I grew up in a household where everything always looked meticulously clean, no matter how busy my mother was with work or how many friends my parents hosted at our apartment and that really formed a big part of how I run my household.
Since having children I have become even more conscious of the effect that harsh chemicals can have on our skin, as well as well-being in general, so I try to limit the amount of chemicals that I use when I clean. It still amazes me that while not having a variety of cleaning products that we have now, women in my family had gleaming surfaces and pristine floors, often with the help of lemon juice, vinegar and other natural ingredients, which I still use, for example to get stains our of shower or bath basin.
Brands like Method and Ecover ( which are now united in business ) are my trusted cleaning lieutenants but it’s always nice to look out for new brands, that hopefully will be less chemically loaded while having the same, if not superior cleaning power and my sense is that Alma Win, a German, certified organic household cleaning brand certainly fits into that category.
The brand itself was founded in 1983 and was developed to particularly suit dermatological demands of allergy sufferers, as well as those people who have sensitive skin. The products are certified by Ecogarantie, the Belgian trademark for eco products, considered to have the strictest guidelines in the world for household cleaning products. They even take into account the water hardness in your area, as it can affect the effectiveness of your products, so do check if you have soft water or consider getting a water softner machine ( I have had mine for many years now ).There are currently 15 products in the Alma Win range, from Natural Laundry Scent ( read about it later on ) to Sport + Outdoor Detergent Concentrate.
According to the statistics, UK has one of the highest rates of allergies, including Asthma, Eczema and Hay Fever. In actual fact Alma Win is the only range of household cleaning products to have complete organic certification under Eco Guarantee, which is very strict about what can and cannot be used ( NO parabens, petrochemicals, synthetic ingredients, borium and silicone ). Instead Alma Win was created with extensive use of plant ingredients produced by organic farming methods and the brand lists every single ingredient on their packaging ( truth be told I do find the packaging a little old fashioned, but then I would rather have a clean home using plant extracts rather than a fancy bottle that contains chemicals that can wipe off nail polish off my fingers, just to give you something to ponder when you have a minute ).
Before I tell you a bit more about the product that I tried from the range so far, let me give you another food for thought: in the EU every household cleaning product that comes in contact with the skin must have ‘Dermatologically Tested’ and you see this statement on many brand, however only when you see the statement ‘Successfully Dermatologically Tested’ then you can rest assured that it has passed vigorous skin reaction tests. Alma Win chooses to test their products on a cross-section of people with different skin types. I also very much appreciate the fact that Alma Win products are quite concentrated so there are no bulking agents, water or powders and you really do need a small amount each time you clean-the case of being ‘less is more’ in actual fact.
Now, to the actual products that I have tried:
Household Cleaner: this product is recommended to be used on hard surfaces, like tiles, doors and varnished surfaces. You dilute one table spoon in approximately five litres of preferably hot water and get on with the cleaning. The cleaner smells of lemon, mint and eucalyptus and leaves no sticky residue on the surfaces, which many cleaning products do, particularly noticeable on the floors. The smell is subtle but it is mighty powerful when it comes to getting the floor clean without putting in too much effort, as in you don’t have to press on the mop too hard to get the stains off. From this point of view the best eco product I have tried on tiled floors.
Ingredients: Saccharoidal surfactants, fatty alcohol sulphates, alcohol, lactic acid, sodium chloride, sodium carbonate, benzyl alcohol ( there is a warning that this ingredient may cause allergic reaction if not wearing gloves ), wheat protein, essential oils of lemon, eucaluptus, mint ( certified organic ), water. Less than 5% non-ionic surfactants, 5-15% anionic surfactants, perfume, limonene.
Bathroom Cleaner Concentrate: it isn’t suitable to be used on marble or limestone and do make sure to do a trial ‘patch’ run. I wet my bathroom sink with water, sprayed this product and left it for a few minutes, before rinsing with water and wiping steel hardware dry, leaving no smears behind. It smells of eucalyptus and makes the bathroom look fresh and smell clean, but not in an obvious, chemically fumed way. It helps to de-calcify showers from those annoying stains, often left by soap residue.
Ingredients: Vegetable fatty acid-glycerides, saccharoidal surfactants , lactic acid, citric acid, benzyl alcohol, certified organic eucaluptus oil, water, citral, geraniol,, citoneliol, d-Limonene, Linalool.
