The best sprays, wipes and solutions to clean any surface.
Sometimes you don’t have the space or time for a variety of cleaning products. You just want a product that is safe to use on all surfaces, whether it’s floors or countertops.
An all-purpose cleaner is a great choice for big jobs. These all-in-one cleaners can tackle grease and grime in every room of your house.
Whether it’s your bathroom floor or your kitchen surfaces, an all-purpose cleaner will get the job done.
With so many products out there, it can be hard trying to choose just one cleaner. That’s why we’ve tested a variety of products to find the 8 best all-purpose cleaners.
Our Top PicksThehousewire earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.
What to Look For in a All-Purpose Cleaner
All-purpose cleaners are made with different ingredients, concentrations and many other variables. To be sure you’re picking the best cleaner for your household needs, you need to know what to look for.
- Spray Bottles: Spray bottle cleaners like this Carfidant Ultimate Car Interior Cleaner are popular for a good reason. They’re easy to use–just spray and wipe! They’re perfect for spot cleaning or other light cleaning jobs.
- Squirt Bottles: This type of cleaner is great for tackling stubborn grease. You can apply the product directly onto a sponge and clean away. This Soft Scrub Total All-Purpose is perfect for surfaces like stoves and countertops.
- Refill Containers: These are great to top up your spray bottles or to put into the fluid cartridge of your spray mop. You can often find concentrated cleaners sold as refill containers. They’re often used in industrial, medical or commercial spaces, like this Lucasol One Step Hospital Grade Disinfectante.
- “Ready-to-Use” Wipes: These are single-use wipes that can clean hard surfaces in the car, traveling, or around the house. They work best for quick, small jobs, and can remove grease and grime without the need for a sponge.
The best multi-purpose cleaner for you will always depend on the tools you have, and the size of space you’re cleaning.
Having one cleaner do everything is easier and faster for you, and more budget-friendly. Multi-purpose cleaners are designed to be versatile, so they should be safe on most surfaces too.
But of course, there are some surfaces in your home that require special care. Surfaces like hardwood floors, glass and upholstery aren’t always the best fit for a multi-use cleaner.
For example, toilet bowls need toilet bowl cleaners. So you should buy a targeted product formulated for such surfaces, to clean them safely and effectively.
You’ll find some all-purpose cleaners are both cleaners and disinfectants – just like this All-Purpose VIREX Disinfectant Cleaner.
This means while they clean they will also kill household bacteria. Some common household bacteria include: salmonella, e. coli and listeria.
Since some of this bacteria comes from uncooked or unwashed food, these anti-bacterial cleaners are perfect to use in the kitchen. Areas like faucets, kitchen and bathroom counters, and any other place where bacteria may live, can all benefit from a disinfecting cleaner.
If you’re using a cleaner in your home, it’s important to know what those cleaners are made of. The ingredients can make a difference if you have allergies, sensitivities or want to avoid certain products.
Chemical cleaners are useful for big cleaning jobs, or if you need sanitizing and cleaning at the same time. Keep in mind that chemical cleaners contain harsh ingredients, which can affect your health.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), some cleaning chemicals can lead to birth defects, asthma and be carcinogenic. (1)
Chemical product manufacturers are not required to list ingredients on their products. This can be a problem if you have sensitivities, or are worried about ingesting chemicals.
This is certainly a concern for houses with children or pets – who like to put things into their mouths.
Despite these risks, chemical cleaners are very effective. If you need the heavy duty cleaning power without the worry, look for “Safer Choice” on the product label.
On the other end of the spectrum are cleaners that are labeled “natural”. These are cleaners that are designed to be less harmful to your health, and the environment.
“Natural” cleaners use chemicals made from corn or other similar products, rather than petroleum (2). Some may also contain natural ingredients such as plan extracts or essential oils.
Though these cleaners are made from renewable resources, these “natural” ingredients actually are very similar chemically to petroleum derived ingredients.
It’s possible that their health and environmental impacts are actually not that different.
Although they are marketed as the “safer” choice, it’s impossible to rule out any health effects. Different ingredients can interact with each other and cause a variety of different health effects.
One thing you should be careful of when it comes to natural cleaners is their effect on surfaces. Especially when it comes to “homemade” natural solutions.
For example, baking soda is a common natural solution, but it is actually very corrosive on carpet.
