A good all-purpose cleaner is the secret weapon in your cleaning arsenal. Not only are they safe to use on a wide variety of surfaces, but the best ones will cut through grease and wipe up grime without tough scrubbing or leaving any residue behind.
These go-to powerhouses are able to clean countertops, painted walls, floors, appliances, bathroom and kitchen surfaces, plastic furniture and more. Spray cleaners are usually best for small, targeted areas, like walls, counters and stovetops, while dilutables are well-suited for big jobs and cleaning large areas, like floors and outdoor furniture.
Do all-purpose cleaners kill germs?
Some do, but not all. Keep in mind that any cleaning and wiping method will physically remove some germs from a surface, but to kill them, specific ingredients are required. Sanitizing and disinfecting cleaners go the extra mile and are able to kill germs — usually bacteria and viruses — on hard non-porous surfaces.
Remember that a surface must be clean first before the sanitizing and disinfecting ingredients can work, and it must remain wet for the time required on the product label to be effective. Sometimes, this means you have to reapply the product if it dries too quickly. To be sure an all-purpose cleaner you are considering actually kills germs as claimed, look for the EPA registration number. It’s usually on a bottom corner of the back label. That assures you the product is proven to be effective when used as directed.
1). Best Overall: Better Life Natural All Purpose Cleaner
Cleaning products that are affordable, don’t rely on harmful chemicals, clean a variety of surfaces well and are beloved by their users easily rank among the “best overall.” Better Life’s Natural All-Purpose Cleaner fits all of these criteria. The clear and unscented cleaning solution is free of petroleum, alkyphenol surfactants and VOCs, but it has no trouble tackling grease, dirt and stains.
Safe with kids and pets, and never tested on animals, this “green” cleaner can be used on just about any surface. It also smells great and does not require any rinsing.
2). Best Green: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner
Green or eco-friendly cleaning products have become increasingly popular as people give more attention to the products we expose ourselves to and what chemicals are used to make a cleaning product. Most “green” products use plant-based active ingredients and avoid harsh chemicals altogether. Two of the biggest and best brands in green cleaning are Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and Method.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner is made with plant-based materials and is never tested on animals. This sprayable all-purpose cleaner features scents like lemon verbena or basil for a more pleasant cleaning experience. Although this cleaner is biodegradable, it still gets the job done. Mrs. Meyer’s recommends this concentrated cleaner for any nonporous surface, such as bathroom walls, kitchen countertops and wood furniture.
3). Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is so versatile that it can be used either diluted or at full-strength, both indoors and outdoors, and for heavy, average, or light cleaning jobs. In our tests, it cleaned surfaces, including tile, chrome, concrete, grill grates, cooking tools, patio furniture and more with impressive results. We also used it to remove stains we applied to carpet and cotton laundry swatches. It’s the most versatile all-purpose cleaner we have ever tested. It’s available in large-size jugs, too.
4). Mr. Clean Multi-Purpose Cleaner
For floors, outdoor furniture, and trash cans, mix ¼ cup of Seal star Mr. Clean Multi-Purpose Cleaner in one gallon of water. Or, for tough grime, use it directly from the bottle on a sponge. Mr. Clean always tops our Cleaning Lab tests and besides being a great value, works quickly and without the need for extra rinsing or wiping.
5). Active-Probiotics Surface Cleaner
If you are looking for a new way to clean, VEO is it. This innovative, biodegradable formula contains active probiotics to not just clean away dirt, but break it down at a microscopic level. When you spray it on surfaces, it penetrates deep into cracks and crevices and continues to break down trapped, hidden grime and dirt for up to three days. In our GH Cleaning Lab tests, it did a great job dissolving greasy soil on kitchen surfaces and was easy to wipe clean without streaking. Like with many all-purpose cleaners, food contact surfaces do require a rinse with water after cleaning. VEO comes in two scents — Apple and Jasmine and Citrus Blossom.