I Test Household Cleaning Supplies for Work, and These Are the 15 I Keep on Hand

As someone who regularly destroys my kitchen in the name of testing every cake mix, cookie dough and fleeting food trend I can get my hands on, it’s only fitting that my career also encompasses cleaning up after myself. For more than a decade, I’ve covered the lifestyle space—not just at PureWow, but for brands like O, The Oprah Magazine, Delish and Good Housekeeping—testing almost as many cleaners, detergents and disinfectants as I have sweets.

But a person’s cupboards can only hold so much, and there are few products I use and actually plan on reordering after they’re empty. Which ones are they? So glad you asked. Because like influencers and their skincare routines, I can’t wait to gush about the products I use over and over again.

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The Top Cleaning Supplies at a Glance





How I Chose the Best Cleaning Supplies

These picks are based on what I reach for whenever I’m cleaning my own home, based on testing dozens of products each year at work. My top considerations are: effectiveness, value (not just price, but what you get for your dollar), quality, scent and ease of use. If it reduces my overall scrubbing and leaves the space gleaming—without killing my wallet—it’s a win in my book.

Where to Buy Cleaning Supplies

Many of these brands are available at big box stores, like Walmart and Target, or can be delivered to your door via Amazon. I’ve found the prices tend to be more reasonable there than my local grocery or convenience stores, though you could also save a bit more by buying in bulk through Sam’s Club, Costco or the like.

The Best General Use Cleaning Products I’ve Tried


Best All-Purpose Cleaner

1. Clorox Free & Clear Disinfecting Mist


  • Pros: disinfects, deodorizes and cleans; works on hard and soft surfaces; recyclable bottle base
  • Cons: not as powerful at cutting through grease as traditional formulas

I’m a recent convert to the Clorox Free & Clear line, but so far, I’ve loved it for many reasons: It’s plant-based and safe for surfaces that come in contact with food; requires no rinsing after use; sanitizes (killing e.coli, salmonella and COVID-19 germs) and deodorizes and removes 99 percent of pet dander and dust mite particles; and it can be used on soft surfaces (like couches and bedding) too. But, that’s not all, this blend is fragrance-free, for those sensitive to scents, and you can keep the nozzle and simply buy refills of the base, leaving less plastic in landfills.

If you prefer an ultra-powerful degreaser, though, you may want to check out Mr. Clean Clean Freak Disinfecting Mist—another solid option.

Best Cleaning Wipes

2. Clorox Free & Clear Compostable Wipes


  • Pros: EPA Safer Choice certified, compostable, safe around kids and pets
  • Cons: wipes break down faster than traditional ones

These plant-based wipes are compostable, and they’re Safer Choice certified, meaning they meet the EPA’s safer product standards. Unlike most wipes on the market, you can use them to clean off a kitchen counter without needing to rinse it afterward, because they’re made without dyes, bleach or ammonia. And they still get the job done, wiping away dirt and grime (including grease glommed onto an oven hood!) easily.

Best Adhesive Remover

3. Goo Gone Spray Gel

Goo Gone

  • Pros: removes sticky residue, fresh citrus scent
  • Cons: can’t use on leather, suede, rubber, unsealed wood and unfinished stone

Residue from a label sticking to your new plates? Kid left glue dripping on the counter? Mysterious ooze congealed on your floor? Sounds like a job for Goo Gone. It’s a classic for a reason, lifting up sticky messes other cleaners just smudge. Just stick to using it on carpets and hard surfaces (no unsealed stone or unfinished wood either).

Best Glass Cleaner

4. Windex Crystal Rain


I have tried so many natural glass cleaners, steam cleaners and the like, but when I really want a streak-free shine, particularly when it comes to my mirrors, nothing beats good ol’ Windex. I opt for the ammonia-free variety, and I prefer the mild scent of Crystal Rain, which doesn’t overpower other scents in the room.

Best Carpet Odor Remover

5. Glade Carpet & Room Refresher, Hawaiian Breeze


  • Pros: affordable, easy to use, great scent
  • Cons: need to really vacuum to avoid powdery residue on carpets

When a leak in my basement turned my carpets musty, I thought things were beyond hope. Then I tried Glade’s room refresher, sprinkling it liberally on the floors and letting it sit for a few minutes. It filled the space with a tropical scent, and once vacuumed up (and the leak fixed), the formerly swampy smell was gone. It does a solid job of reducing lingering odors from pets’ accidents too.

The Best Laundry Cleaning Products I’ve TriedThe Best Laundry Cleaning Products I’ve Tried

Best Stain Remover

6. Carbona Laundry Stain Scrubber


  • Pros: excellent stain remover, works on a wide variety of stains
  • Cons: product can seep out of container quickly

Topped with a scrub brush to really spot-treat messes, this natural enzyme-based cleaner claims to treat 100 different stains—and you know what? I believe it. I’ve used it to get rid of pen marks, chocolate syrup, yogurt, marinara and marker smudges over the past year—and not just on clothes. It also made stubborn spilled-food stains that’d spent weeks lingering in the back seat of my car disappear.

