10 Of The Best Washing Up Liquids Tried & Tested

Washing Up Liquid Cover Photo with 3 top brands

Doing the dishes is a household chore that many of us dread, but with the right washing-up liquid, it can become a breeze. A high-quality washing-up liquid can effectively remove grease, grime, and dried-on food, leaving your pots, pans, plates, cutlery, and glassware sparkling clean without those annoying watermarks left behind.

Let’s explore the best washing-up liquids available on the market, recommended by the experts, clean-a-holics and our own personal testing. The products recommended in this list are for inspirational purposes based on various criteria such as best all-rounders, best performing on grease and best value for money.

Everybody has their own opinion of what makes a good washing-up liquid so it’s important to try them out for yourself. However, we’re confident you’ll love some of our top picks to get your suds flowing and make those dishes sparkle!

How Washing Up Liquid Works

Washing up liquid may not perform magic, but it certainly employs clever science. These liquids contain molecules with hydrophobic (water-repelling) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) properties.

The hydrophobic side attaches to the grease and food residue, while the hydrophilic side pulls the molecule into the water, effectively removing the oil and grime from your dishes. Various products have different ingredients to achieve the same kind of results depending on what you look for in a product.

Choosing the Right Amount

Most of us tend to use more washing-up liquid than necessary, resulting in wastage of both money and water. It is recommended to use no more than 7ml (around 2 teaspoons or a few squirts) of non-concentrated washing-up liquid per five litres of water.

For heavily stained pots and pans, allowing them to soak in the solution for a few minutes before scrubbing can make the cleaning process more efficient. Avoid the temptation to add more washing-up liquid as soon as the suds disappear, as there is usually enough cleaning power left in the water.

The Importance of Rinsing

Rinsing your dishes after washing them is essential, not only for taste and appearance but also for your health. Mainstream washing-up liquids often contain sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), a foaming agent that enhances the cleaning process.

However, SLS can be an irritant and may leave behind residues on your dishes. To ensure a soap-free and residue-free finish, a thorough rinse is highly recommended with fresh clean water.

Washing Up Liquid and Dishwashers: A Cautionary Note

It is important to note that washing up liquid is not suitable for use in dishwashers. Only dishwasher-safe products should be used in these appliances to avoid damage and prevent a potential mess.

Unlike dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid produces excessive bubbles that can overflow from the dishwasher, leading to clogging of pipes and filters. If you accidentally use washing-up liquid in your dishwasher, immediately stop the cycle and take the necessary steps to clean and remove the excess foam.

The Best Washing Up Liquids You Can Buy

We researched and rigorously tested over 20 leading washing-up liquids to determine their cleaning performance, longevity, soap levels, value for money and reliability. Here are the top 10 washing-up liquids that made it to our roundup:

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1. Bower Collective Grapefruit Washing Up Liquid

Best Allround Washing Up Liquid

Bower Collective Grapefruit Washing Up Liquid is a top performer when it comes to cleaning grease, fat, and dried-on food. Its concentrated formula ensures that a little goes a long way. This washing-up liquid is hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or eczema.

The subtle grapefruit scent adds a pleasant touch to your cleaning experience. Only available at Bower Collective on subscription which may not appeal to everyone. Nonetheless, it ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to a solid all-rounder in terms of performance, value and sustainability.

Bower Collective Grapefruit Washing Up Liquid
  • Ideal for sensitive skin without cleaning compromise
  • Tough on burnt food, grease and grime
  • Pet-friendly formula (no chemicals)
  • Eco-friendly refill pouches

2. Eco-Mate Grapefruit Washing Up Liquid

Best Eco-Friendly Option

Another grapefruit entry! If you’re looking for an eco-friendly washing-up liquid without compromising on performance, Eco-Mate Washing Up Liquid is an excellent choice. It contains 100% natural ingredients and is free from harsh chemicals, making it safe for the environment and your skin.

