The Best All-Purpose Cleaners Tested by Our Experts

By
Gladys K. Connelly
As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a professional housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.
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Updated March 25, 2022

The best sprays, wipes and solutions to clean any surface.

The best sprays, wipes and solutions to clean any surface.

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Best All Purpose Cleaners
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 Picks

Thehousewire earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.
8 Best All-Purpose Cleaners of 2022 
Mr. Clean All Purpose Cleaner, Clean Freak Mist for Bathroom & Kitchen Cleaner, Lavender & Lemon Scent, 3 Count (16 fl oz each)Best Overall

Mr. Clean

Mr. Clean All Purpose Cleaner, Clean Freak Mist for Bathroom & Kitchen Cleaner, Lavender & Lemon Scent, 3 Count (16 fl oz each)

  • No harsh chemical smells

  • Wide spray area

  • Cuts through grease

PURELL Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray, Citrus Scent, 28 fl oz Capped Bottle with Spray Trigger in Pack (Pack of 2) - 2844-02-ECCALBest Disinfectant

PURELL Disinfectant Spray

PURELL Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray, Citrus Scent, 28 fl oz Capped Bottle with Spray Trigger in Pack (Pack of 2) - 2844-02-ECCAL

  • Dries quickly

  • Use on fabric and upholstery

  • Disinfect food contact surfaces safely

Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner, Natural Everyday Household All Purpose Cleaner, 99.96% Plant-Based Cleaning Spray, Kitchen and Countertop Multisurface Cleaner, 25 Fl Oz (2-Pack)Best Plant-Based

Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner

Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner, Natural Everyday Household All Purpose Cleaner, 99.96% Plant-Based Cleaning Spray, Kitchen and Countertop Multisurface Cleaner, 25 Fl Oz (2-Pack)

  • Great for wiping away dust

  • Safe for cleaning toys

  • Kills germs

Mrs. Meyer's All-Purpose Cleaner Spray, Lemon Verbena, 16 fl. oz - Pack of 3Best Scent

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

Mrs. Meyer's All-Purpose Cleaner Spray, Lemon Verbena, 16 fl. oz - Pack of 3

  • Perfect handheld sized bottle

  • Smells natural

  • Cleans and polishes

Microban 24 Hour Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Sanitizing and Disinfectant Spray, Fresh Scent, 22 Ounce (Pack of 2)Best Long-Lasting

Microban 24 Hr Cleaner

Microban 24 Hour Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Sanitizing and Disinfectant Spray, Fresh Scent, 22 Ounce (Pack of 2)

  • Fast acting

  • Cleans and disinfects

  • Very little product needed

Tub O Towels TW90 Heavy-Duty 10' x 12' Size Multi-Surface Cleaning Wipes, 90 Count Per CanisterBest for Car Interiors

Tub O' Towels Wipes

Tub O Towels TW90 Heavy-Duty 10' x 12' Size Multi-Surface Cleaning Wipes, 90 Count Per Canister

  • Wipes won’t rip

  • Comes with 40 wipes

  • Soft on hands

Simple Green AllPurpose Cleaner Spray and Refill, Green, 3 Piece Set, Original, 1 CountBest Concentrated Cleaner

Simple Green Cleaner

Simple Green AllPurpose Cleaner Spray and Refill, Green, 3 Piece Set, Original, 1 Count

  • Tackles tough dirt

  • Spray or stream option

  • Concentrated or diluted option

Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, Safe Around Kids & Pets, 2409C, 32 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)Best for Kitchens

Better Life Natural Cleaner

Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, Safe Around Kids & Pets, 2409C, 32 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)

  • Lots of product

  • Cleans greasy prints

  • Lightly fragranced

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.

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Types

All-purpose cleaners can be found in one of these four types of packaging:

  • 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.

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Usage

An all-purpose cleaner needs to be able to clean almost any surface.

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.

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Ingredients

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.

Chemicals

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.

Natural

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.

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Concentration

Most all-purpose cleaners in today’s market come in two types of concentration.

