Today I switch from Persil Non Bio to the vaguely scary sounding Dr Barbara Sturm Laundry Detergent. With futuristic packaging and a molecular logo, it’s more Space NK than laundry aisle. At £40 per litre, it’s almost six times the price of Persil and has a silver jigger instead of a dosing ball. Perhaps it’s intended as a reminder that fun still exists – somewhere, over the dirty washing. 

The liquid promises it is ‘kind to skin, kind to clothes, kind to planet’ and I promise myself I will observe the results. Easier said than done. Just moving the clean laundry off the top of the washing machine feels herculean most evenings, so I fear I won’t notice if the product has been kind to my skin or not.

I do, however, have my son’s dirty football kit for it to be kind to. The bar is high. (Results to follow.)

Grime scene investigation: do pricier products really add polish?

Grime scene investigation: do pricier products really add polish?


It is Diptyque day – thrillingly – and I have a washing-up liquid to test. It comes in a handsome amber-glass bottle with the same iconic Gothic label as the candles.

Squirting Diptyque on burnt porridge feels decadent – like I’m an ageing supermodel going mad in the Cotswolds. It smells like expensive shower gel, which is fine, if incongruous in the kitchen.

I pit it against Fairy on another pan and am reminded of old TV ads for washing-up liquids with their references to the mythical ‘dried-on egg’. The two products fare equally well, but the £35 Diptyque pump looks more chic by the sink. So much so, that it keeps being mistaken for handwash. If I bought it regularly, I’d find this quite annoying.


Bed-sheet washing calls, and I try to numb the pain with a £45 Maison Francis Kurkdjian Linen Care Set in Aqua Universalis – dinky 250ml bottles of detergent and softener in a white box like a gift set.

The effect is so elegant it seems a shame to put them in the cupboard by the washing machine. In fact, this exercise has made me conscious of my lack of a ‘status utility room’.

Afterwards, the sheets smell nice but you really have to sniff them to notice. I spritz the pillows with the Scented Linen Mist. Now they do smell like a five-star hotel – as you’d hope given the spray is £115 for 200ml (cheaper than a room at Claridge’s).


Time for the fascinating-sounding Aesop Post Poo Drops, which are £25 for 100ml and have cult status. I use my youngest child – aged three – as the guinea pig. We wait for what the bottle describes coyly as ‘vigorous bathroom activity’. 

Afterwards we have a lovely time dispensing three magic drops into the loo and inhaling deeply. Miraculously, all odour dissipates.

Intrigued, I read the small print and am shocked. This stuff sounds as lethal as Harpic, despite its cheery exterior. ‘May be fatal if swallowed’, it warns, with instructions to ‘not inhale’ and to ‘store locked up’. 

Given that the three-year-old is only just out of the death-seeking phase, I follow this advice.


Today I try Diptyque Multi-Surface Cleaner With Vinegar (right), which smells like gherkins with base notes of gift shop. At £35 for 500ml, it is excellent at degreasing a stainless-steel hob, and feels reassuringly gentle on wooden surfaces. But it is rather vinegary. The children prefer Method Pink Grapefruit Multi-Surface Cleaner (£4.35 for 828ml) – which smells like a Haribo.

Saturday A final laundry test, via cute-looking Not a Detergent by Juliette Has A Gun (£30 for 500ml). It’s perfumed with the brand’s much-loved scent Not a Perfume, which was a hit in 2006, and I spend a nostalgic day getting whiffs of the noughties and thinking of macarons, Paris Hilton and giant handbags. 

This is all wasted on the children’s pants, though. In other laundry news, the Sturm from earlier in the week removed the football mud but not a bolognese stain.


I take a Sabbath from all the froufrou products. While I can’t say they’re superior to their bog-standard equivalents, they’re no worse. My home also doesn’t look or smell any more luxe than before – a few chichi bottles and fragranced laundry being no match for three boys under ten.

I’ll definitely be keeping the Diptyque products by the sink – and refill them with Waitrose Essentials when necessary. Ridiculous, I know – who am I trying to impress? Meanwhile, the silver laundry doser has been successfully repurposed as a shot measure. Win-win.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *