Water outperforms many cleaning fluids in CHOICE tests

‘No cleaner justifies the cost and effort you'd need to expend on buying these products,’ says cleaning product expert.

Water outperforms many cleaning fluids in CHOICE tests

How much do you think you spend each year on household cleaners? Well, you’re probably wasting your money, says CHOICE, whose recent study on kitchen sprays and multipurpose cleaners revealed that water could do as good a job as many on the list.

CHOICE’s tests showed there's virtually no difference between multipurpose cleaners and kitchen sprays. Either type of spray will do just as good a job, no matter the room you’re cleaning.

"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."

There, we just saved you even more money.

Popular multipurpose cleaners that earnt dishonourable mentions on the CHOICE list included:

  • Pine O Cleen Multi Purpose Cleaner Pine with Vinegar (40 per cent)
  • Pledge Multisurface Cleaner Rainshower (40 per cent)
  • Pine O Cleen Multi Purpose Cleaner Lemon Lime Burst (40 per cent)
  • Strike Multi Purpose Cleaner Pomegranate & Vanilla (40 per cent)
  • Orange Power Multi-Purpose Cleaner (40 per cent)

However, with a score of just 39 per cent, an $11.99 bottle of 30 Seconds Multi Surface Cleaner could not even manage to outperform water. Water scored 40 per cent.

The two cleaners that topped the test were Nifti Hardworking New Look (88 per cent), and Bam Easy-Off Power Cleaner Grease & Sparkle (84 per cent).

As far as floor cleaners go, most of you have been washing money down the drain.

After extensive analysis, CHOICE doesn’t recommend a single one of the 17 floor cleaners tested.

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

The top scoring floor cleaners managed to muster a poor 41 per cent and the worst performers scored 39 per cent. As water scored 40 per cent, according to CHOICE, no cleaner justifies the cost and effort you'd need to expend on buying these products.

“Our advice? Just skip floor cleaners altogether,” says CHOICE.

If you're going to buy a job-specific cleaning product, make it a glass cleaner, says CHOICE.

Glass cleaners were ranked on dirt-removing ability as well as a streak score for the ones that delivered a streak-free clean.

The two top scoring glass cleaners from the test were Windex Multi-Purpose Surface & Glass Mountain Fresh (74 per cent) and Windex Multi-Purpose Surface & Glass (74 per cent).

The next highest scoring product came in at 58 per cent.

Plain water scored 35 per cent in the glass cleaner test. Even so, many products still failed to outperform water in the test.

The worst performing glass cleaners were Ecostore Ultra Sensitive Glass & Surface Cleaner (33 per cent), Aldi Power Force Pro Glass Cleaner (35 per cent), Community Co Clean Freak! Glass & Window Cleaner (35 per cent), and Earth Choice Window & Glass Crystal Clean (36 per cent)

The disparity between the best and worst performing kitchen cleaners was considerable, with the top two scoring 77 per cent and 84 per cent and the remaining kitchen cleaners coming in at 44 per cent or below.

The two best kitchen cleaners were Dettol Healthy Clean Kitchen (84 per cent), and Pine o Cleen Kitchen Expert Antibacterial Kitchen Spray (77 per cent).

The worst kitchen cleaners, which all scored less than water at 40 per cent, were McLintocks Vanilla Fresh Fridge & Kitchen Wipe (40 per cent), Strike Kitchen Cleaner Surface Spray (41 per cent), Ecostore Multi-purpose Kitchen Cleaner Orange & Thyme (42 per cent), White King Kitchen Cleaner Citrus Fresh (42 per cent), and Ajax Spray n' Wipe Kitchen Multi-Purpose Baking Soda (44 per cent).