- Concentrated Cleaners: These cleaners are concentrated and meant to be mixed with water before using. They usually come in bulk size containers and are cheaper than ready-to-use products. This Fabuloso Multi-Purpose Cleaner comes in a large pour bottle — perfect to add to a mop bucket.
- Complete Cleaners: These are ready-to-use cleaners that do not need to be mixed with water. These cleaners get used up faster than concentrated cleaners, so you’ll pay more money in the long term.
Some cleaning products or situations require multiple applications, so keep this in mind when you’re deciding on the concentration.
How We Tested
We tested an assortment of all-purpose cleaners in our own home to see how they stacked up against each other. They were tested on a variety of surfaces, from painted walls and glass to countertops, cooking tools, and floors.
What we wanted to find out was how well these products performed against dust, grease, caked-on grime, and hard water stains.
We were also able to test how these cleaners smelled, handled and if they left behind residue.
Finally, we took a close look at their labels, warnings, and ingredients.
The Best All-Purpose Cleaners of 2022
We spent time researching and testing the best all-purpose cleaners so you don’t have to. These eight cleaners were judged in terms of value, quantity, effectiveness and a multitude of other criteria.
We compared our own findings to real customer reviews, and here are the results.
1. Mr. Clean Multi Surface Cleaner
We loved its innovative sprayer. It worked at any angle and has a continuous spray option for cleaning large surfaces.
We also noticed that this all-purpose cleaner also has a foamy spray, to really soak up grease and dirt. It was great to use in the bathroom since the spray foam really helped break down soap scum.
- No harsh chemical smells
- Wide spray area
- Cuts through grease and soap scum
- Safe to use in the kitchen and bathroom
- Unique bottle shape is difficult to grip
|Surfaces||Counters, stovetops, porcelain, tile, showers, stainless steel|
2. PURELL Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray
Technically speaking, this isn’t a cleaner. So you have to clean the surfaces first. Which is what we did.
Then, we used it on a variety of hard surfaces such as kitchen countertops, grill grates, or toilets. But it can also be used for frequently touched surfaces like faucets, doorknobs, light switches, or toys.
And we were impressed by the performance of this disinfectant.
What we also found great is that this disinfecting cleaner doesn’t need to be rinsed afterward. There are no harsh chemicals either, so we felt safe using them around pets and children.
- Dries quickly
- Can be used on fabric and upholstery
- Can disinfect food contact surfaces safely
- Strong overwhelming citrus smell
- Leaves a residue unless wiped
|Surfaces||Counters, upholstery, toys, appliances|
3. Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner
Made from plant-based ingredients, we used this all-purpose cleaner in food and in bathrooms areas feeling completely safe.
In fact, it is safe to use around pets, children, and on almost any household surface for disinfecting germs and to freshen up any room.
- Naturally derived fragrance — no chemical smell
- Great for wiping away dust
- Safe for cleaning toys
- Informative packaging
- Kills germs
- Will not remove stains
- Doesn’t tackle grease as well as other cleaners
- Only sufficient for light cleaning jobs
|Surfaces||Appliances, countertops, wood, glass|
|Scent||Green tea & lime|
4. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner
During our tests, this light lemon-scented cleaner made the living room smell amazing while also doing an amazing job cleaning.
We found that Mrs. Meyers is especially great for white surfaces like trim, walls, and cabinets.
We also observed that the lemon ingredients act as a whitener. They removed dirt and brightened hard surfaces and outdoor furniture like never before.
And we felt good also knowing that this cleaner is a biodegradable formula and made without any artificial colors.
- Perfect handheld sized bottle
- Smells natural and not overpowering
- Cleans and polishes with one wipe
- Not safe to use around pets or children
- Spray nozzle feels flimsy
|Surfaces||Hard nonporous surfaces, tile, porcelain, bathroom counters, walls|
5. Microban 24 Hour Multi-Purpose Cleaner
For heavy duty dirt around the home, this Microban multi-purpose cleaner does the job no problem.
With just a few sprays, this all-purpose cleaner started to work against rust and soap scum on our bathroom surfaces.
We also tested it on our faucets: A few scrubs and the stainless steel looked as good as new!
We recommend having good ventilation before you use this cleaner, to avoid breathing in any chemical fumes.
- Fast acting
- Cleans and disinfects at the same time
- Very little product needed to get results
- Strong chemical smell
- Not safe for food contact surfaces
|Surfaces||Tile, laminate, metal|
6. Tub O’ Towels Cleaning Wipes
These disposable wipes are made with a durable fiber weave, so they are perfect for in the car.
