Consumer Reports has cleaned up hundreds of stains to uncover the best all-purpose cleaner. Find out which cleaners did the best in the mess tests, and whether thy live up to their claims.
The commercial says, "Why spend hundreds of dollars a year on countless household cleaners?"
TV commercials make gleaming promises about all-purpose cleaners.
Consumer Reports cut through the hype by conducting tough tests on 19 all-purpose cleaners, including big names like Clorox, Lysol, and Pine-Sol.
Testers slather tiles with stubborn stains like grape juice, mustard, ketchup, and grease. They also spray a soap scum residue on bathroom tiles. Then, the cleaners are applied as directed.
Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman of Consumer Reports says, "Most say you just spray them on and wipe. Others are a bit more labor intensive. You have to apply them and then rinse them off."
The tiles are then placed in a scrubbing machine. It gives each tile the same number of swipes with a paper towel. Some cleaners worked better than others.
Testers also left the cleaners on a variety of surfaces overnight to mimic an unnoticed spill.
Some marred metal finishes, which could be a problem with your kitchen or bathroom faucets.
Lehrman says, "We found in our tests that with convenience came a little less cleaning power. None of the sprays excelled at cleaning all the stains."
After scrubbing more than 500 tiles, only one cleaner did well enough to be recommended-Pine-Sol Original. It's not as easy to use as a spray. But it beat all the other cleaners by a wide margin.
If you still would rather use a spray, Consumer Reports says your best option is Seventh Generation Natural All Purpose.