Let’s End The Dirty Business of Cleaning!

Posted by smol on

We started a smol revolution because we were sick and tired of all the existing cleaning brands. 

Multiple brands owned by a few huge multinationals (Unilever and Procter and Gamble); all churning out the same formulations in single-use plastic with no apparent thought to sustainability.

So we invented our own way of buying cleaning products. A new way. And at its heart lies easy, more sustainable swaps with no compromise on cleaning performance and no expensive price tags.

no plastic. fantastic.

Laundry packaging was one area where change was long overdue.

Over 110 million single-use plastic packs of laundry were sold last year in UK supermarkets.* And unfortunately, given the poor state of our recycling waste streams, more plastic is sent to landfill or burnt than is ever recycled in this country.

Why is this still happening?

So many of us are just sick of laundry plastic. We hear it from our customers, friends and colleagues. We all need to buy laundry detergent to wash our clothes, so why aren’t the big brands quicker to sort out their packaging choices? It’s why we wanted to focus on the problem in our recent TV advert. If you haven’t spotted it yet, you can check it out below. 

It’s got it all… a washing machine with a big problem, a very confused dog (Oscar-worthy performance) and a dramatic ending fit for any action extravaganza! 


It felt important to make an advert that really made people stop and think. Single-use laundry plastic NEEDS to change! And it CAN!

Of course, making a TV advert itself has an environmental impact in terms of carbon output. So we were keen to make the process as sustainable as possible by reducing this footprint and offsetting where we could. Working with Greenshoot (who specialise in helping creative industries produce more sustainable advertising) we were able to really focus on ways to cut our carbon.

It’s refreshing to see just how much can be done to change this type of work. Actions included: the team bringing in their own reusable cups and water bottles, serving a vegan lunch menu and composting leftovers. There was a green consultant on set, all plastic was recycled and rechargeable batteries were used. There was no printing of call sheets or schedules - everything was shared electronically and the materials and machine on-set were recycled or reused.

the message is spreading.

Single-use plastic is not needed for laundry. 

Back in March 2020 smol launched the world’s first 100% plastic-free packaging for laundry capsules. No small feat for a tiny British independent company… we’d worked on it since we launched in 2018 and we were the first brand to succeed. 

Our patented packs have led the way towards change and FINALLY some of the big brands (Fairy, Ariel, Bold) moved into card packaging (although still not 100% plastic- free) in 2022. They have been followed by some supermarket brands and Persil in 2023.

It’s a brilliant example of how smol things make a big difference.

BUT, the laundry plastic packs keep coming. Huge bottles of laundry liquid, fabric conditioner and plastic tubs of capsules. All single-use and mostly going to landfill.

smol customers will know that our washing up liquid, fabric conditioner and stain gel bottles are returnable for refill. This is one way to eliminate the need to recycle. 

Our bottles are already created using 100% recycled plastic and of course they can be recycled - but much better to reuse. So they can be returned to us for FREE, to be refilled and sent back out again to work!

bubble trouble.

We think another unwanted feature in most big brand laundry detergents revolves around the use of unnecessary chemicals. 

This includes pointless foaming chemicals

We’re NOT against bubbles, they’re great fun! BUT you DON’T need them to get your clothes clean (despite what the big brands would have you believe).

SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) is a surfactant that has been used by big laundry brands to add foam and bubbles to a wash. Mostly because people have always associated bubbles with cleaning (because traditionally we used soaps - not detergents).

Interestingly this ingredient is NOT what’s getting things clean.  We therefore believe it is unnecessary and we do NOT use SLS in our laundry capsules.

Despite the fact that our bio capsules use 40% less chemicals per dose than Ariel and our non-bio uses 35% less than Fairy non-bio and Persil non-bio, we still give exceptional cleaning. In fact industry tests found we performed as well as or better than the leading branded capsules.

no bunny business. 

So few big brand laundry companies can claim to be cruelty-free. Here at smol we were determined to never test on animals. 

smol does not believe in animal testing for either our products OR the ingredients used to make them. We are accredited by Cruelty Free International, one of the 3 organizations that certify brands around the world, alongside Peta, and Choose Cruelty-Free. 

Neither Unilever (Persil and Surf) or Procter & Gamble (Ariel, Bold and Fairy) are named on the websites of any of the above 3 organisations. 

As mentioned on Unilever’s own website: Occasionally, across our wider product portfolio, some of the ingredients we use have to be tested by our suppliers to comply with legal and regulatory requirements in some markets; and some governments test certain products on animals as part of their regulations.**

And on Procter & Gamble’s site: P&G no longer animal tests any consumer product unless required by law and we are committed to make animal testing obsolete.***

smol products are proud to display the Leaping Bunny award and we’re also super proud of our Vegan Choice Award.  

Why should animals need to suffer so that we can have clean clothes and clean homes? 

smol things make a big difference.

The smol revolution is working. Between 2020 and the start of 2023 our customers have saved over:
  • 1200 tonnes of plastic
  • 3200 tonnes of chemicals
  • 18200 tonnes of carbon
  • 36 tonnes of animal fat
We’ve even stopped over 1 million litres of water from a pointless journey. Proof that there is a better way to buy cleaning products. So if you’ve not joined our ranks just yet… maybe today is the day?
Find out more here.


For more information on our advertising claims please visit smolproducts.com/advertising-claims.


*Kantar sales data for the 52 weeks leading up to November 2022.
**Unilever: https://www.unilever.com/planet-and-society/
***P& G: https://www.pg.co.uk/cruelty-free/

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