Green all-purpose cleaners lose out to a veteran

Consumer Reports
Green Cleaners Test

Can one household cleaner vanquish tough kitchen stains such as grease and grape juice; soap scum and other bathroom scourges; and stubborn mineral deposits left by hard water?

To find out, we applied those and other common stains to tiles; sprayed or wiped on 19 all-purpose cleaners, and inserted the tiles into our special scrubbing apparatus. In our tough tests, only Pine-Sol Original cleaned well enough to be recommended, earning high marks on all stains. It did so without streaking, and at 9 cents per ounce is a CR Best Buy.

MORE AT COnsumer Reports

All-purpose cleaners are typically used to clean such household surfaces as kitchen counters and bathroom tiles. In our labs we pit them against four soil types—grease, grape juice, ketchup and mustard that we spread on glass, ceramic and metal tiles. Then it's on to the soap scum test.

Finally, we see if the cleaners leave streaks behind. Only the Pine-Sol aced that test. It was also very good at removing stains and soap scum and was the only cleaner to make our list of top-picks.

Green Works Cleaner
Two green cleaners topped our list of sprays but neither were good enough to be recommended. Seventh Generation Natural All-Purpose Cleaner was very good at removing soap scum but needed extra elbow grease to remove the food and was only so-so on the streaking test.

Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner performed similarly but didn’t do quite as well on the soap scum test. Another green cleaner landed near the bottom of the rankings despite its upbeat name.

Whip-It Earth Friendly Miracle Cleaner Multi-Purpose had trouble removing both soap scum and food soil and left streaks behind as well.

(See also: Best stain removing products and cleaning tips)

Keep in mind that not all green claims are meaningful. Here's what our experts say about the claims you'll see in the cleaning supplies aisle.

Claim. USDA Organic.
Definition. At least 95 percent of ingredients must be plant-based.
Brand. Green Mission.
Our take. Meaningful.

Claim. Leaping Bunny
Definition. Company pledges that no animal testing was used in developing the product.
Brand. Seventh Generation.
Our take. Meaningful.

Claim. EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE).
Definition. Product uses ingredients deemed "safest in class" by government.
Brand. Green Works.
Our take. Meaningful.

Claim. Natural.
Definition. Implies no added synthetic ingredients. But no standard exists, and even truly all-natural products aren't necessarily safer than synthetic ones.
Brands. Method, Seventh Generation, Trader Joe's, Whip-It.
Our take. Not meaningful. Look for more specific claims.

Claim. Earth-friendly or Ecological.
Definition. Implies no harm to the environment. But no standard exists, and the Federal Trade Commission cautions against use of the term.
Brands. Ecover, Whip-It.
Our take. Not meaningful.

Claim. Nontoxic.
Definition. Implies no harm to health. But no standard exists.
Brands. Green Mission, Method, Seventh Generation, Whip-It.
Our take. Not meaningful.

Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Celine Dion Celebrates Twins’ Birthday at Disneyland: They’re ‘Trying to Make the Best’ of Life, Says Source

      Vocal powerhouse Céline Dion took her sons to Disneyland on Saturday to celebrate the sixth birthday of her fraternal twin boys Eddy and Nelson, with big brother René-Charles, 15, along for the fun. The whimsical trip comes nine months after Dion’s husband of over 20 years, René Angélil, died from throat cancer at age 73. “Family time in Disneyland for the twins’ 6th birthday!” the five-time Grammy winner captioned a snap in both English and French of the family smiling for the camera while enjoying a ride on Pinocchio’s Daring Journey.

    • General is most senior Army officer to kill self

      WASHINGTON  — The Army acknowledged Friday that Maj. Gen. John Rossi committed suicide on July 31, making him the highest-ranking soldier ever to have taken his own life. Rossi, who was 55, was just two days from pinning on his third star and taking command of Army Space and Missile Command when he killed himself at his home at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. Investigators could find no event, infidelity, misconduct or drug or alcohol abuse, that triggered Rossi's suicide, said a U.S. government official with direct knowledge of the investigation. It appears that Rossi was overwhelmed by his responsibilities, said the official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

      USA Today q
    • 15 Movies You Must See in November (48 photos)

      From a Tom Ford-directed drama and a flick featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda's music to a return to J.K. Rowling's wizarding world, these are the films you can't miss this November. From Harper's BAZAAR

      Harper's Bazaar
    • 'I messed up' – man shot girlfriend in head after rejected marriage proposal say police

      A man from Indiana shot and killed his girlfriend just moments after she rejected his marriage proposal, police have said. Jason Eaton, 43, allegedly told officers he approached girlfriend Wendy Sabatini with an engagement ring in the bedroom of her house in Greensburg, south-east of Indianapolis. Eaton then grabbed a gun from a nightstand and shot the mother-of-two in the back of the head, police said.

      International Business Times UK q
    • New DNA twist in JonBenét Ramsey murder

      DNA evidence in the killing of JonBenét Ramsey does not support a former prosecutor’s decision to clear the girl’s relatives in her death, according to an explosive new report revealing new information to the public for the first time in the 1996 killing. A joint report by the Boulder Daily Camera and 9NEWS analyzed exclusively obtained lab test results and reports in the homicide that remains Colorado’s most closely followed unsolved murder two decades after the 6-year-old beauty queen was found dead in the basement of her family’s home. Forensic experts who examined those DNA tests disputed former District Attorney Mary Lacy’s conclusion that a DNA profile found in one location on the girl’s underpants and two spots on her long johns necessarily belonged to the killer, which Lacy asserted when clearing the girl’s family of suspicion in 2008.

