My Favorite New All-Purpose House Cleaner

by Nancy on February 8, 2012

method All Purpose natural surface cleaner

My new favorite all-purpose cleaner.

Do you have cupboards overflowing with a variety of house cleaners? Recently I cleaned out a stash of cleaning supplies underneath one of my bathroom sinks and discovered I had five different all-purpose surface cleansers.

Why do I do this? I know. The little housekeeping fairy that lives in my brain is beguiled by the claims and packaging. She tells me if I only get this cleaner everything will magically sparkle and shine if I’ll only buy it for her.

Besides, I’m confused. What’s the difference between all-purpose and disinfecting cleaners? “Natural” versus “regular?” Am I a horrid, awful, environment-destroyer if I use a regular cleanser? There are scores of green bloggers out there extolling the virtues of vinegar and cut lemons.

Personally, I can’t stand the smell of vinegar emanating from all my counters. That doesn’t say clean to me, it says badly made vinagrette. I love the smell of lemon and I guess if I lived in Arizona and had an abundant lemon crop from my own tree I might consider “cutting a lemon in half and rubbing it over everything.” But the penny-pincher, Colorado-gal in me is not going to buy bags of lemons to rub over my toilet seats.

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Cleaner

Sorry, not feeling the love with this cleaner. Smells like band-aids.

A recent edition of a consumer magazine I subscribe to recommended Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner. I tried it in my bathroom and noticed a lingering unpleasant smell I finally identified as band-aids. Curious, I checked the label which tells me it is scented with lemongrass and thyme oil.

I sprayed more counters…still smells like band-aids to me.  I also discovered in the instructions that for the cleanser to work as a disinfectant it has to sit on the surface for 10 minutes. I suppose I could spray all my countertops, go meditate 10-minutes and then return to wipe my counters – a way of combining green cleaning with harmony in my universe but I don’t have the patience.

Then I received the January/February 2012 issue of Cooks Illustrated. One of the articles was their test for an all-purpose cleanser for their test kitchen. In their typical, well-thought-out, practical way their first priority was for a cleaner that cleaned. The cleansers they tested also got higher marks if they didn’t streak and smelled good. And guess what? Their top-rated cleanser turned out to be a green cleaner, METHOD All-Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner.

I went out and bought some. Cooks used the french lavender scented cleaner so that’s what I bought. And guess what? I love it! I was concerned I wouldn’t like the lavender smell in the kitchen but it’s just fine. This cleaner also comes in clementine, pink grapefruit, scent-free, cucumber and three other smells. There’s definitely scent for everyone.

The Cooks Illustrated article on all-purpose cleansers is excellent. It includes a graphic that clearly shows the difference between different types of cleansers. More importantly it describes the difference between disinfecting or antibacterial cleansers versus regular cleaners. You have to be a subscriber (online or paper version) to read the whole thing but anyone can access this informative 4-minute video on the Cooks website for more information.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane Fettig February 13, 2012 at 7:58 am

I’m going to go out and buy some today! I am a “good smell” freak myself – can’t stand so many smells… Thanks!

lori February 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Ha, I don’t see me meditating in between cleaning jobs either…. I’m so glad you found this out as I too have cupboards full of half-used cleaning supplies. Hurrah!
lori´s last blog post ..Bits of Rome

Nancy February 17, 2012 at 7:28 am

Joan bought the white rosemary scented version which is very nice. I keep looking for the other scents in our grocery stores. I haven’t found anywhere that carries all of options. Our local Safeway (no surprise) only carries one variety. I found the lavender and tangerine at King Soopers.

Mary February 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

I just started using the Method cleaner, too–I was tired of chemical odors and decided that lavendar was much more appealing. It does a much better job than one poor-performing name brand cleaner did for me.
No way is a cleaner going to sit on my surfaces for 10 minutes. It will be there for posterity. About 2 minutes or less in, I will have forgotten why I was supposed to be hanging around for 10 minutes.

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