Can one cleaner do it all? 1/11
(This article is adapted from the January 2011 Consumer Reports magazine.)
The answer is a qualified "yes". Of the 16 all-purpose cleaners tested by Consumer Reports, most eventually removed a variety of difficult dirt and soils although it took some elbow grease and repeated applications.
But the tests also showed that some "green" products worked more easily than others and claim to be plant-based and biodegrable as well—claims that the manufacturers will have to back up under new FTC green marketing guidelines.
Among the best all-purpose cleaners overall were Nature’s Source and Seventh Generation, each 12 cents per ounce. Both were gentle on most surfaces except yellow brass and paint. Ecover Natural cleaned well but marred more surfaces than most when left overnight.
• Skip antibacterial ingredients
Antibacterial products might help create forms of bacteria that are harder to kill, and the government says they aren’t better at preventing the spread of household germs.
• Don’t buy just by price
Some products that cost 12 or 14 cents per ounce didn’t do very well.
• Biodegradable claims vs. facts
Makers of cleaners touted as biodegradable don’t have to back up their claim with a time frame, but they will soon have to do so if new green guides proposed by the Federal Trade Commission are adopted.
Cleaners: green buying guide 1/11