Australians spend about 17 hours every week doing housework, according to data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA). That’s 876 hours per year and that information was collected before lockdowns during the pandemic.
Given that most Australians spent more time at home in the past 12 months – and probably created more mess – it’s reasonable to suggest that tally could be adjusted upwards.
One thing all good cleaners know is that there’s no point in cleaning without the proper product, which brings us to … the 2020/21 Finder Retail Awards and the ‘winning’ brands across 16 cleaning product categories.
Finder analysed survey results of more than 3000 Australian consumers – with global data and insights firm Kantar – to determine the most popular brands.
“If you have the right products and know the best cleaning hacks, you can clean efficiently, which means more time for the things you love,” says Kate Browne, retail expert at Finder.
From oven and cooktop cleaners to fabric softeners, Finder polled Australian consumers on their recent purchases to identify the most popular cleaning brands. This is what respondents told them about their cleaning preferences.
And then a word from consumer advocate CHOICE on whether some of the products stack up – despite their popularity.
Top-rated cleaning brands for 2020/2021 (and cleaning tips)
All-purpose cleaner – Ajax
Finder says: “Voted the most effective all-purpose spray, Ajax was recommended by 94 per cent of consumers and is the easiest to use.”
Barrel vacuum cleaner – Dyson
“Aussies gave Dyson the top score for cleaning performance and storage.”
Tip: “Put a small scoop of cinnamon into your machine to eliminate any bad odours while you vacuum.”
Stick vacuum cleaner – LG
“Recommended by 97 per cent of consumers, LG received the top rating for value for money, battery life and cleaning performance.”
Bleach and disinfectant – Sard
“The easiest bleach of the bunch to use, Sard was the best rated overall.”
Tip: “Have white dishes that are looking worse for wear? Whiten them with bleach. Just add a small amount of bleach to your dishwasher and voila!”
Carpet and floor cleaner – Pine O Cleen
“Recommended by 94 per cent of consumers.”
Tip: “Before you dip your mop into the bucket, use the cleaning solution to also wipe down surfaces such as window sills or counters. Multi-tasking works wonders.”
Cloths, scourers and sponges – Scotch-Brite
“Easy to use, durable and high performance.”
Dishwasher detergent (liquid or tablet) – Shine
“Best rated for odour, scent and effectiveness.”
Tip: “Try cleaning your oven door with dishwashing tablets. Dip a tablet in warm water, scrub your oven door and watch the grease dissolve.”
Fabric softener – ALDI
“Best rated for softness of clothes and value for money.”
Glass cleaner (liquid) – Windex
Tip: “Want a shower screen with no watermarks? Spray glass or window cleaner on your shower screen while it’s still wet.”
Laundry detergent (liquid or tablet) – Cold Power
“Cold Power had the highest rating for cleaning performance and was also recognised for its packaging design.”
Tip: “If you’re using a tablet, consider breaking it in half for smaller loads.”
Oven and cooktop cleaner – Hillmark
“Recommended by 96 per cent of Aussies as the most effective and easiest to use, plus it also rated as having the best smell.”
Air freshener – Ambi Pur
“Top rated brand for scent and packaging design; also scored well for effectiveness.”
Air purifier – Dyson
“Dyson air purifiers topped the list for quietness, design and value for money. Dyson also rated highly for cleaning and maintenance.”
Tip: “Remember to replace the filter so the air purifier works efficiently.”
Carpet and floor cleaning appliance – Kärcher
“Kärcher topped the list for carpet and floor cleaning features and functions and ease of use.”
Solvent and drain cleaner – Momar (Mo-flo)
“Top scores for effectiveness and smell.”
Toilet cleaner (liquid or block) – Woolworths Essentials
“Took out the top spot for every metric and was recommended by 94 per cent of consumers.”
So, what does CHOICE research say about some of those brands?
It reports that many multipurpose and floor cleaners fail to outperform plain water and that there is hardly any difference between multipurpose cleaners and special kitchen sprays.
CHOICE cleaning product expert Ash Iredale says: “Scores [in testing] are comparable across kitchen and multipurpose cleaners, so our takeaway is that they’re all essentially the same thing.
“You don’t need to buy 57 different cleaning products – just use the same one for everything.”
With regard to floor cleaners, she says: “It’s not the floor cleaner that cleans, it’s the scrubbing action. For many of them, you’re no better off than if you use plain water.”
So which multipurpose cleaners does CHOICE recommend?
Two cleaners topped the testing: Nifti Hardworking New Look (88 per cent) Bam Easy-Off Power Cleaner Grease & Sparkle (84 per cent).
And what does CHOICE have to say about Aldi fabric softeners?
“The Aldi Anco Soft Sensitive Jasmine Fabric Softener received a score of 47 per cent in our test, scoring worse than plain water (48 per cent).”
CHOICE says fabric softeners are “largely unnecessary, expensive and have a number of downsides”.
CHOICE household expert Rebecca Ciaramidaro said: “Our experts advise that fabric softeners are generally an unnecessary expense, and are even proven to reduce the moisture absorbency of your washing …
“Fabric softeners also leave your clothes coated in chemicals, as they contain a variety of silicone and petrochemical ingredients that can also end up in our waterways and cause damage to marine life.
“If you must use one, Huggie Easy Iron Fabric Conditioner received our highest score at 82 per cent.”
Go here for the complete Finder survey results.
Do you have a recommendation for a cleaning product or a tip on one to avoid?
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