Do you use any of these products? Will you keep using them even if they appeared on the worst performing lists?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    30th Dec 2019
    All you need for your cleaning:-

    1.5 litre water (1 cup boiled)
    300ml vinegar
    60ml dishwashing liquid (or try liquid castille soap to keep it 100% natural)
    25ml eucalyptus oil
    3 dessertspoons Lectric Washing Soda

    Mix Lectric Washing Soda with about 1 cup boiling water to dissolve.
    Add remaining ingredients.
    Pour into a 2 litre bottle and use where needed.

    Costs about 35c per bottle.
    30th Dec 2019
    Sounds good Jaycee1 but I have not heard of Lectric washing soda, can you use bicarb instead?
    30th Dec 2019
    Bicarb is baking soda not washing soda. Why do you clean with something you use in food to eat?
    Washing soda is carb soda, for washing not eating. It washes and is very good to disperse grease and fats.
    30th Dec 2019
    Greenie: A problem here. "Why would you clean with something you use in food to eat": is vinager not a foodstuff?

    Sodium Bicarbonate is washing soda, bicarb, whatever.

    Baking soda is a mix, mostly of various chemicals that release carbon dioxide when mixed with water, in a hot situation like an oven.
    Sodium bicarbonate is a brilliant cleaner, although a little abrasive on softer materials (eg plastics) if used as a paste. Awesome on tea stains, stainless steel, etc.
    In the mix above, the vinager (acetic acid) would react with the bicarb, but is held back by the oil, AND the detergent.

    I suggest that there are 15 million different "swear by" mixes on the net and in household advice books. What works for you, works.
    30th Dec 2019
    Ajax Spray & wipe works really well. Not sure what they were testing it on but it breaks down fats, removes stains on cooking benches, lifts dirt far more efficiently than water alone and deodorizes the room. So no - not a waste of money.
    30th Dec 2019
    Not quiet right, but add 10:1 Water:detergent!

    Talking of smells, I came across an advert regarding a woman's experience with a foul smelling washing machine and the clothes came out smelly. I didn't think much of it till my Miele started to smell in the same way after about 8 years use.

    I used to fix washing machines in the old days so I knew where to look for smelly scunge. Mine is a front loading washer. It was so simple to fix. All front loaders have a pliable plastic apron around the fixed tub that seals the main tub against the glass door. This seal is fixed and doesn't rotate with the inner drum, but needs to be flexible enough to allow the drum to wobble slightly when spin drying.
    To achieve this, the seal is shaped like an accordion or bellows, which are normally not visible to the outside. Here is where the often black scunge,lies. To fix do this:-

    1.) Open glass door
    2.) Immerse dish cloth (micro fiber is good) into weak solution (10 parts water, 1 part DWD)
    3.) Feel plastic apron seal at opening with fingers and pull gently upwards to reveal interior folds.
    4.) Rinse cloth and add few drops lemon, wipe scunge from fold, starting at top and rotate towards the bottom. Do this all round rim of fold.
    5.) Repeat this wiping action 2-3 times or until seal is clean and fresh.
    6.) Use dry cloth to finish final wipe.

    Depending on usage, if machine does 3 loads a week, wipe the seal every 3 months. If it does a daily wash, wipe every month or if scunge appears that week. Another spot to check is where you put detergent and conditioner. Pull out assembly and clean thoroughly top and bottom at least every 6 months. Also clean the cavity before you reinstall the detergent tray.

    You'll be amazed how simple and effective this will be. (Note DWD = dish washing detergent) Don't use anything stronger than 10:1 DWD or you could damage the seal and the machine is then guaranteed to leak. If this happens, you could badly damage a timber floor without you being aware of it, not till mice appear through the rotten floorboards anyway.

