One all-purpose cleaner

PatJuly 18, 2012

If you could have just one all-purpose cleaner, which one would it be, commercial or home-made. I know this was discussed before, but not for a couple of years, as far as I can tell. I'm trying to simplify my life and reduce the number of different cleaning products I have. Help and thank you.


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That's a tough one. I have so many specialized cleaners. Dish detergent, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, stainless steel cleaner for the sink, Cinch spray for countertop,stove and my kitchen table. Floor cleaners, wood cleaners, sprays for bathroom tiles, sink and counter, toilet cleaner. Can anybody help?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 8:19AM
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If I could have only one cleaner it would be Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. They clean practically everything. Today I used one for the soap scum on the bathtub tile and on crayon marks on my kids old wooden blocks. I cleaned them up for my grandchildren. Both tile and blocks look brand new. I've also used one to clean my white sneakers and to take an ink mark off my leather purse. They are great for cleaning switchplates and such because they need to be only slightly damp. Just be careful. Also they a slightly abrasive, so they could scratch. I think it scratched my microwave touch control pad a little bit, I wouldn't use it on that. I think you still need other cleaning products, such as windex though.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:49AM
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Commercial: 409
Home made: vinegar and water

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 10:10AM
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what vinegar doesn't clean, baking soda does...

but I do love my dish soap, any dish soap, I can add my own lemon!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 2:59PM
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I love and use two is Charlies soap all purpose cleaner, or basic H2 by Shaklee... lasts forever and will save you lots of money!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 5:22PM
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I think you need several but not a lot. You just need to know what they are best at cleaning and use the right product for the right situation.

If you have hard water you need something with vinegar in it to dissolve water spots. If you have soft water, then you can dispense with a vinegar cleaner.

Something like 409 is an alkaline cleaner that softens/dissolves protein deposits and waxy soil (crayons, etc) after setting for a minute or two. All the generic household cleaners are more like 409 than they are like something else. Find one you like. If you are cleaning eggs or flour, you would want an alkaline product. Cleans hand prints from upholstered furniture.

Windex will not leave streaks on windows (like 409 will).

Dish soap on a sponge will clean up any sugary spills.

The magic sponge products clean grime on hard surfaces beautifully with friction. If you have tile anywhere in the house, you need some magic erasers or the generic equivalents at the dollar stores. We cleaned a 400 square foot tile floor with soot from a house fire with one magic type mop attachment. It took 20 minutes. Also use a magic sponge to clean a stained coffee pot or mug.

For cleaning food stains in a ceramic sink, a few drops of bleach and a few drops of foamy hand soap scrubbed around with a dish brush will work in a minute. I like this better than Comet or Ajax because it does not wear out the ceramic finish.

The Clean Shower product really helps keep soap scum and hard water deposits from attaching to tile and glass in the shower. All it is is Water, alcohol, and soap. Then the occasional rub with a magic sponge takes the film off.

Oxyclean and the generic equivalents are amazing at removing all kinds of stains from clothes. Soak for as long as 8 hours and then wash. Amazing!

Furniture wax (or paint thinner) cleans grime from wooden objects and furniture. If you feel the urge to use 409 or other watery cleaner on wood, resist and use paint thinner first. If that doesn't work, have it ready to re oil the wood after you clean it.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:43PM
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I recently "made" my own rug cleaner. I had a home-disaster flood. The hose popped off the back of my washing machine so a load of wash then rinse water overflowed onto my basement carpet.To make it worse, that's where the cat litter box is and there was clay cat litter on the floor. Clay Cat litter plus water eqiuals mud. I tried spray cleaners but it only made the mess worse. I rented one of those Rug Doctor machines and instead of using the RD proprietary cleaner recommended, I mixed up a batch of 50% water and 50% white distilled vinegar plus a squirt of Dawn Detergent, and poured that in the machine. It sucked up most of the dirt and water off the rug but I was left with a very wet rug. So I set a fan in the room and turned it on. It took 36 hours to dry but it worked!!! My kids couldn't believe I was able to salvage the carpet. They were sure I'd need to tear it up! I liked the results so much I'm planning on using vinegar and water for my general cleaning from now on. I'm gonna replace my Windex, 409, etc with the water/vinegar mix. I will keep using commercial toilet cleaner though. Just not sure vinegar will clean a toilet.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Soap and water cleans everything I need cleaning. I think that works so well because I always clean as I go. When I hired a housekeeper, he said you have a very clean house. When I needed a plumber he said you have the cleanest toilet I have ever worked on and I only use soap and water. LOL

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 12:12PM
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Emma, thanks for your post. My Grandma had the cleanest house you ever saw. She cleaned with soap and water, fresh air and sunshine. She had been widowed (twice) at a young age and turned her home into a boarding house to make ends meet. For example, she'd do her laundry, then lay the sheets and towels on the grass in the sun to dry. She didn't use bleach or fabric softeners or those other products we have today. When they were dry, she'd give them a quick shake to get off any insects or grass cuttings, then bring them indoors. To keep ants away, she'd lay cucumber peelings around the walls and corners of her kitchen. And her windows were always open, unless it was rainy or freezing out. Sometimes simple ways are best.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:03AM
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