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Lifeventure all purpose soap is a concentrated general purpose antibacterial liquid soap that you can use as a shampoo, a body wash, to wash fruit and vegetables and to clean your clothes.
It comes in three sizes: 100ml, 200ml and 350ml.
==How much is it?==
A quick look online says that the current price is about 5 pounds for the big bottle, 4 pounds for the medium and three for the small bottle. I bought mine when my local camping/outdoor gear shop had a 3 for 2 offer, so it was a little cheaper than that for me.
It is readily available online, and I have seen this brand in several outdoor pursuits stores in the town where I live, including Blacks, Rohan, Army & Navy, Open Air, Millets, and the local travel clinic.
==How long does a bottle last?==
I've had my 200ml bottle for several years, although I only use it when I go backpacking abroad or when camping, not as an everyday product. I reckon on using a quarter of the bottle for a fortnight's trip. I find that because it is concentrated, I use a lot less of it than I would use of my regular wash products. Its main advantage, however, is in the space it saves in my wash bag by needing fewer bottles.
==What is it like?==
The soap was a little thinner than I expected it to be - not at all "gloopy", which was surprising for a concentrated product. It lathered well and doesn't have a particularly perfumed smell to it. The squeezy bottle was designed in such a way that it was very easy to dispense the right amount without it going everywhere. In the several years I have had it, it has not leaked once all over my wash bag, which is more than I can say for my conditioner!
==Works even if you don't have fresh water==
It claims to lather in both brackish and fresh water, though I have never tried it in brackish water. I can confirm that it lathers well in fresh water, and I have never had any problems rinsing out salty garments after going in the sea.
I found that this was a bit harsh for a shampoo and left my hair feeling a little on the dry side. But my hair is prone to dryness, so I find most general purpose shampoos to be overly drying to the hair. It was easily corrected by making sure that I had a good conditioner. I imagine that most people with normal or greasy hair would be fine with this as a shampoo. I have given it only 4/5 rather than 5/5 because I still need to take a conditioner with me.
Where I have found that this product works best for me is as a shower gel. I like it because it does not have an overly strong perfumed smell to it, so it is suitable for both men and women. My skin is dry and sensitive, but I did not have problems with this. It lathered well, and I did not need very much to get clean.
==Does it wash clothes well?==
This was pretty good at washing clothes. It worked well at stopping my clothes from smelling, but I found that it did not get out really tough stains when I have used it to hand wash my clothes. However, I find that to be a common problem when hand washing clothes using travel detergents (I've tried a good few).
The one slight issue that I had was that compared to the amount I used on my skin, I needed to use quite a bit of the soap on my clothes to get a good lather (without the lather, I couldn't really tell how much of the clothes had detergent on them, so it was easy to miss bits!). Overall, I'd say it works at least as well as any other brand at getting clothes clean, but I have not yet found my elusive perfect clothes detergent that would remove even tough stains at a low temperature. It has a huge advantage over other detergents in that it is kinder to the skin. It did not irritate my hands, so I could wash the clothes without gloves.
==Does it leave a residue on fruit?==
It is branded as being good to wash fruit and vegetables with. I haven't noticed it leaving a soapy tasting residue (I tried it once to see!), but I don't generally bother using soap when washing fruit when I'm at home and I rinse it very well afterwards so that any residue is long gone!
It is antibacterial, so I suppose I should trust it to disinfect fruit in countries where I don't trust the local water. But in countries where you have to disinfect or peel fruit before eating to avoid tummy bugs, I would generally much rather peel rather than wash the fruit to be on the safe side, so I personally wouldn't generally use this product for this purpose.
This product is 100% biodegradable and pH balanced, so it is better for the environment than most detergents and soaps.
This is a good all purpose soap that I recommend for taking on backpacking holidays abroad, and for camping. It is fairly gentle, though I recommend also having a good conditioner for your hair if it is prone to dryness. It is excellent value for money, and frees space in my wash bag. I wouldn't use it as an everyday item at home though, as it is a little bit too drying for my hair for everyday use.