    Another simple maintenance:- check all hose connections, especially where the outlet hose meets the drain pipe and make sure the rubber to drain connection is tight and use large spring clip or SS hose clip to secure. Before my Miele, I had a top loading G.E. for 32 years, still working and did a perfect wash every time. All I replaced was the impeller pump once and one hose. I still have the main motor that now powers my drill press, it's 50 years old. The reason I changed it was it used a lot of water and electricity to heat the water, though in those early days, machines came with both hot and cold supplies, so you could supply solar hot water or gas hot water (cheap in the 60's-80's)
    Happy Washing!
    30th Dec 2019
    I use a spray half white vinegar and half water. It does all my cleaning and it's brilliant on glass. (Finish with a soft cloth.) I would never buy any of those chemical laden cleaners anymore Plus it is so cheap.
    30th Dec 2019
    Yes, that's what I use on the floors
    Another good all rounder is KOH bought on line, does cost money but safe and developed in Australia and approved by Choice
    30th Dec 2019
    I guess it depends if you want to use toxic chemicals in the house verses elbow grease. All the toxic cleaning products have hormone disruptors, cancer causing agents and more.
    31st Dec 2019
    - and bacteria, mould and viral infections kill. Everything in moderation.
    East of Toowoomba
    30th Dec 2019
    a half a cup of cloudy ammonia in a spray bottle, topped up with water works brilliantly on grease such as wall tiles, stove and bench tops. Cleans the sink, stainless steel appliances, cutlery and saucepans like a charm. Rinse well and dry and you'll be surprised how clean and shiny these items come up.
    30th Dec 2019
    Isn't breathing in ammonia toxic?
    East of Toowoomba
    30th Dec 2019
    Not when diluted and used in an open space. Never mix it with bleach, that is asking for trouble.
    30th Dec 2019
    Anyone who has a front loader should be either washing towels at least once a month, or running an empty cleaning cycle with a teaspoon of detergent, at 95c to allow the washer to scrub itself clean of detergent & softener build up, fats, oils, and general crud. Do NOT use chlorine bleach or straight vinegar, especially on the door bellows. Also, when your washer is not in use, leave the door ajar & pull out the detergent drawer a bit to allow air circulation. Washing constantly at too low a temperature causes build-up inside the outer cylinder & around the rubber bellows. Let the machine do what it was designed to do!
    4th Jan 2020
    Long before the introduction of front loaders my Aunty used to dilute and use Dettol in rinse water to thoroughly the bowl etc of her washing machine once a fortnight with no washing in it.
    4th Jan 2020
    Long before the introduction of front loaders my Aunty used to dilute and use Dettol in rinse water to thoroughly the bowl etc of her washing machine once a fortnight with no washing in it.
    5th Jan 2020
    Let me suggest this:

    Only use half the recommended liquid/powder detergent in your wash. That is, less than a half cupful for a full load. This because modern washers try to bulls**t that they are extremely water efficient, but often do not rinse the clothes well. This leads to clothes still being saturated in detergent foam when you put them on the line, leading to things like towels being so hard and coarse they scratch your soft skin. I've had to run clothes through a second wash with no detergent, to remove foam. Note also, this leads to a build up of soap scunge in the folds of the rubber seal and the smell of dying fish.

    Worse still, you use twice the water you were supposed to save in the first place.

    You know in the name of competition, WM manufacturers often portray their machines as modern marvels, the least this, the biggest that , the shortest time, and so on. Not one WM has claimed to be the best clothes washer or proved it to be so. (That's because you could sue the manufacturers for false advertising).

    Less water yes, helps the environment, but not your clothes.

    Why can't manufacturers make a simplified machine that washes clothes properly, (as first priority) then looks at water usage, wash temperatures and spin dry speeds. Front loaders rely on tumbling clothes from top of drum to bottom. Less water means they don't expel and absorb water enough in this cycle as they have little room to splash about. Also overfilling a front end loader means clothes are locked from moving and rubbing on each other. False economy, and leads to overloading and damage to motors and bearings. Ever done this to discover a towel has had a dirty item caught inside and coating it on the inside? Result:- wash the load all over again in two parts, so that's three washes instead of one.
    5th Jan 2020
    Great advice, I always use less because I find Bosisto Laundry powder does such a great job without the foaming which is a really toxic chemical in most laundry powders.

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