The Best Cleaning Products

Real Simple

If you were stranded on a (dirty) desert island with only one cleaning product, which would it be? Real Simple vetted dozens of sprays, wipes, and concentrates—from old standbys to new green contenders—to help you decide.

Jens Mortensen

Most Luxe Spray

The white-grapefruit scent of Murchison-Hume Counter Intelligence is as pretty as the tinted bottle, which is nice enough to sit out on the counter as a tidy-up reminder for the less vigilant. Like all the green picks here, this combats germs without chemicals, so it's safe to use in food-prep zones. Also in juniper berry scent.

To buy: $13,

Jens Mortensen

Best Anti-Germ Spray

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface is powered by thymol, an extract of thyme, to eliminate germs naturally. The intense herbal scent can be polarizing, so sniff before purchasing.

To buy: $3.99, Yahoo! Shopping.

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Jens Mortensen

Most Addictive Spray

Parsley Plus is green to the nth degree—nontoxic and effective, with an unbelievably fresh and cheerful parsley scent that you'll miss between cleanings.

To buy: $5, Yahoo! Shopping.

Jens Mortensen

Spray With the Most Muscle

Keep Fantastik With Bleach on hand for times you’re really angry at grime. Incredibly powerful, it out-performed all others tested. (When removing a spot from a white wall, the spray left the wall whiter than it was originally.) It's not shy on chemicals, so keep the windows open.

To buy: $3, at supermarkets.

Jens Mortensen

Best Unscented Spray

Nothing but clean. There are no scents, dyes, or ammonia in Better Life What-Ever!, so it's good for chemically sensitive people, those with asthma, or anyone trying to green the cleaning caddy. It’s popular among our cleaning-obsessed staffers.

To buy: $7, Yahoo! Shopping.

Manfred Koh

Best-Smelling Wipe

We love the bright citrus scent and the retro packaging of J.R. Watkins in Lemon. Watkins has been making natural products for more than a hundred years, so even if you’ve never heard of the company, rest assured that it has serious green cred.

To buy: $4, Yahoo! Shopping.

Manfred Koh

Most Versatile Wipe

Keep stereo speakers perfectly clean, go at stainless steel without fear of streaking (many wipes warn against use on stainless), and swab sealed wood and glass items to boot. Pledge Multi Surface wipes leave you with no excuse for dirty surfaces.

To buy: $4.50 for 25 wipes, at supermarkets.

Manfred Koh

Best Bang for Your Buck Wipes

Clorox Green Works offers an abundance of wipes at a reasonable price. The muscle comes from corn and coconut, both natural cleaning agents.

To buy: $6 for 62 wipes, at supermarkets.

Jens Mortensen

Longest Lasting Concentrate

Mere teaspoonfuls of Shaklee Get Clean Basic H2 power gallons and gallons of home-mixed cleaner. It comes with instructions for creating three different strengths (for glass, general cleaning, and grease cutting).

To buy: $12.50,

Jens Mortensen

Best Aromatherapeutic Concentrate

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose contains a pleasing mix of geranium, rose, and clove oils—famed spirit-lifters that smell like heaven.

To buy: $8, Yahoo! Shopping.

Jens Mortensen

Concentrate With the Mildest Scent

The soft, lemony fragrance of Ecover All Purpose is refreshing, not overpowering. Made by a super-green company, so you can feel extra good about choosing it.

To buy: $6, Yahoo! Shopping.

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