The refreshing grapefruit scent adds a delightful aroma to your kitchen while effectively cutting through grease and grime. This Grapefruit infused version (others are available) seemed to clean the best. It also comes in a 100% biodegradable paper bottle made from bamboo and seaweed.

Eco-Mate Pink Grapefruit Washing Up Liquid (3-pack)
  • 100% natural plant-based ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic formula suitable for sensitive skin
  • Plastic-free – biodegradable bottle
  • Lovely zesty scent

3. Fairy Platinum Original Washing Up Liquid

Best for Tough Stains

The nation’s favourite, and for good reason. For those stubborn stains that refuse to budge, Fairy Platinum Original Washing Up Liquid is a reliable option, every time. It’s specially formulated to tackle tough grease and dried-on food, providing excellent cleaning power.

Even a small amount of this concentrated liquid can create rich suds that effortlessly remove dirt and leave your dishes spotless (no other product suds up like Fairy does and lasts). Available at most supermarkets and online retailers, this is a proven winner in most people’s eyes.

Fairy Platinum Original Washing Up Liquid
  • Unrivalled volume of suds per sink full
  • The best when it comes to tackling grease and stains
  • Long-lasting formula (great value for money)
  • Widely available online and in-store

4. Ecover Chamomile & Clementine Washing Up Liquid

Best for Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin or allergies, Ecover Chamomile & Clementine Washing Up Liquid is a gentle yet effective choice. It is dermatologically tested and free from harsh chemicals, making it suitable for those with sensitive skin conditions.

The soothing chamomile and clementine extract give off a subtle yet refreshing fragrance while ensuring your dishes are squeaky clean. The 5L refills are also amazing value for money and typically retail at under £14!

Ecover Washing Up Liquid Refill, Camomile & Clementine, 5 L
  • Ideal for people with eczema, dry and sensitive skin
  • 100% recycled plastic with plant-based ingredients
  • Minimal watermarking after rinsing glasses
  • 5L refills can last up to a year depending on usage

5. Method Green Tea & Citrus Washing Up Liquid

Best Fragrance

Method Green Tea & Citrus Washing Up Liquid not only leaves your dishes clean but also fills your kitchen with a refreshing citrus scent. This plant-based formula is biodegradable and free from harmful chemicals, making it safe for the environment too.

If you’re looking for a great smell/cleaning balance then this is the one for you. It smells equally as nice as the now-obsolete clementine version which was a previous favourite. The green tea & citrus fragrance uplifts your mood as you tackle your dishwashing chores, but it also does a pretty good job of cleaning dirty dishes.

Method makes a good variety of other cleaning products and its washing-up liquid certainly doesn’t let the team down! It’s also available in peach + pink, coconut water and soothing rainstorm.

Method Washing Up Liquid Green Tea & Citrus
  • Leaders in plant-based cleaning formulas
  • User-friendly dispenser for accurate measures
  • Well-priced in the market and readily available
  • Tested with people, not animals

6. Elbow Grease Washing Up Liquid Lemon Fresh

Best Value for Money

For a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on quality, Elbow Grease Washing Up Liquid is a fantastic choice (especially the lemon fresh version). It offers excellent cleaning performance, effectively removing grease and grime from your dishes and it retails at around the £1 mark for 600ml.

The NEW concentrated formula ensures long-lasting use and degreasing powers similar to Fairy but for much less. It’s great at dissolving and removing stubborn food deposits after a quick soak.

There are cheaper supermarket alternatives such as Aldi’s magnum range but the suds soon dissolve and you end up using the bottle pretty quickly as a result. This stuff cleans better and lasts longer. It’s only £0.08p more than magnum premium and you get 100ml more.

