Review: Eco Cleaning Products from Bio-D

We love a clean space and having a clean and healthy home is an important aspect of wellbeing. Of course it follows that we show due consideration when it comes to the products we use to clean and we are always keeping an eye out for new eco and non toxic products to try that aren’t too expensive and really work.

Bio-D produces 100% plant based UK made products that clean effectively, are made from recycled and recyclable BPA free packaging, much of which is produced by them in their factory in Hull, source their ingredients from reputable sources, are a member of Sedex and follow strict fair trade policies. All of their ingredients have full traceability, their products are vegan, never tested on animals and free from fragrance, phosphates, formaldehyde, ammonia, phthalates, GMOs, chlorine bleaches and petroleum derived additives. They work hard to make sure their products are hypoallergenic and are accredited with the 14001 standard that specifies a process for the control and continuous improvement of an organisation’s environmental performance.

Better yet, their products work well and in terms of value, are some of the best on the market. We tried a range of them and were impressed by all.

Their Washing Powder might just be the best eco laundry powder we have ever used. Fragrance free, non biological, it contains non polluting zeolites that remove tough stains even from whites and clothes are left clothes feeling and smelling fresh without any heavy or overpowering fragrance. It does not clog up washing machines and works well for hand washing.

Their Lavender Fabric Conditioner, perfumed with pure lavender oil again leaves laundry smelling clean and fresh, although the lavender scent doesn’t carry through. Designed to protect fibres and leave clothes soft and static free, it works, keeping them in good condition for longer. This also works well for handwashing.

Their Washing Up Liquid with Grapefruit is brilliant at cleaning burnt pots, glasses and oily or greasy cookware. It smells fresh and clean and leaves hands soft after use.

Their Glass & Mirror Spray works well for shiny bathroom surfaces, mirrors and especially windows, leaving them clean and streak free. It has a slightly salty fragrance that is subtle and doesn’t linger and we have also found that it works well on laminated surfaces as well as kitchen and bathroom tiles.

Their Toilet Cleaner smells of salt and citrus but does not overwhelm as much as other eco products do and after one flush, very little fragrance is left at all. It does the job well, removing limescale and keeping bowls gleaming white.

Their All Purpose Sanitiser, described as a non toxic, non irritant all rounder, conforms to food grade standards to protect against e-coli and salmonella. It is a great product to have on hand in any room and mostly leaves other sprays obsolete. It cuts through dirt and grime in the kitchen, cleans floors, laminates, glass and mirrored bathroom surfaces with ease and leaves no smears or smudges. This may well be our favourite all round eco cleaning product as we can rely on it for every area of home cleaning.

We spoke with Lloyd Atkin, Managing Director at Bio-D, about the company mission to create healthy home cleaning products.

What inspired you to create a healthier range of cleaning products?

Bio-D launched more than 25 years ago, with the aim of creating eco friendly home cleaning products that don’t cost the earth. Bio-D founder Michael Barwell used to clean ships for a living and was horrified to discover that many domestic cleaning products contained the same ingredients as the industrial cleaners he used at work; products which required the use of heavy duty health and safety equipment such as respirators. Michael set out to create products that contained no harmful ingredients and Bio-D was born.

As a member of Greenpeace, Michael was concerned about the massive harm consumer cleaning products were having on the environment. As a husband and a father, he was concerned about the effects these products might be having on the people using them.

Michael has since retired. I have been with the company since 1996 and took over in 2010. The entire Bio-D range of over 20 product lines is made at our premises in Hull, East Yorkshire. All products are made from naturally derived raw materials, are completely free from synthetic perfumes, preservatives and enzymes and use recycled and recyclable packaging.

What do you view as the main issues of conventional cleaning products and how do yours differ?

Many conventional cleaning products contain a whole host of ingredients that cause damage, whether that’s damage to the sensitive skin of the person using them or to our planet and its inhabitants. Ingredients such as Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) are preservatives used in a wide range of shampoos, moisturisers and shower gels as well as make up and baby wipes. Dermatologists say we’re being exposed to much higher doses than ever before, which has led to a steep rise in allergies known as contact dermatitis (causing skin to become red, itchy and blistered). Our products don’t contain MI or MCI.

If every household in the UK used Bio-D laundry products instead of ‘regular’ alternatives, they would each save 2.5 million litres of water a year. That’s because 67% less water is required to purify the waste from Bio-D laundry products compared to ‘regular’ products, due to the natural ingredients that the Bio-D range contains.

Another example of an ingredient we leave out is chlorine bleach. These bleaches are contained in conventional toilet cleaners, sanitisers, nappy powders, washing powders and dishwasher detergents. During the breakdown of these types of bleach, carcinogenic toxic substances are formed which are similar to the banned pesticide DDT.

There’s a full list of ingredients that other manufacturers use and that we leave out on our website.

What fragrance to you use?

Our fragrances are all from essential oils, the main ones being lavender, grapefruit, lime, rosemary, thyme and geranium. Our juniper fragrance is created using a variety of different essential oils.

What does hypoallergenic mean and who certifies your products?

Hypoallergenic means these products are kinder to sensitive skin than traditional alternatives and have undergone independent testing. Our products are tested by Allergy specialist Dr Malcolm Stephenson at his dedicated allergy clinic using the Vega method. Additionally, our fragrance free laundry range is approved by Allergy UK and has been independently tested and reviewed by their experts.

Allergies are on the increase – eczema, asthma and rhinitis have tripled in recent years. Customers often tell us that our products are the only ones they can use that don’t exacerbate their allergy symptoms.

Our products are 100% hypoallergenic and approved by the Vegan Society and Cruelty Free International, while our fragrance free laundry range is approved by Allergy UK, providing extra peace of mind for those with sensitive skin and conditions such as eczema and asthma.

Which ingredients make them so effective?

It’s a combination of ingredients that make our products so effective. We use lactic acid in our hand washes, for example and natural essential oils in our household cleaners. We have spent almost 30 years tweaking and perfecting our formulations to ensure they are both effective and have minimal environmental impact.

Why do you think is it legal to sell toxic cleaning products and why do people still buy them?

It’s probably not for me to answer why it’s still legal to buy ‘toxic’ cleaning products, however, many consumers still buy non eco products because they are perceived as being cheaper. In terms of cost per use, Bio-D products are very good value, on a par with conventional cleaning products and we’re committed to helping consumers make the switch. We aim to make products that don’t cost the earth for everyone, not just for those who are happy to spend lots on their weekly shop.