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Product Review: Splosh

We tested Splosh – eco cleaning products with super-concentrated refills which come direct to you, through the post.

Read our Splosh cleaning products review to find out the Just Helpers‘ verdict and how it works.

Step One: Order your cleaning products online.

There’s a great range including kitchen and bathroom cleaner, laundry detergent and fabric conditioner, and washing up liquid, There’s even hand-wash and shower gel so you can wash yourself too! The products arrive through the post in durable plastic bottles, ready filled.

Step Two: Order Refills

When you’ve used up your products, you are ready to order your refills. It’s easy to order and there’s even an app so you can do it while you’re on the go.  The refills come in a super-concentrated, slim pouch which fits easily through the letterbox.  Conveniently releasing you to get on with your day rather than waiting in for the postman.

Step Three: Refill Your Bottles
Part fill your empty bottles with warm water, then add the concentrate and shake to mix. Each pouch is enough to refill your bottle several times.

Step Four: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
By refilling, Splosh claim you reduce your plastic waste by 90%. Yes, you heard it right! 90%! Plus – you can send the empty pouches back for recycling – which means a massive 97.5% reduction! If your reusable bottle breaks, Splosh will replace it for free.  All of this makes us smile here at Just Helpers.

The Just Helpers Verdict

Splosh products are easy to use and they smell great. We chose Clementine and Lemon Kitchen Cleaner, and Grapefruit Washing Up Liquid, which both have a lovely zingy, citrus fragrance. They cut through grease very effectively, and we found them kind on our hands, too.

We also tried the Spearmint and Melon Bathroom Cleaner. We loved the fresh minty fragrance, and it whizzed through the bathroom cleaning with ease – it even tackled limescale!  Sticking with the minty theme, we chose Mint and Green Tea Handwash – another fresh fragrance that was nice to use.

Refilling – Ordering refills was really simple, and they arrived quickly. We thought the packaging was well designed and it was great to see that the outer cardboard can also be recycled. Refilling our existing bottles was a very simple process, with clear instructions on the back of the concentrate pouch.

As well as the eco benefits, the concentrate pouches take up much less room in the cupboard than full size bottles – so you are saving space as well as saving the planet.

Product Review: Shark Vacuum Cleaners

Chances are, three or four years ago you may not have heard of Shark vacuum cleaners.

But in the last couple of years Shark have become really popular,  competing with the big names such as Dyson and even our favoured Miele. At Just Helpers we’ve taken a closer look at what Shark has to offer, and put them to the test ourselves.

Why Consider Shark Vacuum Cleaners?

Shark have quickly gained a reputation as a good value, effective product. Shark Vacuum Cleaners recently scored highly in consumer testing carried out by Which?. In May 2019, Which? rated the Shark Lift Away NV590UKR corded vacuum cleaner as the best cheap upright cleaner.  And we do love a Which? review here at Just Helpers! This model scored particularly well on carpets, and on dealing with pet hair efficiently.

Choice

There is a mind-boggling range of options when it comes to choosing a Shark vacuum cleaner. Are you looking for:

  • a traditional corded model for reliable, long-lasting cleaning power,
  • a battery cordless for go-anywhere convenience
  • A light-weight stick vacuum for maximum portability
  • Extra power or attachments to deal with pet hair or allergens

Shark has all these options and more – in fact, researching all the models available is a task in itself!

The Just Helpers team tested two models from the range of Shark vacuum cleaners.

Shark Duoclean IF200UKT True Pet

This model is a cordless vacuum cleaner. The battery gives you 20 minutes cleaning on the standard setting, or 12 minutes of turbo. Shark sell additional batteries so you can always have one on charge, if you need a longer cleaning time.  This can often be a challenge for our colleagues who normally vacuum the whole house in one go.

A big feature of this model is its flexible wand, which is great for reaching under furniture and up high to those pesky cobwebs.

We loved this feature. It’s especially handy for reaching under heavy furniture such as sideboards. The flexihose is easy to operate with one hand, just by pushing a button. This feature also means the vacuum cleaner folds down for storage, so it takes up less room and doesn’t fall over, a handy feature in many new build London flats with limited storage options. This model also comes with several attachments and a handy bag to store them in. As it is a “pet” model, it includes a turbo brush for dealing with animal hair. However, we found this really useful for vacuuming the stairs, too.

Another useful feature is the removable wand, which converts the vacuum into a handheld – great for quick clear-ups, stairs, or for vacuuming the car interior. We found this model to be effective on both hard floors and carpets. Although it is not quite as powerful as a corded vacuum cleaner, it is certainly very convenient and easy to use.

Shark Rocket HV300 UltraLight Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner

This is a more traditional corded vacuum cleaner, so there are no worries about running out of battery power! However, its simplicity is a bonus – it is really simple and effective. This model has separate attachments for hard floors and for carpet. Our team described the carpet head as having ” a spinning brush like a torpedo”! The hard floor attachment has a handy cloth to trap dust as you go.

Our tester (our wonderful Ops Manager Monika), has a cat, and found this model to be very effective on pet hair. In addition, this Shark has a big capacity – Monika vacuumed a three bedroomed house from top to bottom before it needed to be emptied.

Filters

Another great feature of Shark vacuum cleaners is the washable filters. Both of these models include a washable, anti-allergy filter, which prevents particles which cause allergies from passing back into the air.

Value for Money

Shark Vacuum Cleaners are a less expensive option than big names such as Miele and Dyson. If you choose your model carefully, with features that suit your needs, you can get a fab vacuum cleaner at a great price too. Plus it’s worth checking the Shark website as they often have some brilliant offers available.

The Just Helpers Verdict

Overall, we were impressed by Shark Vacuum Cleaners, This comparative newcomer is well worth considering next time you choose a vacuum cleaner for your home.

Cleaning Products Review: Astonish

When it comes to cleaning, our Helpers have high standards. So who better to carry out a cleaning product review?

We asked our Just Helpers team to review Astonish Cleaning Products. Here’s the verdict.

Astonish Cleaning products are “cleaners with a conscience” – so they are perfect for Just Helpers! The products are approved by the Vegan Society . This means they contain no animal ingredients and are not tested on animals. Astonish are a UK family business, and part of their mission is to keep their road miles to a minimum. Their laboratories, manufacturing and packaging are all under one roof.

But do the products work? Our Just Helpers team put them to the test in some everyday cleaning tasks. Here’s what they said: 

Astonish Premium Edition Kitchen Cleaner (Citrus Grove)

  • Tested in kitchen (including oven)
  • Has a synthetic lemon smell
  • Quite good at dealing with grease
  • Effectiveness score 4/5

Astonish Premium Edition Multi-Surface Cleaner (Citrus Grove)

  • Tested in kitchen and bathroom
  • A lovely smell
  • Good on grease
  • Effectiveness score 3/5

Astonish Oven and Cookware Cleaner Paste

  • Tested on oven and cookware
  • Smells okay
  • Less effective on old burnt-on grease
  • Effectiveness score 3.5/5

Astonish Ultimate Limescale Remover

  • Tested on bathroom and kitchen sink
  • Smells lovely
  • Effectiveness score 5/5
  • Would definitely recommend – “Highly impressed!”

Astonish Bathroom Cleaner and Floor Cleaner

  • Tested on bathroom and floors
  • Lovely smell – “I’m really please with how Astonish smells”
  • Effectiveness score 5/5 – “strong and very efficient”
  • Definitely recommended – “I’ve already recommended it to a few of our customers”.

Astonish Window & Glass

  • Tested in the kitchen
  • Smell okay
  • Effectiveness score 5/5
  • Recommended

Astonish Mould and Mildew Blaster

  • Tested in the bathroom
  • Smells okay
  • Effectiveness score 4/5
  • Recommended

Overall verdict

We got some great comments about these products from our Just Helpers Team. Everyone agreed that the cleaning products were economical to use. They used about the amount they would expect, to get results.  Most of the team also liked the smell of the products.

Where to find Astonish Cleaning Products

We bought our Astonish products in Dunelm Mill, and Poundland. For more stockists, click here.

Ecover Review – Are you ready to ditch the bleach?

We all have a responsibility to protect our environment and at Just Helpers we are aware of the impact that cleaning products can have on the planet.

We strive to just do the right thing in all areas of our agency; from paying the London Living Wage to our Helpers, to providing some reviews on products that are kinder to our planet. We aim to make a difference and help you make the choice that is right for your home.

6 reasons why I love Ecover products.

  1. In my opinion it has a gentler less obtrusive smell – and it leaves a fresh and subtle perfume. My mum was the first person to introduce me to Ecover, and the smell takes me back to fond memories of her.
  2. I love its extensive range. From dishwasher tablets, toilet cleaner, hand wash, laundry detergent, floor cleaner to multipurpose sprays.  Ecover cover everything you could need.
  3. They were the first person to champion green, plant based cleaning products: In 1993, UNEP awarded Ecover for “outstanding achievements in the protection and improvement of the environment”.  ]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecover
  4. Refill centres can be found in many areas, usually in health food shops. This reinforces their authenticity in terms of decreasing harmful packing in the environment. You simply take your current container and refill it or bulk order from Ecover to refill at home. I felt a great sense of achievement being able to do this when I lived in Finsbury Park
  5. Their packaging for dishwasher tablets for example, is made from 95 per cent recycled cardboard, and even the plastic wrappers, which are necessary to protect the tablets from moisture, are completely biodegradable.
  6. Finally the last thing I love is that Ecover is certified a cruelty-free company. That means that caring philosophy is integral to all areas of their company. Be that humans involved in every level of their business, animals and plants.

