I miss Barry Scott*. He was in many ways the perfect man. What's not to love about a man who is so enthusiastic about cleaning? And Barry liked cleaning with a definite manly fervour. Bang! And the dirt is gone!
It sold me on Cillit Bang cleaners I have to say. Maybe that makes me a bit sad but when you're staring at rows of cleaning products with no real way to tell the difference between some of them, you go by price and what jumps out at you. Barry Scott could jump out at me at any time. If he did that in Sainsbury's though it might be a bit awkward.
Living in a hard water area, I've found that their cleaners are the only stuff that really works on my bath.
Did I really want to put that sort of cleaning power on my ... dishes? That was the first thought that crossed my mind when I got the latest product from the company. The Cillit Bang All In 1 Dish and Surface cleaner is designed for just that purpose. You can use it to clean your dishes and the surfaces in your kitchen. The starter pack is currently only available on their Facebook page, and at the special price of £9.99. For this you get a dispenser and a refill.
So how did it pan out? Did I dare use all that bang on my crockery? Read on to find out more.
Cillit Bang All In 1 Dish and Surface cleaner is an automatic dispenser, into which you slot the refill (one is included with the dispenser). There's a touch sensitive area at the front, and when you wave your hand in front of this, the dispenser dispenses some of the soap.
Refills are only available on the site, and a pack of 3 250ml refills costs £7.99 at the moment. The normal price is £12.99.
I use fairly small sponges, and the amount that came out seemed a bit too much for the sponge. Or, the cleaner is simply designed to froth up really well. Either way, when wiping down surfaces this was a big annoying as it leaves a LOT of foam behind. However, I can see that, on the plus side, the foam allows you go get the cleaner into every nook and cranny. To see what I mean see the photos of Cillit Bang All In 1 cleaner in action below.
That said, when it comes to doing a spot of quick washing up it works a treat. You know - where you've got a few items like the breakfast things, and you just wash them under the tap, using soap on the sponge. Here the frothing nature of the Dish and Surface cleaner means it really covers the plate/bowl/cup etc really well with detergent.
For just the basic washing up, where you're using a bowl, I quickly reverted to my usual brand of washing up liquid. I didn't find that the Cillit Bang stuff did a better job here, but the same amount didn't froth up as much in the water and it didn't last as long either. Also it was a bit of a pain having to hold the dispenser over the bowl because EVERY SINGLE TIME I would accidentally rub my thumb over the sensor when putting it back on the windowsill, and end up with soap over my hand.
In a busy household, where everyone seems to have a different meal, with different ingredients, at different times, I do get a lot of gunk on my worktops. This wiped off quicker and easier than my usual dishwashing liquid.
I tried out one of the recipes that Cillit Bang has put together with Holly Bell from the Great British Bake Off. This was the delicious sounding Homemade Buttermilk Pizza Dough. This was a huge hit with my son and his friends. As my son can't eat cheese or tomatoes, we don't normally do pizza. However, using this dough recipe, I was able to make up a number of different bases. For my son's friends I made ordinary cheese and tomato pizzas, while for son, I sprinkled it with some herbs and olive oil.
The recipe warns that the dough is stickier than most and you should wipe down surfaces immediately you're finished. Yeah, I only read that bit just now when I reviewed the recipe while writing this review. At the time, with a sleepover involving three 7 year olds, my worktop where I rolled out the dough got left over night. And you know what? I didn't even notice there was a problem. The next day when cleaning up, I ran a sponge soaked with water and the Cillit Bang cleaner over it, left it for about three minutes, then wiped it all off.
Carrots are one of only two vegetables my son positively loves, so we also gave Holly's carrot fritters a try. Now he didn't actually eat these, but I've found it takes quite a few goes before he'll try a new food so I'll persevere. He certainly enjoyed making them, so that's always a good start.
This is one of the other selling points of the Cillit Bang All in 1 - it is meant to have greater grease cutting power than other washing up liquids. Greater than Fairy Liquid? I've tried a lot, and that's been the best in my book.
Well, as promised the Cillit Bang did get the grease off in the first go. It has continued to do so on all my frying pans, and the grill as well. So a thumbs up from me there.
Therefore I had really high expectations when it came to the other ability touted by Cillit Bang - the cleaner's power to clean off baked on stuff. Like you get with lasagne and pies. This was quite a tough one because unable to face the pie dish straight away, I'd left it in the oven. And then forgot about it for a few days. So the stuff was really dried on there.
