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Is downing a pint of Fairy Liquid genuinely a good hangover cure?

Charlie Brooks is alleged to have tried to down a pint of the bright green dish soap to try and cure his hangover.

A bottle of Fairy Liquid. Photo: James Elliman/Flickr
A bottle of Fairy Liquid. Photo: James Elliman/Flickr

Today, in the trial of Charlie Brooks (husband of Rebekah, accused of perverting the course of justice, which he denies), this happened (as told by the Guardian):

A friend called as a character witness for his defence said that Brooks was "capable of being completely daft".

In a statement read to court, the jury heard that Sara Bradstock, the daughter of the now deceased former jockey and BBC commentator Lord Oaksey, is a good friend of Charlie Brooks, who was the best man at her wedding.

"I once found him frothing at the mouth looking close to death one morning, only to discover that he had not been bitten by a rabid dog, but had drunk a pint of Fairy Liquid to try and rid himself of the excesses of the night before," she said.

The inevitable question this raises is this: is Fairy Liquid any good as a hangover cure? The answer may surprise you, especially if you think the answer is "yes". Because the answer is "no".

We can assume to understand what Charlie might have been thinking - he needs to cleanse his body of its aches and nausea, and if Fairy Liquid works for cleaning dishes, maybe it'll work inside a human? The problem with this should be obvious, but let's be clear: it's about as logical a train of thought as drinking the contents of a fire extinguisher post-curry. There also is no such thing as a hangover cure, despite the efforts of countless scientists to find one. The only surefire cure for a hangover, in fact, is to not drink in the first place.

This fact sheet, produced by Proctor & Gamble, lists the dangers of ingesting Fairy Liquid All-In-One Original (that's the famous green type). The good news is that it's not carcinogenic, corrosive or toxic, and swallowing it is probably going to result in nothing more than an upset stomach and some extra time in the toilet. It is an irritant though, and can cause "serious eye damage". It's also poisonous to fish, but not plants.

In fact, the most remarkable thing (which is, therefore, also the thing worth being most sceptical about) is that Charlie Brooks is alleged to have drunk an entire pint of the stuff. That's extremely unlikely - it's such an irritable substance that it's likely to have caused him to vomit after only a few sips.

For experimental evidence of Fairy Liquid's general disgustingness as a consumable item, this post on My Foodee Blog where the writer fries up some prawns in an oil, Fairy Liquid, chili flakes, lemon juice and sundried tomato jus offers a compelling reason not to follow Charlie's lead:

You will be surprised to learn it is absolutely disgusting. Repulsive. Vomit inducing. Overpoweringly chemicall-y.  Oily, weirdly fragrant (in a nasty pine way). And it really burns my mouth, but that could be the chilies as well as the Fairy Liquid.

Overall a total disaster, but I guess you saw that coming. But on the plus side, my frying pan was super easy to clean!