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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: 03 March 2022

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.

You don't need to buy 57 different cleaning products – just use the same one for everything

Ashley Iredale, CHOICE cleaning product expert

"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 Ashley Iredale. "You don't need to buy 57 different cleaning products – just use the same one for everything."

coles ultra floor cleaner sweet orchard

We don't recommend a single floor cleaner of the 16 we tested. You're better off with 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 41% in our test. The top scoring floor cleaners managed to muster a poor 49%, which hardly justifies the cost and effort you'd need to expend on buying these products. 

The worst performers scored just 40%, 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 barely managed to outperform plain water, which scored 41% on our test:

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

Windex Original is the top-performing glass and window cleaner from our test, scoring 81%. 

For context, the next highest scoring product came in at 67%, so it's safe to say that Windex Original wiped the, erm, floor with the competition. 

The worst glass cleaners

Plain water scored just 37% 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:

Dishonourable mention

Not only did Ajax Spray n' Wipe Glass take out the wooden spoon in our glass and window cleaners test, it also earned the dishonourable distinction of performing even worse than plain water. 

That's right: using this spray will actually leave your windows dirtier than if you'd just stuck with plain tap water. 

Special mention should also go to Earth Choice's Window & Glass Crystal Clean, which received the same score as plain water – another product that's pretty much money down the drain. 

The best and worst kitchen cleaners

There was a considerable difference in the kitchen cleaners we tested, with the top performer scoring 85% and the worst performer scraping in with just 25%. Three of the four kitchen cleaners we tested scored below 60%.

The best kitchen cleaner

Of the products we looked at, there's only one kitchen cleaner we recommend:

The worst kitchen cleaners

These products delivered less than impressive results in our kitchen cleaner test:

  • Ajax Spray n' Wipe Baking Soda & Citrus (55%)
  • Koala Eco Natural Multi-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner (45%)
  • Rhythm Cleaning Vinegar Kitchen Surface Spray (25%)
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.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.