Whether it’s a home with children and pets or a small apartment with two people, cleaning is a part of everyday living. And it’s also a never-ending job. So choosing a product that can complete more than one specific cleaning task makes sense. This is where all-purpose cleaners come in. Designed to work well whether cleaning the kitchen counter or the windows, these products help save time and are also kinder to the environment, as you don’t need to buy several different products. We’ve put together a list of the best all-purpose cleaners that are not only high-quality and efficient, but also made with natural and sustainable ingredients. Before we do that, let’s clear up some things about sustainable, all-purpose cleaners.
What is a sustainable cleaning product?
A sustainable cleaning product should not contain harmful synthetic chemicals and should have safe, plant-based ingredients. Furthermore, the most sustainable and the best all-purpose cleaners are also biodegradable and don’t cause harm to aquatic life. Sustainable cleaning products also come in easily recyclable packaging or in re-usable containers. Many of these products are made with either fragrance-free formulas or with plant-based scents.
Do eco-friendly cleaning products work?
Eco-friendly cleaning products can clean as efficiently as those containing synthetic chemicals, but – naturally – it depends on the product, the cleaning task, and the manufacturer. It’s important to keep in mind that some of these products require a bit more elbow grease to obtain the same results compared to a solution that contains bleach, for example. However, many new products match chemical-filled cleaners in efficiency, but without the wide range of harmful effects to your health and the health of the environment.
What’s the best all purpose cleaner?
The best all-purpose cleaners are the ones that offer the right balance between efficiency, eco-friendliness, versatility, convenience, and price. A good all-purpose cleaner should perform equally well across a wide range of cleaning tasks and should not require rinsing. Of course, depending on user, some details matter more than others. For example, some prefer products that are sustainably made, others look for cleaners that are specially developed for homes with pets, and some use only all-purpose cleaners that also disinfect.
How to shop for all-purpose cleaners
Before buying an all-purpose cleaner, make sure you choose one that suits your needs and your home. Some all-purpose cleaners also disinfect, others are fragrance-free, and some have special formulas with 100% plant-based ingredients. A good all-purpose cleaner should clean a variety of organic and inorganic stains without leaving any residue. The best all-purpose cleaners are also specially made with people and pet safety in mind. Finally, choose a product that is right for you, whether you prefer sprays, wipes, or cost-saving concentrates.
What is the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting?
Cleaning surfaces removes visible dust, dirt, and other debris. Sanitizing, on the other hand, makes surfaces sanitary by removing bacteria and reducing their growth. Disinfectants kill any bacteria and viruses. While many all-purpose cleaners don’t disinfect surfaces, some of them do and this is mentioned clearly on their label. Keep in mind that most surfaces in a home don’t require harsh disinfectants or sanitizing products, although some areas need extra care when cleaning, for examples frequently touched or food-contact surfaces.
Best of the best – Guests on Earth All Purpose Cleaner Kit
Made by Guests on Earth, this all-purpose cleaner is our top choice. It’s not only made with plant and mineral-based ingredients and natural fragrances, but also suits a wide variety of surfaces, from sealed wood to porcelain, stainless steel, granite, and glass. The solution can quickly remove dust, dirt and grime, but it also works on tougher stains if you leave it for a few minutes before wiping it away. This all-purpose cleaner comes in two signature scents: Desert Dawn and Dunes at Dusk. Plus, this is a kit that comes with a reusable aluminum vessel and two refill vials.
The sharp one – diptyque Multi-Surface Cleaner with Vinegar
Spruce Multipurpose Starter Kit
Certified B Corporation Spruce aims to provide a safe cleaning alternative to products that are filled with endocrine disrupting chemicals and microplastics. Based in the UK, the company makes clean, eco-friendly cleaning solutions that are not only kind to the environment, but also to your health. This starter kit include the Spruce signature cleaner with natural fragrances and a plastic-free formula that works on a variety of surfaces, from stone and wood to tiles. An aluminum bottle which the user can refill indefinitely is also included. One refill makes one 500ml bottle of multipurpose cleaner, which usually lasts around 2 months. Plus, the refill packaging is compostable, which means it can be recycled directly with food waste.
Best scent – Blueland Multi-Surface Starter Set
The Blueland Multi-Surface Starter Set impresses with its fresh lemon scent and eco-friendly formula. This all-purpose cleaner is made with clean, plant-based ingredients and doesn’t contain any parabens, phosphates, phthalates, ammonia, VOCs, or bleach. The formula is also cruelty-free and vegan as well as soy and nut-free. Created with convenience in mind, this set comes with one reusable bottle of 24 oz and three multi-surface tablets that can make three bottles of liquid cleaner. The tablets take minimal space in storage and Blueland also offers refills from $2. Independently tested to ensure its high performance, this cleaner is also Cradle to Cradle Certified™.