  • 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

Mr. Clean Multi Surface Cleaner

Best Overall All-Purpose Cleaner

4.5View on AmazonView on Walmart
Our Ratings
  • Bottle information 4/5
  • Application 4/5
  • Drying time 5/5
  • Cleaning performance 5/5
  • Scent 5/5
With this cleaner, Mr. Clean truly lives up to his namesake. If there’s just one product you have in your cupboard, make sure it’s this one.

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.
Mr. Clean Multi Surface Cleaner Tested On Toilets

PROS

  • No harsh chemical smells
  • Wide spray area
  • Cuts through grease and soap scum
  • Safe to use in the kitchen and bathroom

CONS

  • Unique bottle shape is difficult to grip

Additional Specs

Weight 1.3 pounds
Surfaces Counters, stovetops, porcelain, tile, showers, stainless steel
Scent Lavender

2. PURELL Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray

PURELL Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray

Best All-Purpose Disinfectant

4View on AmazonView on Walmart
Our Ratings
  • Bottle information 4/5
  • Application 4/5
  • Drying time 5/5
  • Cleaning performance 3/5
  • Scent 3/5
Something we are all concerned about is sanitizing from germs. Purell has made this disinfecting cleaner in a convenient spray bottle to use around the home with ease.

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.
PURELL Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray In a Dishwasher

PROS

  • Dries quickly
  • Can be used on fabric and upholstery
  • Can disinfect food contact surfaces safely

CONS

  • Strong overwhelming citrus smell
  • Leaves a residue unless wiped

Additional Specs

Weight 1.75 pounds
Surfaces Counters, upholstery, toys, appliances
Scent Citrus

3. Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner

Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner

Best Plant-Based All-Purpose Cleaner

4View on AmazonView on Puracy
Our Ratings
  • Bottle information 5/5
  • Application 4/5
  • Drying time 4/5
  • Cleaning performance 3/5
  • Scent 4/5
Busy households are likely to have germs and bacteria end up on all sorts of surfaces. We found that this Puracy cleaner is the perfect way to disinfect – while making sure no harmful chemicals end up in our home.

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.
Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner tested on a window

PROS

  • Naturally derived fragrance — no chemical smell
  • Great for wiping away dust
  • Safe for cleaning toys
  • Informative packaging
  • Kills germs

CONS

  • Will not remove stains
  • Doesn’t tackle grease as well as other cleaners
  • Only sufficient for light cleaning jobs

Additional Specs

Weight 1.56 pounds
Surfaces Appliances, countertops, wood, glass
Scent Green tea & lime

4. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner

Best All-Purpose Cleaner Scent

4.5View on AmazonView on Walmart
Our Ratings
  • Bottle information 4/5
  • Application 4/5
  • Drying time 5/5
  • Cleaning performance 5/5
  • Scent 5/5
Sometimes after your cleaning routine you need to air out your home—not with this multi-purpose 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.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner tested on a table

PROS

  • Perfect handheld sized bottle
  • Smells natural and not overpowering
  • Cleans and polishes with one wipe

CONS

  • Not safe to use around pets or children
  • Spray nozzle feels flimsy

Related: Best Floor Cleaning Supplies to Have On Hand

Additional Specs

Weight 1 pound
Surfaces Hard nonporous surfaces, tile, porcelain, bathroom counters, walls
Scent Lemon verbena

5. Microban 24 Hour Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Microban 24 Hour Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Best Long-Lasting All-Purpose Cleaner

3View on AmazonView on Walmart
Our Ratings
  • Bottle information 4/5
  • Application 5/5
  • Drying time 4/5
  • Cleaning performance 5/5
  • Scent 2/5

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.
Microban 24 Hour Multi-Purpose Cleaner tested on a faucet

PROS

  • Fast acting
  • Cleans and disinfects at the same time
  • Very little product needed to get results

CONS

  • Strong chemical smell
  • Not safe for food contact surfaces

Additional Specs

Weight 1.38 pounds
Surfaces Tile, laminate, metal
Scent “Fresh scent”

6. Tub O’ Towels Cleaning Wipes

Tub O' Towels Cleaning Wipes

Best All-Purpose Cleaner for Car Interiors

4View on AmazonView on Walmart
Our Ratings
  • Bottle information 4/5
  • Application 4/5
  • Drying time 5/5
  • Cleaning performance 4/5
  • Scent 3/5
For convenience and portability, you can’t beat a cleaning wipe like this Tub O’ Towels.