  • Generous 600ml measure – great value for money
  • Nearly as good as Fairy at tackling grease
  • Nice lemon zest scent (others are available)
  • Best newcomer for 2023

7. Smol Washing Up Liquid

Best Plant-Based Option

Smol Washing Up Liquid is a plant-based product that combines natural ingredients with powerful cleaning action. It effectively cuts through grease and leaves your dishes fresh and clean as well as any other non-plant-based product. Although the density of soap suds is a little thin, It’s a great plant-based liquid that works.

The invigorating grapefruit scent adds a pleasant touch to your dishwashing routine. Smol disrupted the market by challenging how we use and throw away plastic. Their mission is to make great products for you that are also better for our planet.

We’re a big fan of this sustainability model Smol has developed and the rinse and return subscription service is brilliant. Certainly, one to try if you’re looking to do your bit for the planet (similar to the Eco-Mate products).

Smol washing up liquid in a pink bottle
  • Good plant-based formula that’s also pet-friendly
  • Excellent sustainability subscription service
  • Natural ingredients that are kind to your skin
  • Zero product and packaging wastage

8. Fairy Washing Up Liquids

Longest Lasting

You can’t argue that Fairy does what it says on the tin. They have always claimed to be the best at long-lasting formulas and to this day we’ve not come across anything that soaps up as well and lasts for what feels like forever!

Whereas others rival the pure cleaning power when tackling baked-on food and shifting stubborn grease, nothing comes close to longevity as Fairy. The reigning champion and has been for many years. From our experience, all products in the liquid range seem to last the same amount of time (in equal measures).

  • Still the longest lasting washing up liquid available
  • Proven formula – a little goes a long way
  • Readily available online and in stores
  • Bulk buying and large 5L bottle discounts

9. Ecover Zero Sensitive Washing Up Liquid

Best Hypoallergenic Option

Ecover makes the best zero fragrance or colouring washing-up liquid on the market. The only ingredients are 30% water, 5-15% anionic surfactants and non-ionic surfactants which are harmless to the skin yet have a strong ability to lift away dirt.

Therefore, if you are super sensitive to various fragrances and ingredients that typically cause rashes and irritation, this is the one for you.

Ecover Zero Sensitive Washing-Up Liquid
  • Ideal for people with very sensitive skin
  • Minimal ingredients and zero fragrance
  • Well-priced in the market and readily available
  • Approved by Allergy UK Seal of Approval

10. Asda Original Washing Up Liquid

Best Supermarket Own Brand

Last but not least. Asda’s original washing-up liquid is the best own brand when it comes to tackling grease. Not as good as Fairy but close on a budget! You find you have to use a bit more liquid to get a good soap mix but it does a good job for the money.

Compared to Tesco, Aldi, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and other own-brand washing-up liquids, this performed the best. We recommend using washing-up gloves with this though as it tends to leave your hands very dry afterwards!

Asda original washing up liquid
  • Good performer on a budget
  • Better than other supermarket own-brands
  • Tough on greasy pans and caked-on food
  • Available online and in all Asda stores


In conclusion, selecting the right washing-up liquid can make a significant difference in your dishwashing experience. With numerous options available, it’s essential to consider factors such as cleaning power, eco-friendliness, fragrance, sensitivity, value for money, sustainability, and hypoallergenic properties.

The aforementioned list of top washing-up liquids encompasses a range of choices to suit various preferences and needs. Whether you prioritise eco-friendly solutions, tough stain removal, sensitive skin care, delightful fragrances, budget-friendly options, plant-based formulas, sustainable packaging, or hypoallergenic properties, there is a washing-up liquid for everyone.

Remember to assess your specific requirements and preferences before making a decision. Evaluate the ingredients, read reviews, and consider the overall impact on the environment and your well-being. By choosing a high-quality washing-up liquid that aligns with your values, you can enhance your dishwashing routine while contributing to a cleaner and healthier world.

So, next time you’re faced with a mountain of dirty dishes, rest assured that with the right washing-up liquid, the task will be much easier, leaving you with sparkling clean dishes and a sense of satisfaction!

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