If you have patio furniture—and a pet with a propensity to trounce through the mud and onto your outdoor sofa—I highly recommend Carbona’s outdoor cleaner as well.

Best Laundry Detergent

7. Safely Everyday Laundry, Spring Scent


  • Pros: cleans well, excellent scent, not tested on animals
  • Cons: not as effective at removing stains

I can’t quit this plant-based detergent, which is gentle on clothes and leaves everything with the most incredible dew-on-a-field-of-wildflowers scent. My husband has sensitive skin, and it doesn’t irritate him like other brands, either.

Best On-the-Go Stain Remover

8. Tide to Go Instant Stain-Removing Wipes


  • Pros: compact, convenient, effective at removing stains
  • Cons: easy to lose in the bottom of your bag

It’s always when you’re out and about that ketchup dribbles down your shirt, or you spill cold brew on your favorite skirt. And blotting away that stain as soon as it happens can be crucial. Most stain-removing pens dry out on me after the first use, so I love keeping these compact wipes on hand. In our test of stain removers across the board, they were the best for eliminating coffee spots.

  • Pros: kills 99.9% of bacteria, easy to use, color-safe for clothes
  • Cons: some say the scent is too strong

You never think you need fabric sanitizer…until you’re potty training (whether that’s an animal or a child). A quick spritz and in 5 minutes, 99.9 percent of bacteria is dead, so you crush odors—and germs—before they set in. Plus, it leaves clothes with a crisp, fresh-linen scent.

The Best Kitchen Cleaning Supplies I’ve Tried

Best Stainless Steel Cleaner

10. Method Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish


  • Pros: biodegradable, plant-based formula, leaves stainless steel sparkling, not tested on animals
  • Cons: requires some elbow grease to buff out marks

Those smudges and discolored spots on your dishwasher, fridge and sink don’t stand a chance against this cleaner. Spray it on, grab a Swedish dishcloth and buff away the marks within seconds, leaving every steel surface gleaming. I used to use a wipes-based version but found they dried out too quickly, and this soon became my go-to.  

Best Countertop Spray

11. Caldrea Multi-Surface Countertop Spray


  • Pros: great range of scents, gentle cleaning, works on multiple surfaces
  • Cons: not so great for cutting through grease/dried-on spills

Admittedly, you can get by with soap and water. But Caldrea’s range of scents are like perfume for your room, and I’ve gotten into the ritual of clearing the table at the end of the night, giving it a quick spritz and enjoying how fresh everything seems—at least until breakfast the next morning. This plant-based cleaner can be used on a variety of surfaces, too, from laminate, tile and porcelain to sealed stone, granite and wood. (I’m looking forward to checking out the Vanilla Quince Santal scent, once it’s back in stock, since it’s giving Le Labo vibes.)

  • Pros: gentle on hands, powerful plant-based cleaner, save 20% when you subscribe for refills
  • Cons: scents can be polarizing

There are a lot of great dish soaps out there, but I like Grove’s scents, plant-based formula and that it cuts through grease without drying out my hands. Plus, the aluminum refill bottles make recycling a breeze.

Best Dishwashing Detergent

13. Cascade Platinum Plus


  • Pros: most powerful results, no pre-rinsing necessary, easy to use
  • Cons: pricier per wash than liquid/powder varieties

I’ve tried more than a dozen dishwasher pods—and many more liquid and powder varieties—but none cut through baked-on grease like Cascade Platinum Plus. You truly don’t have to prerinse to get dishes sparkling clean.

The Best Bathroom Cleaning Supplies I’ve Tried

Best Toilet Bowl Cleaner

14. Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner Gel


  • Pros: great value, powerful cleaner
  • Cons: strong scent, not great for hard water stains

The thickness of this gel cleaner is what makes it a winner. (The affordability is another major plus!) It really clings to the toilet bowl, and when left for 15 minutes, does a great job of removing stains and grime. You’ll have to do some scrubbing, and some hard water stains have been hard to get out, but that’s been true of every cleaner I’ve tried.

Best Tile and Tub Cleaner

15. CLR Brilliant Bath


  • Pros: EPA Safer Choice Certified, septic-safe, removes hard water stains
  • Cons: cannot be used on synthetic stone/marble or colored grout, among other surfaces; strong scent

I’d given up hope that my bathroom sink could ever get rid of the pink residue in it. I’d tried vinegar and water, TikTok-famous products and so much scrubbing I scuffed the drain, all to no result. Then someone recommended CLR Brilliant Bath. I spritzed, waited three minutes, and with hardly any scrubbing…all of the stains were gone. Hallelujah! The cleaner is renowned for removing calcium, lime and soap scum, as well as discoloration.

The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

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Why You Should Trust UsWhy You Should Trust Us

PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.

Candace Davison is PureWow’s VP of Editorial, overseeing food, home and related franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle in her 10+ years of digital media experience, though she has a weakness for baking (she has *opinions* on stand mixers), DIY-ing and gadgets, all of which she shares on PureWow and her social media accounts.

candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, cookbook author

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...