The Best All-Purpose Cleaner You Can Buy Might Surprise You
Don't settle for just any all-purpose cleaner. We tested 17 to find out which is the best for cleaning almost every inch of your home.
After a day of baking, cooking and entertaining, I like to make cleanup as easy as possible. For me, that means grabbing a single cleaning product to tackle the whole post-party teardown: an all-purpose cleaner. But I know from experience that not all all-purpose cleaners are created equal. Some might be good at cleaning rings off my glass coffee table but flop when it comes to sticky spills on the counter. Others get the dirt but leave streaks behind.
That’s why Taste of Home put 17—yes, a whopping 17!—all-purpose cleaners to the test. Staffers tested these cleaners on all kinds of surfaces like dingy windows, sticky tabletops and downright dirty counters, all in hopes of finding a good all-purpose cleaner to rule them all.
The Best All-Purpose Cleaner: Green Works Multi-Surface Cleaner
When you need a good clean for general messes, look no further than Green Works Multi-Surface Cleaner. This all-purpose spray combines the strength of a conventional cleaner (Green Works is manufactured by Clorox) with the friendly ingredients of a natural brand.
In our tests, Green Works really cleaned up. Dusty windows were left sparklingly clean and positively streak-free. In fact, it managed to pick up more dust on glass surfaces than any other cleaner. When it came to common kitchen surfaces like tabletops and counters, this multi-surface spray cleaned them easily. A single spritz had the power to clean up everyday grime with ease. What was really impressive, though, was its ability to cut through greasy messes. This can be difficult for most cleaning products, but Green Works grabbed all the greasy mess left behind by baking (I’m talking butter and cooking spray) and left no residue.
To top it all off, Green Works had a very mild citrus scent. It made the surfaces smell clean, but wasn’t too overpowering to work with in small spaces.
$2.84 for a 32-ounce bottle; available at retailers nationwide.
More Everyday Cleaning Superstars
Method All-Purpose Cleaner
Natural brand Method also did well with everyday cleaning. Wiping down windows, dusty surfaces and greasy counters was a breeze. Sticky messes required a few extra sprays of product, though. In our testers’ opinions, a few extra spritzes to clean up the mess wasn’t too big of a deal since Method had friendly ingredients, plus smelled very nice. Our testers used the clementine-scented formula, but others, like lavender, are also pleasant and clean without being too strong or artificial.
$2.99 for a 28-ounce bottle; available in multiple scents—including clementine, lavender and pink grapefruit—at select retailers nationwide.
Lysol Bleach-Free Hydrogen Peroxide Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Looking for an all-purpose cleaner with a little extra strength? Opt for Lysol’s bleach-free formula. Powered by hydrogen peroxide, this cleaner did really well cleaning up greasy fingerprints off of glass and easily cut through grime on refrigerator shelves (not an easy task!). It’s a great tool to have on hand for stubborn messes on counters, tabletops and more.
$6.23 for a 32-ounce bottle; available at retailers nationwide.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to all-purpose cleaner, don’t discount naturally derived formulas. Two of our Best Loved Brands in this test were natural products (and other eco-friendly brands did well in our testing, too). If you need something with more oomph, look for familiar names like Lysol.
How to Keep (Almost) Everything Clean with All-Purpose Cleaner
As the name implies, all-purpose cleaner is good for just about everything in your home. Use it throughout your kitchen, to clean windows and even tidy up the bathroom. The biggest tip from our Test Kitchen is to always be sure to clean in an S-pattern, especially when you’re tackling windows. This will drag all the dust in grime to the bottom of the window where you can easily wipe it away. If you clean in circles, you’ll just be redistributing dust where you wiped clean!
Also, spray cleaner on your rag versus the surface you’re cleaning. This will ensure you don’t create buildup on your surfaces causing your home to be dirtier. Check out these other ways you might be making your home dirtier while cleaning and then take a look at our best cleaning tips in the video.
Be sure to check out our other Best Loved Brands to keep your house feeling clean and fresh (and to keep your pantry stocked with the very best, too!).
Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.