      New York Post q
    • Photo of Kansas dog with a mouthful of ladybugs is freaking out pet owners

      The photo that veterinarian Lindsay Mitchell posted to Facebook looked so unreal and disturbing that some who saw it went right to the hoax-busting website Snopes to verify it. But that didn’t stop the photo from being shared more than 53,000 times since it went up last week. Mitchell, of Hoisington, Kan., posted a graphic picture of a dog with a mouthful of Asian lady beetles. Ladybugs aren’t so cute when 30 to 40 of them are stuck to the roof of a dog’s mouth. “This is the second pup I have seen like this today. If your pet is drooling or foaming at the mouth look for these lady bugs. They cause ulcers on the tongue and mouth and have a very painful bite,” she wrote on the Hoisington Veterinary

      The Charlotte Observer q
    • Charlize Theron Wears Flowy Gown After Gaining 35 Lbs. for New Film, Jokes, ‘I’m Very Fat Right Now’

      Charlize Theron usually wows on the red carpet in super-sparkly, super-plunging, body-hugging gowns but on Thursday night she attended the amfAR Inspiration Gala in L.A. in something very un-Charlize-like — a loose-fitting black ensemble. “It wasn’t long after I gave this speech talking about how we couldn’t forget the most vulnerable among us that I realized I had forgotten someone.

    • Stephanie McMahon Has Signed An Extension With WWE, Which Was Apparently Necessary

      YouTubeStephanie McMahon has been an onscreen character on WWE television since 1999, with a few years mixed in there of only making sporadic appearances. Nevertheless, the daughter of Vince McMahon and the wife of Paul “Triple H” Levesque has been a fixture of WWE programming nonstop since 2013, and she currently serves as the grand poobah of Raw. Get excited, because she’s planning on staying in the company in perpetuity. You would too, if you were her.

    • Mariah Carey is seeking support from Nick Cannon after split from James Packer, says rapper's father

      Following the much public split of Mariah Carey and James Packer, the All I Want For Christmas Is You singer is reportedly leaning onto ex-husband Nick Cannon for support, according to his father, James Cannon.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Miami-Dade busts 2 women for election fraud

      A 74-year-old woman tasked with opening envelopes sent by Miami-Dade County voters with their completed mail ballots was arrested Friday after co-workers caught her illegally marking ballots, resulting in an unknown — but small — number of fraudulent votes being cast for mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado. Investigators linked Gladys Coego, a temporary worker for the county elections department, to two fraudulent votes, but they suspect from witness testimony that she submitted several more. Coego, of Westchester, turned herself in to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Friday morning. The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office plans to accuse Tomika Curgil, 33, of filling out forms for five people without their consent.

      Miami Herald q
    • AI system finds Trump will win the White House and is more popular than Obama in 2008

      An artificial intelligence system puts Republican nominee Donald Trump ahead of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the election race.

    • Kelly Clarkson Reveals the One 'American Idol' Competitor That Could Have Beat Her

      The 34-year-old singer makes an admission to Harry Connick Jr.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Daylight Saving Time

      Many countries observe Daylight Saving Time, meaning this weekend they will put back their clocks to "shorten" the dark winter evenings. VIDEOGRAPHICS

      AFP Videographics
    • Teyana Taylor Gets Her Own Workout Plan

      Teyana Taylor is turning the "Fade" video into her very own workout.

    • ‘Walking Dead’ Creator Robert Kirkman Explains Why Negan’s Victim Had to Die

      “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman is no stranger to killing off characters, but the death of a major character in the Season 7 premiere that has rankled fans had to happen. “It’s just that there’s a lot of material that comes from Glenn’s death in the comics,” Kirkman told Entertainment Weekly. Both Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) were murdered by Negan with his barbed wire baseball bat, Lucille.

      The Wrap
    • This is what Tesla will unveil tonight

      Tesla will lift the lid Friday on its "solar roof," which Elon Musk says could make customers their own utilities.

    • The Sixers Fan Who Flipped Off Russell Westbrook Is A Doctor Who Claims He Was Provoked

      Immediately after this happened, everyone wanted to know this dude’s identity (and, if you’re Jeff Van Gundy, why Westbrook wasn’t allowed to go into the stands and beat the hell out of him). As it turns out, learned that this Sixers fan is named Richard Harkaway, and when he’s not trying to get a rise out of All-NBA guards, he’s a urologist in Philadelphia. In this instance, after standing up to boo and being provoked by Russell Westbrook calling attention to my being overweight, my action in response was clearly inexcusable and I am embarrassed.

    • Queen Elizabeth II Went Inside a Grocery Store and Her Reaction Is Priceless

      Queen Elizabeth II visited a grocery store in Poundbury, England on Thursday, and no one seemed more surprised by the trip than the Queen herself.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Woman Accidentally 'Steals' Subaru, Brings it Back With Apology Note and Gas Money

      Oops. 'Sorry I stole your car,' read the note inside Erin Hatzi's Subaru.

      Inside Edition