We appreciated the compact packaging. It makes these wipes perfect to throw in the car, in a suitcase, or pretty much anywhere.
They were great for removing dust from our dashboard and left our car smelling lemony fresh. The best part was the solution dried quickly, and there was no clean-up afterward!
- Wipes won’t rip
- Lots of cleaning solution on wipes
- Comes with 40 wipes to clean the whole car
- Soft on hands, ingredients include aloe vera
- Artificial lemon scent
- Wipes don’t dispense very easily
|Surfaces||Walls, floors, carpet, auto interiors and exteriors|
7. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
The bottle claims this cleaner can tackle tough dirt at full concentration. Or, it can be diluted with water to form a more gentle everyday cleaner.
To test this product’s abilities, we put it to work in the shower against soap scum. It cleaned fast. And there weren’t any streaks or residue left behind, even on a glass shower door!
- Tackles tough dirt without the chemical smell
- Nozzle has spray or stream option
- Concentrated or diluted option
- Artificial green coloring
- Wouldn’t use on white surfaces in case of staining
- Spray nozzle leaked during use
|Surfaces||Carpets, countertops, appliances|
8. Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner
This multi-purpose cleaner is designed to cut through grime and grease in the bathroom and the kitchen.
The cleaner is made from plant-derived cleaning products like soap bark, coconut and corn.
This makes it safe to use around pets and children, and around food in your kitchen. During our testing season; it worked great as a floor cleaner for spills and wiping away dirty paw prints.
- Comes with lots of product
- Cleans greasy finger (or paw) prints
- Lightly fragranced with natural products
- Spray nozzle is flimsy
- Does not disinfect surfaces
|Surfaces||Ccounters, upholstery, floors, auto interiors|
All-Purpose Cleaners Comparison Chart
|Mr. Clean||1.3 pounds||counters, stovetops, porcelain, tile, showers, stainless steel||lavender|
|PURELL Disinfectant Spray||1.75 pounds||counters, upholstery, toys, appliances||citrus|
|Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner||1.56 pounds||appliances, countertops, wood, glass||green tea & lime|
|Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day||1 pound||hard nonporous surfaces, tile, porcelain, bathroom counters, walls||lemon verbena|
|Microban 24 Hr Cleaner||1.38 pounds||tile, laminate, metal||“fresh scent”|
|Tub O' Towels Wipes||10.2 ounces||walls, floors, carpet, auto interiors and exteriors||citrus|
| Simple Green Cleaner||1.63 pounds||carpets, countertops, appliances||N/A|
|Better Life Natural Cleaner||2 pounds||counters, upholstery, floors, auto interiors||pomegranate|
Multi-surface cleaners cover a wide variety of your cleaning needs. Here are some common questions about what a multi-purpose cleaner can and can’t do.
What Is an All-Purpose Cleaner?
That means it has to be strong enough to tackle dirt, but gentle enough not to cause any damage.
However, there are no standard ingredients for a multi-surface cleaner. And they are generally categorized as either disinfectants, degreasers or gentle multi-use cleaners.
Also, different brands work better on certain surfaces, which is why a “best of” list can help narrow down your options.
Do All-Purpose Cleaners Sanitize?
So to know if a cleaner disinfects, check if it includes words like “disinfecting” on the label.
But keep in mind that a multi-surface cleaner’s main job is to clean dirt – not necessarily kill germs. On the other hand, a disinfecting solution’s main job is to kill germs and bacteria.
Because of this, they will have different ingredients than a multi-purpose cleaner. And a disinfectant generally will not clean dirt and grease effectively like a multi-surface cleaner would.
What Are All-Purpose Cleaners For?
So they will usually include ingredients that are safe for a variety of hard surfaces floors, like wood, marble and stainless steel.
But always read the label of your cleaner, even if it seems safe. Most manufacturers will include a list of surfaces that are not compatible with their product.
And keep in mind that some multi-surface cleaners will still have harsh chemicals that can’t be used in areas like a kitchen.
To be 100% sure, most manufacturers include a phone number on their labels. So don’t hesitate to contact them with any questions.
Can I Use Vinegar as an All-Purpose Cleaner?
Household surfaces that shouldn’t be cleaned with vinegar include:
- Stone floors (slate, granite, bluestone, brownstone, sandstone, quartzite)
On the other hand, vinegar is excellent at cleaning glass without leaving streaks. It also works on rust stains in sinks and can help polish brass and copper.