This post was sponsored by Wolf Formulations and I received product to review. All opinions and editorial direction are my own.
I’m a firm believer that the right type of cleaning product is out there for everyone. The type that doesn’t harm the environment, makes life easier and is created ethically. In the past I’ve been very clear with where my allegiances lie (hint: not with Ecover), but in recent months I came into contact with a new company who I am incredibly excited about.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I think Wolf Formulations may have just revolutionised this whole world of eco cleaning. Wolf Formulations is an independent UK business that comes from a long line of cleaning pioneers. Their CEO Max has a rich family history in the cleaning world that dates back as far as a soap manufacturing company in 1825, but in recent years he has turned his attention to a more eco friendly initiative. A lot of the cleaning products people regularly buy are plastic bottles that contain concentrates diluted with water, but Wolf Formulations recognised that perhaps these products could be made another way. They decided to reimagine how cleaning products could be created, and in the process remove a lot of waste.
So, they created a way to sell all their cleaning products in capsule form. Think Tide Pods, without the stupidity. Instead of bulky plastic, unnecessary ingredients and high mark ups they’ve created a cleaning product that’s cheaper, easier and truly innovative in its zero waste approach.
And how does it work? Well all you need are some spray bottles, which you can buy directly from Wolf Formulations or use/reuse your own, pop a capsule in, fill with water and give the bottle a shake. You don’t cut the capsule or try and open it, just put it in the bottle as it is and add water; the film will dissolve to allow the two to mix on their own, regardless of the hardness of the water. Easy peasy. The bottles you can buy from Wolf Formulations are currently plastic, but they’re looking into switching their materials to biodegradable sugarcane very soon too.
When it comes to ingredients each formulation in the Wolf range is specifically created and thoroughly tested by scientists in Scotland (who I have spoken to personally) and manufactured under ethical conditions in Germany. Each ingredient is carefully considered and readily biodegradable, and while their products do have colours/smells included these are independently certified as water soluble and environmentally friendly by Green Seal. The capsules do come with hazard statements, which is something I’ll admit did initially scare me a little, but then I learned the very simple reason why. Essentially, this is only because the products are sold in concentrate, nearly 100% active form which we, the consumers, never come into contact with due to the nature of the capsule form (exactly like dishwasher and laundry capsules too). Once the capsule is dissolved and diluted in water, it’s no longer classified as hazardous and is completely water safe.
I also wanted to include this note from one of Wolf Formulations scientists, because I think this is generally helpful information to spread:
‘There is this common misconception amongst people that natural ingredients, fragrances and dyes automatically means environmentally friendly and good for you. This could not be more untrue. Cocaine and opium are also natural ingredients, but they are definitely not good for you! For example, limonene, often found in fragrances, is a natural occurring compound that is found in orange peel or the skin of other citrus fruits, but this is the hazard statements associated with it in its pure form:
H226: Flammable liquid and vapour.
H315: Causes skin irritation
H317: May cause an allergic skin reaction.
H400: Very toxic to aquatic life.
H410: Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.’
This isn’t to hate on limonene, but just to encourage us all to understand that chemistry is often more complex, and to help us avoid falling into scaremongering and fear of science/scientific terms or warnings , especially when we’re looking at something in concentrated vs diluted form. The world of natural and eco-friendly cleaning can feel like a rabbit hole that we fall down and, if we aren’t scientists ourselves, it’s very easy to become afraid of things that actually won’t harm us. What I love is that Wolf Formulations has solid science behind them, as well as transparent individuals who were happy to talk this all through with me, which is always the sign of a good company in my eyes.
For as little as £2.50 you can buy a pack of three capsules, which is the equivalent of three full bottles of cleaning product (each capsule contains the correct amount for a 750ml spray bottle). For comparison, one bottle of Ecover bathroom cleaner retails at £2.75, so that’s literally more than three for the price of one. The capsules themselves do come in plastic packaging, but the packaging is recyclable and made from recycled materials, and is dramatically less wasteful than buying multiple plastic bottles regularly. At the same time the capsules are up to 95% less bulky than normal cleaning products, and are light to carry, which means CO2 emissions involved with shipping and transportation are also greatly reduced.
Wolf Formulations currently carry products for household cleaning, professional cleaning and car care, but it’s this first area that I’ve tried out so far. In the household range you can get bathroom, kitchen, window, floor and multipurpose cleaner, or a pack of all of them together. After trying them I’m happy to report that they work incredibly well, to the point where even I was surprised despite having high expectations! I’ve been popping my capsules in the bottle, adding water, giving it a good shake then leaving for about five minutes. After that they’re fully dissolved and ready to go. Although the products are quite brightly coloured in capsule form, you end up with quite a pale colour once diluted (none of these luminous products thank you very much) and a fresh, but not overpowering, smell. The best thing about them, however, is that you really don’t need a lot. The tiniest bit goes a really long way, which I can only attribute to a formula that only uses includes ingredients that are actually necessary. I’ve found that even on tough stains I only need to spray a small amount to instantly get things clean (even in the bathroom sink when I’ve been using charcoal toothpaste!)
Beyond the fact that these products actually work wonders, I also think they’re brilliant for those who are aiming to be minimalist or living in small spaces. There aren’t many things I would hate more in my home than seeing a cupboard filled to the brim with garish plastic bottles, whilst these capsules take up so little room in comparison. Even if you had a separate bottle for every type of cleaner that would be five bottles to use for the rest of your life, plus a little stack of capsules. Much neater and easier and, as a very visually talented buddy pointed out, if you’re really concerned about aesthetics this is the perfect chance to get some beautiful glass bottles, whilst easily storing your capsules out of sight. I also think these would work absolute wonders in the professional sector. Whilst it’s easy for those of us on an individual level to decide to commit to DIY-ing our products, it’s a massively different story when it comes to larger companies, hotels and restaurants. I’d love to see these kinds of organisations taking on this as a solution that is actually feasible for large scale implementation. They’d save money, storage space and the planet without having to actually compromise on anything, it seems like an obvious win all round to me.
On a more personal scale, Wolf Formulations have created the ideal products for easing family and friends who hate inconvenience into a more eco-friendly way of living. I often find that helping people make transitions is about meeting them where they are, giving them small solutions and switches that aren’t overwhelming. If you’re really committed to ethical or zero waste living then DIY cleaning isn’t a challenge, but there are always going to be people who don’t want to, and those that can’t due to intersectionality. After all, if someone is living paycheck to paycheck and working crazy hours, it’s not fair to expect them to also be DIY experts at home. But what these products can do is make life easier, simpler, cheaper and more streamlined. And no need to doubt their effectiveness just because they’re ethical, they’re also backed by science. Nobody needs to lose out.
I honestly can’t recommend Wolf Formulations enough, and I can’t wait to see where they’ll go next. If you want to buy these capsules for yourself you can purchase them at The Refillable Packaging Co or contact them via their website to set up an order, as they’re a very new company!
(And also, aren’t these capsules kinda cute?)