Several years ago I had a bit of a mad shopping spree and purchased pretty much the entire Lifeventure range from my local outdoors shop. Amongst my goodies was the Lifeventure All Purpose Travel Soap. Unfortunately not everything in the Lifeventure range really lives up to its promise (as anyone who has read my other reviews will know), however, this is the one product I buy time and time again. This all-purpose soap is by far the most effective I have tried.
** What is it? **
Lifeventure All-Purpose Soap is just what it says on the tin really. It's a bright blue, highly concentrated liquid soap that is designed for taking away with you to wash anything from yourself, to your clothes, to your fruit and veg.
** Where can I get it? **
This soap comes in three different bottle sizes (100ml, 200ml and they have just started producing a 350ml bottle). A 100ml bottle will set you back £3.99, 200ml costs £4.50 and the massive 350ml bottle is £4.99. You don't have to be a mathematician to work out therefore that if you buy a larger bottle it will work out much cheaper in the long run. Personally I like to save my pennies whenever and wherever I can, so I always buy the 350ml bottle. I bought a small 50ml reusable plastic bottle from Boots for 49p and whenever I'm going on a short break and don't want to lug my gigantic 350ml bottle with me I simply decant some into it... problem solved!
It is available to buy at most outdoors shops (including Field and Trek, Millets, Go Outdoors) as well as online (Amazon, Gear zone, Taunton Leisure and Cotswold Outdoors, amongst others) although surprisingly not from the Lifeventure website.
** When can I use it and does it work? **
This soap lives up to its all-purpose promise. The back of the bottle states it is suitable for washing bodies, hair, fruit and clothes. I've tried it in all these situations with mixed results.
First up - body and hair. I would NOT recommend you use this soap for washing your hair. Although I found it lathered up very well and left my hair clean. It also left my hair with a scent that resembled industrial cleaning fluids. Furthermore, once my hair had dried I looked like I had been dragged through a series of bushes backwards and then provided a nesting area for a flock of seagulls on top of my head. I may not be blessed with naturally sleek and stylish hair, but this was really rather ridiculous. My hair felt and looked like it had been stripped of all natural oils - which leads me to believe this soap is just too harsh for washing hair with. I also tried using this soap as a body-wash, with a slightly better outcome. A little went a really long way and I only needed a pea sized amount per shower. My skin felt a little dry afterwards and once again the smell was a bit off-putting. I had to use loads of extra moisturiser which began to defeat the object of using this as an answer to travelling light. I also have very sensitive skin on my neck and face area and found using this soap started to irritate it a little. I was happy to use this in really desperate situations but have since made sure I pack a proper shower gel. Once again I wouldn't really recommend this for washing bodies with, and would advise steering clear of it if you have very sensitive skin. Lifeventure claim this soap is pH balanced for sensitive skins, but it's not a promise I've found it to live up to.
Second up - washing clothes. This is where this soap really comes into its own. I've used lots of different concentrated, travel, liquid, laundry soap over the years but none of them are as effective as Lifeventures. If you have a large bucket/basin of water you only need to add half a capful of this liquid. A quick swish around produces masses of bubbles. For best results on really grubby clothes I tend to then leave my laundry in to soak for about half an hour. Amazingly, over this time the bubbles only diminish slightly. I then only have to scrub my clothes together with the minimum of effort and never need to use a scrubbing brush to get all the stains out. I find this soap rinses out pretty easily which is great when water is in scarce supply. Furthermore, not rinsing this out properly does not seem to have any effects on my clothes and only serves to make them smell nice. Lifeventures All Purpose Soap leaves my clothes smelling just as they should - fresh and clean.
On my last travels I only had seawater available to wash my clothes in. And found that just as promised on the bottle, this soap lathers perfectly in brackish as well as fresh water. Naturally there wasn't as much as many bubbles produced, and I would recommend adding another half capful into the same amount of salt water, to get good results. Unfortunately all my metal zips, press studs and buttons started to rust with this intensive regime of saltwater rinse and repeat. However, any rust patches that got onto the material parts of my clothes came out fine with a scrub of this soap. With tough stains like this I'd recommend pouring a tiny bit of the soap directly onto the mark and having a good old scrub of that. At the end of the trip I was very proud to be awarded 'Queen of Clean' by my colleagues, in light of my apparently sparkling daily outfits! - I owe this accolade entirely to my Lifeventure soap, of which I was the only owner on the island. I can't recommend this as a laundry soap enough.
