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The best and worst cleaning products

… and why you shouldn't waste your money on floor cleaners.

mop using water better than floor cleaner
Last updated: 10 November 2020
Fact-checked

Fact-checked

Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Need to know

  • Many multipurpose cleaners failed to outperform plain water in our tests
  • Floor cleaners are so ineffective that we've awarded them a Shonky - you're better off using plain water 
  • There's hardly any difference between multipurpose cleaners and special kitchen sprays

Are you the kind of housekeeper who has a spray for everything and colour-coded cloths to match? Or do you use just grab whatever's to hand and get to work? If you're in the latter camp, you may be onto something. 

Our recent tests reveal there's virtually no difference between multipurpose cleaners and kitchen sprays – so you can carry on being a one-product person, smug in the knowledge that the same spray will do just as good a job, no matter which room you're in.

"Scores are comparable across kitchen and multipurpose cleaners, so our takeaway is that they're all essentially the same thing," says CHOICE cleaning product expert Ash Iredale. "You don't need to buy 57 different cleaning products – just use the same one for everything."

swap ajax floor cleaner with baking soda for water

Floor cleaner fail

Clean freaks, we have some bad news for you. (Sorry.) If you've been diligently mopping your floors with floor cleaner, you've been wasting your money. 

According to our tests, you might as well not even use floor cleaners – just a little elbow grease will do the trick. We don't recommend a single one of the 16 floor cleaners we tested.

In fact, we think floor cleaners are so bad that we awarded them a Shonky in 2020 for being "flawed cleaners".

"It's not the floor cleaner that cleans; it's the scrubbing action," says Ash. "For many of them, you're no better off than if you use plain water."

Plain water scored 40% in our test. The top scoring floor cleaners managed to muster a poor 41%, which hardly justifies the cost and effort you'd need to expend on buying these products. 

The worst performers scored just 39%, so there's not much separating the best from the worst. Our advice? Just skip floor cleaners altogether.

The best and worst multipurpose cleaners

The best multipurpose cleaners

These two cleaners topped our test: 

The worst multipurpose cleaners

These multipurpose cleaners failed to outperform plain water, which scored 40% on our test:

  • 30 Seconds Multi Surface Cleaner (39%)
  • Pine O Cleen Multi Purpose Cleaner Pine with Vinegar (40%)
  • Pledge Multisurface Cleaner Rainshower (40%)
  • Pine O Cleen Multi Purpose Cleaner Lemon Lime Burst (40%)
  • Strike Multi Purpose Cleaner Pomegranate & Vanilla (40%)
  • Orange Power Multi-Purpose Cleaner (40%)

Dishonourable mention

Not only did the 30 Seconds Multi Surface Cleaner take out the wooden spoon in our multipurpose cleaners test, it also earned the dishonourable distinction of failing to even match plain water for performance.

That's right: you'd literally be better off flushing the bottle price of $11.99 down the toilet. (Please don't actually flush money down the toilet; it'll cause a fatberg and goodness knows there's enough of them thanks to flushable wipes.)

Looking for multipurpose cleaners? Check out our multipurpose cleaner reviews for more products.

The best and worst glass cleaners

If you're going to buy a job-specific cleaning product, make it a glass cleaner, otherwise you'll be condemning yourself to streaky, smeared windows and mirrors. 

We test glass cleaners for their dirt-removing ability, plus we give them a streak score to see which ones deliver a streak-free clean. 

The best glass cleaners

Here are the two top scoring glass cleaners from our test. 

For context, the next highest scoring product came in at 58%, so it's safe to say that these two wiped the, erm, floor with the competition. 

The worst glass cleaners

Plain water scored just 35% in our glass cleaner test, which isn't exactly surprising. What is surprising is just how many products failed to outperform plain water, or only delivered a marginally better result. 

Here are the worst performing glass cleaners we tested:

  • Ecostore Ultra Sensitive Glass & Surface Cleaner (33%)
  • Aldi Power Force Pro Glass Cleaner (35%)
  • Community Co Clean Freak! Glass & Window Cleaner (35%)
  • Earth Choice Window & Glass Crystal Clean (36%)

The best and worst kitchen cleaners

There was a considerable difference in the kitchen cleaners we tested, with the top performer scoring 84% and the worst performer scraping in with just 40%. In fact, two cleaners came in at 77% or higher, while the remaining kitchen cleaners came in at 44% or below. 

The best kitchen cleaners

We recommend these two kitchen cleaners:

The worst kitchen cleaners

These kitchen cleaners all scored 44% or less in our tests:

  • McLintocks Vanilla Fresh Fridge & Kitchen Wipe (40%)
  • Strike Kitchen Cleaner Surface Spray (41%)
  • Ecostore Multi-purpose Kitchen Cleaner Orange & Thyme (42%)
  • White King Kitchen Cleaner Citrus Fresh (42%)
  • Ajax Spray n' Wipe Kitchen Multi-Purpose Baking Soda (44%)

For comparison, plain water scored 40% on this test.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact checking at CHOICE.