The Decision

So, my question to you is this: Are you ready to ditch the bleach for a more environmentally friendly option such as Ecover? Our Colleagues and their clients are divided!  A few clients comment that greener products are not as effective at removing tough stains or stubborn limescale. Whereas other clients swear by  Ecover’s limescale remover.

So the vote is out

Might I suggest that next time you need to stock up on your products why not try Ecover or a similar brand. Please let us know your views at @JustHelpers1 on Twitter or on our Facebook page Just Helpers. We would love to hear from you.

One thing that is undeniable is that humans are having a significant effect on our planet. If we can move to more environmentally friendly products then our marine, animal and plant life would all say thank you.
Antoinette and the Just Helpers Team x

Ecover also give discounts if you sign up to their newsletter or open an account. Click here for more information.
References – http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/house-garden/kitchen-accessories/10-best-natural-cleaning-products-biodegradable-washing-up-liquid-dishwasher-toilet-cleaner-soap-a7833311.html

Appliances Review: Dishwashers

Following the long running theme of reviewing household appliances to minimise the disturbances to your already busy lives I am moving on to Dishwashers.

It won’t be a surprise to those who know me that I highly recommend a Miele Dishwasher, but I’ve also reviewed a few others below using a mixture of hands-on experience in clients homes and Which? reviews.

No.1 rated Best Buy by Which?: The Miele G6620 SC

It comes as no surprise to us that a Miele appliance is first in the Which? rankings. Highly rated for its energy efficiency as well as its capacity and excellent cleaning and drying. Main issue is that, due to its energy efficiency and ability to get your dishes bone dry at the end the cycle takes 3 hours, also with the handy extra cutlery drawer in the top it also reduces the 2nd drawer capacity meaning you may struggle to put some larger items up there like a big mug. Overall, Which? rates it as ‘Practically Perfect’. The icing on the cake for me is that at the end of the wash, the door pops open (secured by a nifty child safety catch) allowing the steam to escape and your dishes to complete their drying cycle. Genius!

A good buy under £550: The Integrated Bosch SMV69M01GB

The energy and water efficiency of this dishwasher is excellent when used on the slightly longer Eco program. It is very good at avoiding water marks even on glass and leaves everything very dry. The one down side it that the cutlery drawer is a bit fiddly to load and unload.

Best slim line under £350: The Integrated Belling BELIDW45

With several programs to choose from this dishwasher can be flexible with your washing needs ranging from a long Eco program to a short wash. It is, however, quite noisy compared to other dishwashers and the slim line layout sometimes makes it difficult to cram everything in without unknowingly restricting the wash of items adjacent or underneath – I guess this is often a problem for slim line dishwashers.

One thing that you always need to compliment your dishwasher is an effective dishwasher tablet.  In our experience Lidl does very well with it’s own brand, and the highly recommended Finish tablets also produce a great, dirt free, tea stain busting, glass sparkling clean.

As part of our regular cleaning service we will always unstack a clean dishwasher or load an empty or half empty dishwasher.

Micro Fibre Cloths

Cleaning cloths come in all shapes and sizes along with a gamet of price tags and promises.

It’s easy to just go for the cheapest or nearest option when choosing your cloths, or to fall back on the fail-safe: “If it worked for Mum it will work for me”.

Microfibre cloths have only really been on the market since the late 90’s, so it’s understandable if your Mum isn’t into them – but if she only knew the benefits, I’m sure she’d be all over them!

As technology has advanced, fibres have been able to get smaller and smaller so that the surface area is increased, working like lots of little Velcro hooks pulling up dirt, but small and soft enough that they do not scratch and damage surfaces. It’s a simple, effective system and when built out of polyester, lasts for years and years. It also means you only need to use water so it’s better for the environment.

There are plenty of own brand microfiber cloths, and plenty of pricey ones too. In my experience, they really just fall into two camps: hitchy fluff and well-woven. Even from before the first wash, the hitchy fluffy ones feel like they are not going to last – avoid these and pay an extra £3 to get something decent.

There are many other ways in which brands like Spontex and e-cloth have elaborated on the basic cloth, here’s a few with their benefits:

  • Waffle/3D textured: – more absorbent, particularly good for use in wet areas
  • Thin polishing cloths – very light weight, use to wipe dry glass, tiled and metal surfaces
  • Scrubbing bands – thicker strips of non-scratch scrubbing material for working on tougher stains like hob grease or bathroom watermarks

How to get the best out of your cloth:

  • Use one wet, but not dripping and polish after with a clean dry one
  • Wash them at 60 degrees to get rid of any lingering grease
  • Don’t use fabric softener as it clogs up the fibers
  • Do not iron or tumble dry them

Thanks for reading, we hope this brings you closer to a yellow duster and J-cloth free home

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