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The Best Eco-Friendly Multipurpose Cleaners

These concentrated cleaning products are designed to help you use less plastic. Do any of them clean well?


Published June 8, 2023.

See Everything We Tested

What You Need To Know

Want to reduce the single-use plastics in your home? Consider a more eco-friendly multipurpose cleaner. Several brands sell liquid concentrates or tablets that can be diluted at home in reusable glass bottles. Others ship sustainably packaged regular-strength refills straight to your door. But beware—only a few products work well. The Grove Collaborative Multi-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate Set is our overall favorite. We loved its recyclable glass vials and pleasant citrusy, herbal scent. Grove’s powerful grease-fighting formula easily powered through messes throughout testing. It left a few more streaks than our conventional cleaning spray winner in one test but otherwise cleaned just as effectively and required no single-use plastic. Our favorite tablets are the Simplehuman Multi-Surface Cleaning Tablets, Geranium. They’re compact and easy to transport and store. They cleaned well but took a while to dissolve. 

What You Need to Know

When you buy a conventional cleaning spray at your supermarket, a huge portion of what you’re paying for is water packaged in single-use plastic bottles. When the cleaner runs out, many consumers throw away or recycle those bottles without reusing them. 

Several brands have launched sustainable multipurpose cleaners to help reduce that waste. Their products are designed to use less water and plastic packaging, keeping more of the latter out of oceans and landfills. They also weigh less and take up less space during shipping or storage, requiring less fuel and ideally reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Some products are dehydrated into dissolvable tablets that come packaged in compostable paper packets. Some are concentrated into liquids contained in beeswax pods or glass vials. Other liquid concentrates are sold in single-use plastic cartridges, but create less plastic waste compared to conventional full-strength liquid cleaners. To use these sprays, you mix the tablet or liquid concentrate with tap water, reconstituting it into a full-fledged cleaning product. 

One company sells small capsules of vinegar and salt that users mix with tap water and activate using an “electrolyzer.” This device catalyzes the mixture into hypochlorous acid, a simple cleaner and disinfectant. Another company doesn’t concentrate its spray but ships full-strength refills in paper cartons instead of plastic. 

Many products are sold as part of starter kits or sets that include refillable spray bottles. Most of the options we reviewed are available online, but many products are sold in supermarkets as well. We were interested in whether any of these innovative sprays were effective, versatile, and ...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.

Chase Brightwell

Chase is an associate editor for ATK Reviews. He's an epidemiologist-turned-equipment tester and biscuit enthusiast.