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!
Tub O' Towels Cleaning Wipes tested in a car

PROS

  • 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

CONS

  • Artificial lemon scent
  • Wipes don’t dispense very easily

Additional Specs

Weight 10.2 ounces
Surfaces Walls, floors, carpet, auto interiors and exteriors
Scent Citrus

7. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner

Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner

Best All-Purpose Concentrated Cleaner

4View on AmazonView on Walmart
Our Ratings
  • Bottle information 4/5
  • Application 3/5
  • Drying time 5/5
  • Cleaning performance 5/5
  • Scent 4/5
A little can go a long way when you have a concentrated cleaner like this Simple Green.

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!
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner tested in the shower

PROS

  • Tackles tough dirt without the chemical smell
  • Nozzle has spray or stream option
  • Concentrated or diluted option

CONS

  • Artificial green coloring
  • Wouldn’t use on white surfaces in case of staining
  • Spray nozzle leaked during use

Additional Specs

Weight 1.63 pounds
Surfaces Carpets, countertops, appliances
Scent N/A

8. Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

Best All-Purpose Cleaner for Kitchens

4.5View on AmazonView on Walmart
Our Ratings
  • Bottle information 4/5
  • Application 4/5
  • Drying time 5/5
  • Cleaning performance 5/5
  • Scent 5/5
For an all-purpose cleaner that smells great, cleans well, and has non-toxic ingredients, look no further than Better Life.

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.
Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner on a hard surface

PROS

  • Comes with lots of product
  • Cleans greasy finger (or paw) prints
  • Lightly fragranced with natural products

CONS

  • Spray nozzle is flimsy
  • Does not disinfect surfaces

Additional Specs

Weight 2 pounds
SurfacesCcounters, upholstery, floors, auto interiors
Scent Pomegranate

All-Purpose Cleaners Comparison Chart

ProductWeightSurfaceScentRating
Mr. Clean1.3 poundscounters, stovetops, porcelain, tile, showers, stainless steellavender4.5
PURELL Disinfectant Spray1.75 poundscounters, upholstery, toys, appliancescitrus4
Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner1.56 poundsappliances, countertops, wood, glassgreen tea & lime4
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day1 poundhard nonporous surfaces, tile, porcelain, bathroom counters, wallslemon verbena4.5
Microban 24 Hr Cleaner1.38 poundstile, laminate, metal“fresh scent”3
Tub O' Towels Wipes10.2 ounceswalls, floors, carpet, auto interiors and exteriorscitrus4
Simple Green Cleaner
1.63 poundscarpets, countertops, appliancesN/A4
Better Life Natural Cleaner2 poundscounters, upholstery, floors, auto interiorspomegranate 4.5
Jump to the Full All-Purpose Cleaners Reviews

FAQ

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.

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What Is an All-Purpose Cleaner?

An all-purpose cleaner is a cleaner that is able to clean most hard surface floors in your house.

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.

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Do All-Purpose Cleaners Sanitize?

Yes, some cleaners clean AND sanitize. But not all will sanitize your surfaces.

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.

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What Are All-Purpose Cleaners For?

All-purpose cleaners are designed to be used in almost any area of your house.

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.

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Can I Use Vinegar as an All-Purpose Cleaner?

Yes, vinegar is a popular homemade cleaner that you can use on many different surfaces. Just make sure that whichever surface you are cleaning can handle a strong acidic product.

Household surfaces that shouldn’t be cleaned with vinegar include:

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.

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