Smol subscription review 2021: What is it and is it worth the money?

THEY say good things come in small packages — but how about smol packages?

Smol is the latest eco-conscious, ethical subscription service offering planet-friendly, greener solutions to cleaning products for our laundry, bathroom and kitchen.

It's all over our Instagram feeds, claiming you can cut down single-use plastic — and costs — by making the switch.

Laundry and cleaning products cost the earth — literally. Bottles of chemicals and toxins, that are often tested on animals and use animal fat and harmful chemicals, pile up in our cabinets. All too often, they aren't properly recycled, either.

Smol has vowed to shake that up, banishing single-use plastic and animal cruelty when it comes to cleaning products and swapping being mean for being green (…and still clean!).

We took the leap and tried smol's Starter Pack to see how easy it was to ditch the plastic and make the change.

But what exactly is smol? And is it worth the cost?

Pros

  • Cuts single-use plastic
  • Refillable options
  • Delivered to your door
  • No waste
  • Can be personalised to needs
  • Childproof packaging

Cons

  • Refills can pile up
  • Can be pricey
  • Childproof packaging…!
  • Smol Starter Kit, £15 – buy here

Smol Review: Quick Summary

When our smol Starter Pack arrived, we were amazed at how little plastic such an array of cleaning products contained.

We received:

  • Letterbox-sized bio tablets (x9)
  • Non-bio laundry tablets (x9)
  • A bottle of fabric conditioner
  • Three empty colour-coded refillable bottles for an array of cleaning sprays (that only needed warm water and a fizzy tablet)
  • A letterbox-sized pack of mixed surface spray refills
  • A pack of dishwasher tablets (x9)

At first the plastic bottles did confuse us, as we wanted to cut down our plastic usage, not add to it, but when we learned that each of the refillable bottles are made from 100% recyclable and recycled post-consumer waste we were happier.

We'll start with the laundry products. We've been using the bio and non-bio tablets for a few weeks now, and have had no problems. They perhaps don't leave as much of a lasting, powerful smell on clothes a mainstream brands, but it's because they're free of harmful chemicals and fragrances.

Still, our clothes smelled and felt clean and fresh, and felt kind on our skin after washing, with no itching — plus, there was absolutely no plastic waste. Still not sure? You can even get a free trial, and just pay £1 for postage.

The paper, letterbox-friendly packaging is fantastic, if a little hard to get into (which we guess is the point!). It's a great size for contactless deliveries through your door, takes minimal space in the cupboard, and can be popped in the recycled bin after use.

Signing up to smol produces less waste, and is money-saving as each of its products are super-concentrated and long-lasting. For example, we worked out that f we washed our clothes twice a week, two bottles, costing £10, would last us eight months. Thats because you only need four squirts of cruelty-free, super-concentrate fabric conditioner per wash.

But each subscription can be personalised to your needs, using smol's handy calculator for each product, ensuring as little waste and as minimal costs for you as possible. That's a win for the planet, and a win for your purse.

Smol Subscription Full Review

Smol Subscription Review: Unboxing and First Impressions

When we first received the smol Starter Kit, priced at £25, we were really impressed by two things: how many products were included, and the minimal waste from the packaging.

The packaging itself was fully recycled and recyclable, with no plastic waste at all. Plus, the big box it comes in can be reused over and over again when sending back refills (more on that later).

The packaging is also totally childproof (although even we had trouble opening it) — thankfully, there's a handy video on smol's website explaining how to open them correctly.

In the Starter Kit we received nine bio and nine non-bio laundry capsules, a big 512ml bottle of fabric conditioner (with pump included), nine dishwasher tablets, and three colour-coded, refillable spray bottles to use with our nine mixed spray refill tablets.

Smol Laundry Capsules Review

Smol's array of greener laundry products is not to be sniffed at. The Starter Kit includes nine bio and nine non-bio laundry capsules.

This reviewer has sensitive skin, so we first opted for the non-bio capsules in our laundry load, and were really impressed just how well they worked. It was definitely on par with some of the more expensive mainstream brands.

One capsule is enough for a normal wash (3-5kg) but if you have particularly dirty kids, or a very smelly gym kit, two capsules is better for a really dirty load, big drum, or a hard water area.

Smol claims that each capsule has a lower chemical concentration than your usual brands, meaning there's less toxins and harmful nasties, but they still have proven high performance when tested against industry standards.

Smol reckons that by opting for its replacement for bigger, plastic-choked brands, you could save up to 50 percent per wash.

When we used both the bio and non-bio over the last few weeks, we found that our clothes were clean and fresh, but didn't smell as perfumed as usual.

This is down to smol only using ethically sourced essential oils to ensure your laundry doesn't smell fake or artificial — simply just fresh and clean.

You can get fragrance-free laundry capsules on smol's website, too.

Smol Fabric Conditioner Review

To get started with the Starter Kit's provided fabric conditioner, smol includes a pump which you use when you starting a new bottle — simply unscrew the cap and pop in the pump before you start you washing machine.

Smol reckons each 512ml bottle is good for approximately 64 washes, and it goes a long way as you only need four squirts per load.

At first, we were a little put off by the grey bottle, but really, who wants their laundry products on display anyway? Plus, we discovered it was made from 100 percent post-consumer waste, and was reusable, as well as recyclable.

It's super concentrated, but felt a little weird only using four pumps, still, our laundry came out super fresh, soft to touch, and smelling great.

As it's super concentrated, you end up using less, which eventually translates into less plastic and saves on tonnes of excess shipping, saving energy and the planet in the long run.