Thirdly - using this all-purpose soap as a washing up liquid. After washing my clothes this is where I use most of the rest of this lovely liquid. Considering this soap doesn't contain any harsh detergents it does a remarkable job of cutting through grime. As always only a tiny squeeze is needed to fill a sink with bubbles. Glassware comes out smear free. Baked on food on pots and pans comes off fairly easily. And most importantly no nasty tasting residue gets left on any of my utensils.
Finally I washed my fruit and veg with Lifeventures All Purpose Soap. Generally I believe simple water is up to this task so I have never used it in this way, but for the purpose of trying out all aspects of this soap I felt obliged to do this. So I duly washed my grapes, strawberries and salad in this the other day at the kitchen sink. I only used a teeny squeeze (a pea sized amount shall we say) in the washing up bowl as I was rather concerned my lunch would be rendered inedible by the exercise. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my fruit and veg smelled just as it should, and the soap left no perceptible taste on the items. I don't really know in what situation it would be necessary to wash your fruit and veg in soap as well as water, but should you come across particularly grubby or bacteria coated morsels to eat then I would heartily recommend using Lifeventures All Purpose Soap to wash them in.
I've also used this soap to wash my rucksack, diving gear and wetsuit from time to time and with great results. Everything was left clean and smelling delightful. I also find this stuff great for cleaning kitchen surfaces. A little bit squeezed onto a damp cloth has been known to get even the grubbiest of rustic kitchens sparkling.
** How long will it last? **
A 200ml bottle will last about a month if it is used to launder clothes, to do the washing up a couple of times a day and clean a few surfaces here and there. This stuff is extremely concentrated and a little really does go a long way. I think it offers unbeatable value for money, especially when compared to other travel laundry detergents.
** Is it gentle? **
As I mentioned previously this product irritates the sensitive skin on my face and neck, and wreaks havoc on my hair. Lifeventure also clearly state it must be kept away from the eyes - so how gentle can it really be? However it seems gentle enough on my hands when I'm doing my laundry and washing up. My clothes seem to fare well being washed in this, and the colours stay vivid and don't tend to run. Finally, my grapes and lettuce leaves didn't seem to complain when they got the all-purpose treatment.
However, if you actually look at what ingredients they put in this stuff (like I have just properly done for the first time) then it doesn't inspire too much confidence really:
Second to water is SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) this is an extremely harsh foaming agent and explains why you get so many bubbles out of this. However I steer clear of SLS in all my skin care products as it has a strong link to skin problems such as dermatitis and excema. After reading the rest of the ingredients (Cocamide DEA, Cocomiopropyl Betaine, Sodium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Triclosan, Benzophenone-4, Citric acid, Benzyl alcohol, Methylchlorothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Magnesium chloride, Magnesium nitrate and CI 42090) I have decided never again to use this stuff without wearing gloves!
** Is it environmentally friendly? **
According to Lifeventure this product is 100% biodegradable and won't harm the environment. With an ingredients list like the one listed above I'm not sure I'd be happy ever again to chuck my wastewater into the nearest bush though.
The plastic bottle is fully recyclable. Unfortunately it has been injection moulded with a tiny hole in the top so there is no way of re-using this bottle (unless you happen across the smallest funnel in the world perhaps...).
** Overall **
If you are travelling light and need a concentrated soap for washing your laundry and/or kitchen utensils in, then I would happily recommend Lifeventures All-Purpose Soap. I would not recommend so much washing yourself with this product, and if you have any shred of dignity keep this product well away from your head of hair!
I have to knock a star off for the disappointing performance of this product when used to wash hair and body. However, having tried a few other all-purpose liquid soaps this has to be the best performer by far.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review I hope you found it useful :)
This review is posted on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my username sbeach000