How smol are Big Laundry Brands?

And as a relative newcomer (and tiny independent company), we are hugely proud of the fact that independent testing shows we perform better than or equal to the big capsule laundry brands. Our capsules took around 2 years to develop and there were many reasons for this but we wanted to get performance right. 

Of course, we love the fresh clean fragrance of our standard non-bio and bio capsules but delivering an exceptional clean was paramount.

So whilst cleaning results are the same as the big brands, that’s where the similarities end.

Lower chemical content. 

A quick look at the chemical dry weight of the leading branded capsules shows a vast difference between smol and the big brands.

The chemical dry weight of a product is the weight of chemicals that make up a product once all the moisture has been removed from the formulation. It’s a handy way to work out the quantity of actual chemicals you are using per wash because the overall weight of a capsule could be much higher, purely due to water content.

Let’s take an Ariel bio liquid capsule for example. One capsule for one wash contains 18.5g of dry chemicals. So every time you put one in your washing machine you’re adding 18.5g of chemicals to the wastewater system.

Not only is a smol bio capsule far smaller in overall weight (it is far more concentrated) it also contains just 10.4g of dry chemicals per wash. 

That’s an enormous 44% LESS CHEMICALS THAN ARIEL.

And it’s not just Ariel - Persil and Fairy also use far more chemicals per wash. Our smol blue non-bio capsule uses 40% less chemicals per wash than a Persil non bio capsule and another HUGE 42% less than Fairy non bio capsules.

smol wonder then that our customers are saving serious amounts of chemicals overall. At latest count (August 2022) we have saved over 2500 TONNES of chemicals from entering our waterways since we launched in 2018 JUST from customers ditching the big brands and switching across to smol laundry.

Cutting the carbon. 

smol is one of the only laundry brands to have conducted a full Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).*

This is an independent examination by sustainability experts who carefully measure the impact a product has on the environment over the course of its lifetime.

LCA examines each step from raw material through manufacture, distribution and usage to final disposal; it calculates greenhouse gas emissions (carbon footprint) plus impacts such as ozone depletion, effects on water networks and impact on human health.

The results from a LCA are highly trustworthy because they are based on international standards to ensure consistency, reliability and independence from commercial pressure.

The LCA for smol laundry revealed…

…buying smol and having it delivered to your home gives a 35% saving in carbon compared to buying one of the big brands like Persil, Fairy or Ariel from the supermarket. 



Our world-first plastic-free laundry packs with a child-impeding mechanism launched back in 2020 and they help our customers save over 30 tonnes of plastic every single month. In fact switching from our recycled plastic packs to cardboard means each order saves 4 water bottles worth of plastic.

Not so with the big brands.

Not only does Persil still use 100% plastic on its capsule tubs it is also using brand new virgin plastic each and every time. Persil has been on our shelves since 1909. Enough time then to innovate given their enormous multinational budget and resources. 

Unilever's CEO Alan Jope states “We can eliminate plastic waste by acting fast and taking radical action at all points in the plastic cycle”.

But how are they acting fast? Where is this radical action?

Ariel and Fairy who are both owned by multinational Proctor and Gamble have FINALLY (Aug 2022) put their capsules into a laminated cardboard box which although it still contains 5% plastic is a big improvement on their old 100% virgin plastic tubs. We welcome the fact Proctor and Gamble are working towards becoming more smol in their packaging.


56% of you stated that ensuring a product was cruelty-free was one of your top 3 reasons for using a brand*** It’s one of the main reasons customers love smol and the fact we have our Leaping Bunny accreditation from Cruelty Free International. 

This is the gold standard in cruelty-free assessment and is rigorously enforced year on year.

But aren’t most household cleaning items in the UK cruelty free? Didn’t the UK introduce a ban on the testing of home products on animals in 2015? Surely the large multinationals like Unilever and Proctor and Gamble no longer test on animals??

Well yes and no…

The 2015 ban actually only applies to the testing of finished household products on animals. Any individual ingredients that make up those products can still be legally tested.

In reality this means that your household cleaning items carry a very real risk of using ingredients that are tested on animals in the UK. In 2020 alone, there were still nearly 70 experiments carried out on animals in the UK to test out ingredients for household cleaning products. That’s one experiment every 5 days. These ingredients are then used by multiple cleaning products in many different items.

If cruelty-free laundry feels important to you then always look for the Leaping Bunny symbol. 

You won’t find it on Persil, Ariel or Fairy.

smol products are vegan

smol is the proud winner of a Vegan Choice award. 

This program is NOT a pay-for-award system like many others and only awarded after strict product evaluation to the highest standards by a team of expert evaluators and as the most prestigious award in the vegan industry it really is a benchmark of excellence.

We do not use animal ingredients or animal-derived products in any of our smol laundry capsules.

Persil, Ariel and Fairy do NOT claim to be vegan. 

Why can’t the big brands be more smol?

A smol survey back in October 2020 told us that 83% of you were feeling like the large multinationals were just not doing enough to care for the environment***, and we think the comparisons above speak for themselves. 

Our laundry capsules make a big difference to your everyday cleaning but they are also better for the planet AND you can try for FREE with our trial packs. LINK HERE. If you haven’t already made the switch and joined the revolution… perhaps today is the day…

*** smol oct 2020

**Based on 2019 laboratory analysis

* sustainability experts eLoop 2020