When it comes to your empties, all you need to do is rinse them and pop them in the box your kit arrived in, then send it back to the address on the bottom to be rinsed, refilled and reused. And, for every four bottles returned, smol gives 24 washes to charity.

Smol Mixed Surface Sprays Review

In the smol Starter Kit, you get three empty, colour-coded plastic bottles, each with a pump. The idea is that you buy the bottle just once — saving 25 cleaning bottles a year for the average family, smol claims — and reuse it over and over again, only buying the surface spray refill tablets.

The sprays are toxic-free yet super concentrated, and it only takes one tablet and some warm water to make.

The purple bottle is for cleaning glass, orange is for mixed surfaces, and green is for the bathroom.

In the kit, you get a refill pack of effervescent tablets for each of the bottles, and you simply fill a bottle three quarters full with warm water, pop in a tablet (don't shake or stir, let it dissolve) then top it up with more water.

Plus, the sachets that the tablets come in are compostable, so you can pop them in your home composter or food waste bin after use.

We found that the orange mixed surface spray was a delight to use on our kitchen benches, as well as our dining table and TV stand; the glass spray was a dream on our mirrors and glass shower wall, leaving a streak-free finish; and we enjoyed the bathroom spray, but it needed a little more elbow grease put into it on those dirtier, tricky-to-clean areas.

None of them smelled toxic, or were irritating on our skin so we were pretty impressed.

It's good to know that money and energy isn't wasted on shipping water, plastic and chemicals across the world — and smol also claims that you can save at least 50 percent of the cost of branded surface sprays by using cleaning tablet refills.

Eco-credentials

All of smol's packaging is recycled, recyclable and Forest Stewardship Council-approved, minimising waste and environmental impact.

The bottles for the fabric conditioner are a strange shade of grey, but it just means they're even better for the planet as they're made using 100 percent post-consumer waste and are recycled, or can be sent back to smol to be refilled.

Plus, the sachets that the spray refill tablets come in are entirely compostable, so they can be popped into your home waste or compost bin with no impact to the environment.

Smol has a pretty impressive array of eco-credentials, and according to itswebsite, since the company launched it's saved 569 tonnes of plastic from going to oceans or landfill, 1,638 tonnes of chemicals, 9,315 tonnes of carbon, and 351,157 litres of water being shipped unnecessarily across the world. Plus, they're just getting better with each day, as more and more people make the swap. You can't argue with that, can you?

Subscription service

With smol's subscription service, there's no contracts, or fees, just simply a service that helps you reduce your plastic usage, and time shopping.

It also saves energy on transporting unnecessary waste across the globe, and money on your bills by sending you only what you need, at the right time.

The prices vary per subscription, but each product helpfully comes with a handy calculator tool that takes into consideration how often you use, say, your washing machine per week, then calculates how many refills you'll need, and when.

What is smol and does it work?

Smol is basically a subscription service of your usual, staple laundry and cleaning products, that get delivered straight to your door, whenever you need them – while cutting down on chemicals, energy, animal cruelty and single-use plastic, all at the same time. Phew!

We really enjoyed using smol, and though we have yet to return one of our refillable bottles to be reused, we definitely see ourselves making the change. It makes sense for our pocket, and our planet.

Is smol cruelty-free?

As well as an impressive array of green promises, smol has a pretty great commitment to being completely cruelty-free.

Smol is Leaping Bunny approved, in line with Cruelty Free International, and never tests products on animals. Only towels and tiles.

Plus, did you know that fabric conditioner from many mainstream brands is made with melted animal fat? We didn't either, but it's a fact we won't be forgetting fast.

Smol has vowed never to use animal fat in its fabric conditioners, and has since saved 16 tonnes of animal fat from being used.

How much is smol?

The smol Starter Kit is £25 – but to get a subscription of any of the refillable products including, the prices vary according to your needs (ie. how often you will use them based on your washing loads, household number, etc).

For example, if you wash your clothes twice a week, you could pay £10 for two bottles of fabric conditioner (with 64 washes each) and they'd approximately last you eight months.

Say, if you had sensitive skin and wanted to use non-bio tablets in your machine every day then you can get a 24 pack delivered every 24 days at just £4.50.

And, if you ran your dishwasher every day, too, a 30-pack can be delivered every 30 days for just 10p more – at £4.60.

You can get a free trial of any of the products included though, and pay from just £1 for postage.

How to cancel smol

If for any reason you're unhappy with your subscription, then smol offers a simple cancellation process.

According to its website, once you've received at least one 24 capsule pack, you can cancel your account or update your preferences under the 'your details' section of your account.

Otherwise, you can find the email for its customer service team here.

Is smol eco-friendly?

Hopefully, after reading this review you'd realise that the answer to this question would be: yes, absolutely!

Smol offers recycled, reusable bottles, that cut out the use of single-use plastic waste, and also can be sent back to be refilled, or recycled.

Its packaging is completely plastic-free, and sourced responsibly, with approval from the Forest Stewardship Council.

Plus, any sachets are compostable at home, in your food waste bin, and smol cuts out unnecessary shipping of water across the world – ultimately saving energy and pollution levels.

Where can I buy smol?

For more information on what products and subscription is right for you, head on over to smol's website.

Not happy with your purchase? No problem, smol offer a 100 percent money-back policy if you have any problems.

Enjoyed our review of smol's Subscription Service? You'll love our round-up of the best eco-friendly laundry products.

Fancy a responsibly-sourced coffee while you're waiting for your laundry tofinish? Check out our round-up of the best eco-friendly coffee pods.

Head on over to our dedicated Sun Selects Home section for more reviews, round-ups and recommendations.

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