulfate, etc.

  26. It really irks me that these Eco washing up liquids are more expensive than the bog standard supermarket ones ones even though they seemingly have less ingredients in them! I tried your home-made dishwashing liquid Rhonda, and although it did work fine I found that it left a white film on the stainless steel etc and felt a bit 'ikky' in our hard water area, which would entail a lot of rinsing, defeating the object of saving water in a drought area. So my solution, which I'm happy with now, is to buy 'el cheapest' supermarket washing up liquid and dilute it 3 homemade to one supermarket. Lasts 3 times as long and not so harsh! Your laundry liquid however is brill, I wouldn't use anything else now.

  27. I've been using ecostore products for a while now, and am really happy with them. I use the washing powder too, because I found the planet ark one had a very biting smell. I love the fact that the ecostore products have minimal scents, as I'm allergic to the scents in most commercial products (and even many of the natural ones).

  28. I have been using eco-store dishwashing liquid for about a year now. I buy it from woolies & i'm sure i've never paid more than $4 for it, i don't have to use much so a bottle lasts for many months. I find it works really well and i also use their dishwasher tablets which are a bit pricey- $8.99 for a box of 30 but that box will last about 10 weeks as we only use the dishwasher 2 or 3 times a week. I've tried a couple of "green" dishwasher tablets & the eco-store ones work the best. When i was telling my grandmother about the eco-store liquid she asked me "does it work?" She couldn't understand how a plant based cleaner could possibly do a good job. She's always used morning fresh. I think i'll give her a bottle to try for herself, i think she'll be pleasantly surprised! For the washing machine i use Bosisto's because i love the natural eucalypyus scent. I tried Aware & some other "green" powder but when i used it and i breathed in around the powder i felt like i was choking. I suspect they aren't all that "green" the artificial scents are horrible.

  29. As Kristy said...This is the one I've also used for a while now but I have to say I too prefer the 'old formula' over the 'new formula'. I too suffer from rashes and allergies but this one hasn't caused me any problems. I normally pop into my local Woolies weekly and if it is on special I pick up a few bottles.

  30. I am so glad you shared this post Rhonda! I have been looking for a decent, affordable, green dishwashing liquid for the LONGEST time! Definitely going to look for this next time I'm in Woolies.

    Katie x

  31. My Husband and 2 sons have excema and I have found nothing works as good as ecostore. I use all their products and always give their baby products to friends when a new babe arrives. It was the best discovery I have made!

  32. Ive been using this liquid for a while now and am very happy with it too...same reasons as you, easy on the hands and the pocket :) i used to use their laundry powder too but now make my own.



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