Best bang for your buck – Everspring All Purpose Cleaner
Convenient and cost-effective, the Everspring All Purpose Cleaner takes the ‘best bang for your buck’ title in our list. Made by Target, this cleaner has 98% bio-based ingredients and can clean grime, dirt, and grease without damaging surfaces or releasing harsh fumes. The Everspring cleaner has a biodegradable formula and doesn’t contain any ammonia or parabens. It’s also cruelty free. Plus, the fragrance of lemon and mint is produced from natural extracts and essential oils. Finally, the spray bottle is made with 100% post-consumer recycled plastic.
Longer lasting – Branch Basics The Concentrate
Specially made with convenience in mind, the Concentrate from Branch Basiscs comes as a highly concentrated liquid. If you have the specially marked bottles from Branch Basics, you can use one 33.8 fl oz bottle of concentrate to make 3 all-purpose bottles, 3 streak-free bottles, 3 bathroom bottles, 3 foaming wash bottles, and 64 laundry loads of cleaners. Of course, you can also dilute the concentrate with water in any other vessel. Like other all-purpose cleaners from our selection, this one is both human and pet safe, it’s not tested on animals, and contains no harmful preservatives. Plant and mineral-based, the Concentrate is biodegradable and has no fragrance.
Greenest – Public Goods Surface Cleaner
Even in our eco-conscious list that goes through the best all-purpose cleaners, the Surface Cleaner from Public Goods stands out as the greenest. That’s because it’s made with a simple, natural formula of purified water, coconut-derived active ingredients, a food grade preservative, and jasmine essential oil. This all-purpose cleaner is efficient against grease, grime, and dirt and can also clean a wide range of stains and spills. Biodegradable and vegan-friendly, this product is made in USA. Since it contains only natural ingredients, the solution may change color over time, which doesn’t affect its performance.
The sophisticated – Veles All-Purpose Cleaner
Made by Veles, this all-purpose cleaner has a special formula based on an unlikely ingredient: food waste. To produce it, the brand uses a closed-loop manufacturing process and a combination of water reclaimed from food waste and catalysts isolated from various organic compounds. Tested on surfaces as varied as ceramics, stainless steel, glass, and chrome, this product can also clean more delicate materials like sealed stone and laminate. The scents also impress, as Veles uses lavender from Bulgaria, cold-pressed bergamot from Italy, and peppermint from India. This product comes in a beautifully designed, reusable aluminum bottle. Finally, Veles offers a subscription-based refill service for this product.
The floral – Homecourt Steeped Rose Surface Cleaner
Clean your home and smell the roses with the Steeped Rose Surface Cleaner from Homecourt. Made with a clean formula that contains both plant-based and skincare-level ingredients, this product is 100% vegan and cruelty free, non-toxic, and safe for people and pets. The cleaner also suits a wide range of non-porous surfaces, including sealed stone, finished wood, and granite. Apart from Steeped Rose, this product also comes in Neroli Leaf, Cipres Mint, and Cece fragrances. Homecourt’s all-purpose cleaner comes in a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle with a post-consumer recycled paper box printed with non-toxic ink.
The disinfectant – Conscious Creature All Purpose Cleaner
Meet the all-purpose cleaner that disinfects surfaces, even with its natural, plant-based formula. Made by Conscious Creature, this product is non-toxic but kills 99.9% of bacteria. As a result, it’s a great choice for refrigerators, food prep areas, microwave ovens, and more. While it suits a wide range of surfaces, this product is not suitable for marble or granite. Handmade in Whistler, BC, this natural disinfectant has a lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary scent. This cleaner also comes in a convenient amber glass spray bottle.
The most versatile – Cleancult All Purpose Cleaner Refill
When buying all-purpose cleaners, you probably stumble upon text that indicates which surface you can’t clean with that product. Usually, it’s stone and unsealed or unfinished surfaces. The Cleancult All Purpose Cleaner can actually clean everything, from wood and granite to steel and glass. It’s also suitable for areas that need extra attention, like counters, sinks, and toilets. Made with a natural, coconut-based formula, this cleaner also contains citric acid to cut through germs, grease, and grime without any toxic chemicals. While we love the Blue Sage scent for it’s freshness, this all-purpose cleaner also comes in Bamboo Lily and Orange Zest. This refill comes in a 100% recyclable carton and you can pour it into any spray bottle to use.