Consumer Reports test all-purpose cleaners

January 18, 2011 3:04:34 PM PST
Americans spend more than $5-billion per year on cleaning products, so an all-purpose cleaner probably sounds like a good deal.

The question is - which ones work the best?

Consumer Reports testers spread mustard, ketchup, and cooking grease on glass or tile and left them overnight.

Then, they tried 13 different cleaners according to manufacturers' instructions.

So were the cleaners able to make the stains disappear? Not always - One panel still had mustard and grease left behind.

Testers also checked to see how well the cleaners removed caked-on soap scum and whether the cleaners streaked. There were big differences.

"Because cleaners can spill and you may not notice it, we also left them overnight on marble, granite, stainless steel, and other surfaces to see if they caused any damage," says Bob Markovich of Consumer Reports.

Nearly all the cleaners left visible stains on brass.

So can one all-purpose cleaner do it all? Several green cleaners did well -- though not on everything. Top-rated Nature's Source did particularly well on soap scum, and it left fewer streaks and stained surfaces. However, it's not great for grease.

Better for that and other stains is Ecover Natural, but use it with care as it stained many surfaces when left on overnight in Consumer Reports' tests.

The Clorox Clean-up with Bleach did not do the best in Consumer Reports' cleaning tests. Out of the 13, it ranked number 10.

But Clorox tells Action News, "Results can vary depending on how tests are done and the types of soils being used. Our internal tests show different results than what was found in Consumer Reports."

One of the primary benefits of Clorox clean-up is, in addition to cleaning, it kills the cold and flu virus on surfaces.

Consumer reports says when you need a disinfectant, like cleaning your toilet, choose Walmart's Great Value with Bleach cleaner.