Can smol save you money on your laundry?
There’s a new subscription-only laundry product called smol that claims to save you money, compared to the usual big brand washing capsules. Of course I had to review smol laundry capsules, you’d expect nothing less from this blog, right?
As usual, expect a slightly brutal review because I really put these weird little blobs through their paces. Okay, not brutal, thorough. When I see big claims, I like to have a bit of a crack at debunking them in the name of value for money. First things first. What is smol? It’s a company that makes compact laundry liquid capsules, available via a subscription service and delivered to you by post. The capsules plus packaging are small enough to fit through your letter box so you don’t have to be home when they’re delivered.
The subscription can be varied or suspended in case you end up with more or less than you need, and I approve of that because you don’t end up being forced into paying for things you don’t need or want. The postage is free, and it’s currently £3.85 for a pack of 24 capsules, working out at 16p per capsule. As a quick comparison, my local supermarket is selling a box of 38 Ariel 3 In 1 pods – the most popular bio brand – for £9.00, or 23.7p per capsule, and a box of 19 for £5.50, or 28.9p per capsule.
That makes the smol capsules about two-thirds the price of the best value Ariel box, or nearly half price per capsule compared to the smaller Ariel box. The smol worked out about the same price per capsule as supermarket own brand, so that brings it down to eco credentials, packaging, ease of use and most of all product efficiency.
The smol packaging is 90% recycled and fully recyclable, designed to stop pods bursting in transit or storage, and it’s also tamper proof so that should keep most kids out for safety purposes. As it’s a much smaller pack than its main brand rivals, it’s also easier to keep it up on a higher shelf out of the reach of children and pets. The main consideration with pets is the letter box, so if you have a dog that chews your post then smol is probably not suitable.
So we’ve established it’s cheaper than the big brand names, the packging is eco friendly and fairly safe, and the subscription itself is flexible. All great, but does this stuff actually work? Does it wash your laundry properly?
The makers of smol call it ‘the most effective concentrated laundry capsule in the world’, which is quite a claim. They make two types, bio and non bio, and I tested them both to see what they were like. First up, the non bio was given a tough test: our local hard water, two lots of sweaty sports kit, 30 degree temperature, no fabric softener and a shorter wash cycle. Nowhere to hide if it didn’t work!
I was slightly surprised to find that it did so well on a cool wash. The clothes came out of the drum thoroughly clean and there were no traces of anything nasty left after drying. The capsules dissolved completely, even during the water-saving wash, and fared well in the hard water. My other half even remarked on the softness of the clothes, and was surprised when I told him no fabric conditioner had been used. The fragrance is pleasant enough, a generic clean smell, although my personal taste is for less fragrance in a non bio product as perfume can upset my sensitive skin.
Next, onto the standard smol biological washing capsules. I did a big mixed load of colours, including a couple of rather gungy tea towels, and again selected a low temperature, no fabric conditioner and a quick wash. Everything was cleaned well without the colours fading, and it even managed to get most of an old coffee stain out of a towel that our usual bio laundry liquid had failed to remove in a previous wash. Clothes washed in the bio capsules didn’t seem to irritate my skin, which was a relief. The lack of fabric conditioner didn’t seem to be a problem either, which could be an additional way to save money on the laundry – I haven’t had this effect when using supermarket own-brand products so that gives smol the edge.
All in all, I would give smol bio and non bio capsules a big thumbs up. They both coped well under tough conditions, and they seem to represent good value for money against the big brands, as well as putting fewer chemicals into the environment.
What do you think? If you’d like to try smol for yourself, they’re offering a trial box where you can get a box of nine capsules and all you do need to do is pay £1.00 towards P&P.
Full disclosure: I tried out free samples of smol, and am not doing any paid work with this company. All words and opinions are my own.