It didn't get my pie dish perfectly clean. It took just as much soaking as my normal liquid (yeah, I often can't face the pie dish!) and then a lot of elbow grease to get the really stuck on bits off. I have to say I was a bit disappointed here.
The site for the cleaner says that it has been specially dermatologically tested to be gentle on hands. This may well be the case, but it certainly isn't that gentle on hands. It is definitely harsher than my normal washing up detergent and my hands felt rough everytime I used it without washing up gloves on.
I rinse all my dishes when I wash, regardless of what dish washing liquid I use. If I wasn't I definitely would want to with the Cillit Bang cleaner, it seemed that little bit harsher to me.
Pros really good for cleaning dishes, excellent for cleaning worktops, no fuss dispenser
Cons not so kind on hands, not available in stores yet, and a little bit pricey compared to other detergents. That said, it did mostly outperform them.
Overall verdict 7/10
*before anyone comments, I do know that Barry Scott was a made up persona and an actor. But in many ways don't you think that being fictional makes him even more of a perfect man? He's never going to let you down now is he...
Holly Bell's Recipes for Cillit Bang
Homemade Buttermilk Pizza Dough
Warning: this dough is stickier than most! Don’t worry if it doesn’t look as smooth and elastic as normal bread dough does, as this is normal. It makes quite a bit of mess when rolling it out so make sure you wipe down the surfaces quickly when you’re done.
You will need
- 650g strong white flour
- 7g sachet of easy-blend yeast
- 2 tsp normal fine salt
- 30ml olive oil
- 50ml buttermilk (next to cream at the supermarket)
- 325ml warm water
- A little semolina for rolling (not essential but makes for a crispier crust - otherwise use flour)
- Pop the flour, yeast and salt together into your food mixer bowl and whizz together using the dough hook attachment set to medium speed
- Once blended, turn the speed to low and pour in the buttermilk and oil
- Next add the water and leave on low speed until the dough looks elastic which should take about 7 minutes
- Remove from the mixer and cover with a damp and clean tea towel and leave in a warm place until it’s doubled in size. This should take about 1.5 hours
- Once the dough has risen ‘knock it back’ by turning it over with your hands three times whilst still in the bowl
- Pop the bowl back into the mixer and knead using the dough hook on a low speed for about 2 minutes until your dough looks smooth again
- Remove the bowl and put the cloth back over the top and again leave in a warm place to prove for about 30 minutes to an hour. When it has doubled in size again, it is ready to be cooked
- Whack the oven to the highest setting and make sure the shelf is at the top. Remove the other shelves
- Take some semolina and put a handful on your work surface, then take your slightly sticky pizza dough and cover the whole thing in semolina – all sides
- Now start rolling (use a wine bottle if you don’t own a rolling pin) the aim is to get it as thin as possible without breaking but don’t worry about the shape
- Put your dough onto a baking sheet making sure the edges don’t escape over the edge. Nobody wants burnt crusts. If you’ve made an especially large pizza then fold the dough into half and then quarters to transfer it to the baking sheet
- Spread some tomato sauce over the top and then some cheese and whatever toppings take your fancy
- Bake in the oven until the edges look brown and crisp and the topping is suitably cooked - takes about 10 minutes in my gas oven
Serve with napkins and a large pair of scissors for cutting. Much better than those little pizza wheel thingies
A dirty frying pan can be left greasy even after washing. Cillit Bang All in 1 disperses grease effortlessly when pumped straight on in the sink.
You will need
- 3 carrots, topped and tailed and grated
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- Oil for frying, anything except for olive
- Put everything except the oil and carrots into a food processor and whizz for around 2 minutes until smooth and combined
- Pour the mixture onto the grated carrots and mix with a metal spoon
- It will look like there isn’t enough wet mixture to combine the carrot but fear not, you just want to coat each carrot strand a little, not produce a gloopy mess
- Put a good slosh of oil in a frying pan, heat for a minute or so on a medium heat on the hob and then drop spoonfuls of the carrot mixture into the oil. I managed about 4 in my frying pan as you don’t want them touching
- Leave to fry on one side for about 2 mins and then turn over with a spatula. Don’t mess about with them before 90 seconds is up or the skin you’re trying to form on the fritters will break and stick to the pan
- Once cooked on both sides drain on kitchen roll, then serve. They’re pretty hot so be careful with little mouths