Critics' Pick

The Best All-Purpose Cleaner for Your Home in 2021

updated Aug 20, 2021
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Credit: Amelia Lawrence

All-purpose cleaners are probably a bit of a misnomer because they can’t really clean all things. (For example, they shouldn’t be used on windows or wood furniture; that’s exactly why you’ll see a lot of companies hedging their bets, calling these solutions multi-purpose cleaners.) But they can clean a lot of things. And right now, this feels especially important. Please note, however, that most all-purpose cleaners just clean — not all disinfect.

So we decided to take a look at the best all-purpose cleaners out there. We looked to see what other industry pros had to recommend and what shoppers seemed to like best, and then, in true Kitchn fashion, we weighed in with our own thoughts. Let’s take a look!

The Best Multi-Purpose Cleaner, According to Wirecutter

Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach, $21.39 for three 24-ounce bottles

The folks at Wirecutter picked this cleaner because it works to kill coronavirus in just one minute. But they noted that it will damage fabric, and the fumes are definitely harsh. Additionally, they noted that any bleach-based spray, such as this one, is for use only on hard surfaces.

The Best Multi-Purpose Cleaner, According to Good Housekeeping

Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner, $17.71 for two 24-ounce bottles

Testers at The Good Housekeeping Institute picked Simple Green All Purpose as the best multi-purpose cleaner. They say it’s “so versatile that it can be used either diluted or at full-strength, both indoors and outdoors, and for heavy, average, or light cleaning jobs.” They tested the cleaner on such surfaces as tile, chrome, grill grates, cooking tools, patio furniture, and more — with “impressive” results! Plus, it also tackled carpet stains.

The Best All-Purpose Cleaner, According to Consumer Reports

Pine-Sol Original, $3.99 for 40 ounces

Consumer Reports picked an old classic. They say that Pine-Sol was “very good” at general cleaning and also when it came to removing grease, grape juice stains, soap scum, and mustard stains. And it was decent at getting rid of hard water stains, too!

The Bestselling All-Purpose Cleaner on Amazon

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner, $11.64 for three 16-ounce bottles

The bestselling all-purpose cleaner on Amazon has a 5-star rating and more than 14,000 reviews, which is incredibly impressive. Reviewers love the smell, the fact that it really does get sudsy, and (of course) how well it cleans. Happy shoppers say they’ve used it on their granite countertops, hardwood floors, tile backsplashes, and more.

Kitchn’s Thoughts on the Best All-Purpose Cleaner

Honestly, we do agree with all of these picks and don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any of them. But we do want to throw one more suggestion into the ring: the cleaning concentrates from Grove Collaborative. This stuff cleans just as well as anything else listed here, but it’s concentrated. So you get two small containers, which you then dilute with water. The point? It cuts out extra, unnecessary plastic — something we can all agree is pretty darn important. They’re the perfect compromise between store-bought cleaners and homemade ones, making you feel like an environmental superhero and a domestic goddess in one fell swoop!

Also, for a disinfectant — because, remember cleaning and disinfecting are not the same — we do like Clorox Wipes, as long as they’re used correctly. (The surface that you’re cleaning has to remain wet for four minutes!) For those who prefer a spray, we like Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray when it comes to the kitchen (around food!).

Which all-purpose cleaner is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.