Heavy Duty Washing Powder: this powder works on both whites and coloured clothes and is effective even if you wash your clothes at 30c and even if you live in the hard water area. It is advisable to add this powder directly to the drum and I pour it into the plastic tumbler ball, so the washing process starts as soon as the water goes into the drum. Another benefit of this washing powder is that it contains certified organic pure soap, as well as natural bleaching agents that work on stains at lower temperatures, allowing you to keep your electricity cost down as well. And when you take your laundry out you might not get the ‘fake’ smell of freshness but you get clean clothes with less chemical residue on them.
Ingredients: Saccharoidal surfactants, certified organic pure soap, fatty alcohol sulfates, phyllosilicates, citric acid, soda, sodium hydrogen carbonate, sodium salts of polyaspartic acid, natural rice starch, bleaching agent on oxygen basis, bleaching activator, natural proteases.
Cleanut Laundry Detergent: this was one of the first products from the range that I started trying and I have to say that I think it is unique for many reasons. To start with it smells really fresh of vervain and eucalyptus certified organic oils. Secondly it contains soap-nut extract that offers softening qualities, so you don’t need to use a softner-a sort of revelation for me. Alma Win doesn’t just add products to the range and with the formulating components of this detergent, which is quite concentrated, you use less product in the first place and don’t need to buy a softner, so it has a very smart eco approach that is money-wise as well. I also noticed that because clothes feel softer to the touch, they are easier to iron. You can use this product for hand-washing-the brand states that the product is effective with the temperature as low as 20C and travel size of this product comes handy is you travel for business or for long-weekends and don’t want to use hotel laundering service. Your hands will actually feel soft, not irritated, when you use it to hand-wash garments-another big plus as far as I am concerned.
Ingredients: soap-nut extract, saccharoidal surfactants, fatty alcohol sulphates, sodium salts of succinic acid, certified organic vegetable oil, benzyl alcohol, citric acid, certified organic vervein and eucalyptus essential oils, poly saccharides, water, wheat proteins, d-Linonene, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol.
Natural Laundry Scent: this product is a great addition if used with Alma Win liquid or powder products ( don’t forget to shake the bottle before each use ! ). It smells a little of apothecaries and of vervein, which is a calming, soothing scent and it helps to soften your laundry as well. You can add more or less, depending on whether you like a faint or slightly more obvious scent. I have become happily addicted to this product because of its smell, so if you use let’s say Bounty sheets to scent your laundry load, don’t think twice, switch and breath easy.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Saccharoidal surfactants, certified organic eucaluptus essential oil, certified organic vervain leaf extract, citric acid, water, poly saccharides, citral, geraniol, Linalool, d-Limonene.
Washing Up Liquid: while this product does leave the dishes streak free, initially I wasn’t too sure that it really lifts heavy-duty dirt, like when you are washing plates after let’s say spaghetti bolognese, but then any washing washing up liquid doesn’t clean it straight away when the plates haven’t been initially soaked for a short while. This washing up liquid is concentrated and feels nicely thick, almost luxurious on your hands ( ! know it’s bad for my hands but I don’t use gloves when washing the dishes ). You smell the notes of lemongrass and eucalyptus and can feel it with your fingers that there is no greasy residue on your plates.
Ingredients: Saccharoidal surfactants, fatty alcohol sulphates, alcohol, sodium chloride, benzyl alcohol, wheat proteins, glycerine, lactic acid, certified organic essential oils of lemongrass and eucalyptus, water
Using the trial sizes on the above mentioned products have been a really educational process for me, as I think Alma Win runs by its own strictly set rules which benefit the environment, as well as people, without setting the price point too high. I definitely appreciate the fact that I can use the washing powder without the need for softner now and probably don’t need ironing water anymore, as I started using laundry scent. Some can say that I can make my own lavender ironing water-and let me assure you, I actually do so in the summer, with lavender from the garden, but by choosing certain Alma Win products I know that I make the right choice not only for myself but for my family as well. Small changes can have a big impact!
Alma Win products don’t use GMO in any of their products, all packaging is recyclable and the products are biogradable. No animal testing.