Last updated: August 6, 2021

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An all-purpose cleaner is always there for your daily cleaning and tidying. According to industry estimates, 220,000 tonnes of cleaning products are sold in Germany every year.

We will help you find the right all-purpose cleaner for you. Here you will also find answers to frequently asked questions about all-purpose cleaners. We have also discussed the disadvantages.

Accordingly, the Federal Environment Agency advises against using an all-purpose cleaner or any other cleaning agent unless it is absolutely necessary. Don't be alarmed, of course, this does not mean that all all-purpose cleaners on the market are harmful to the environment.

Therefore, the German market offers many options for sustainable all-purpose cleaners: either in the vegetable formula, the recyclable packaging or the form (tabs) of the product.


  • An all-purpose cleaner is an all-rounder product that every household should have. Whether you want to wipe down surfaces or clean the floor thoroughly, you can rely on a good all-purpose cleaner to get you clean.
  • Less is more. You can almost always use all-purpose cleaner diluted, unless you want to remove a stubborn stain. The environment will thank you for it too.
  • If you're not a big fan of chemicals, you're bound to find a sustainable all-purpose cleaner on the market. Many manufacturers are even accredited for this.

The Best All-Purpose Cleaner: Our Choices

Buying and rating criteria for all-purpose cleaners

Big choice and it's hard for you to choose an all-purpose cleaner. Don't worry! We have listed some buying and review criteria for you. The following are, in our opinion, the most important criteria:

Of course, it is not enough to just list the criteria. We will give you a detailed explanation, starting with:


Fragrance is generally a matter of taste. Whether you like it flowery or completely without perfume, you are well covered in the choice on the market. All-purpose cleaners come in many possible fragrances to please customers.

Most all-purpose cleaners on the market come in floral or fresh scents. However, the marketing of these is different for each brand. Sustainable all-purpose cleaners also have products that are fragrance-free to satisfy customers with sensitivity to fragrances.


The liquid form is the winner in the all-purpose cleaner category. Without a doubt, the liquid product is more versatile than the other forms. But that does not mean it is the easier to use. Some customers lean towards the all-purpose wipes because they are suitable for a quick clean. Both forms are, in our view, complementary.

In this criterion, the sustainable brands also have their own trend. These brands have developed a completely new form, namely tabs. Tabs are more sustainable because they require small and non-polluting packaging.

Dilute or use directly

It depends on what you need exactly. Almost all products recommend direct application for stubborn stains, where you apply the product, let it work for a few minutes and then wipe it off. For normal cases, it is better to use the all-purpose cleaner diluted to make it clean.


Sustainable is an adjective that every manufacturer more or less strives for. Whether with sustainable packaging, sustainable ingredients or sustainable form concept (tabs), most products take a step in the "eco-friendly" direction.

Toxic ingredients

Questionable ingredients are still present in many all-purpose cleaners, despite the drive for a sustainable image. Unnecessary disinfectants (benzalkonium chloride), harmful fragrances (Lilial) are just examples of chemicals in all-purpose cleaners that we unknowingly buy and use.

Cleaning power

The more an all-purpose cleaner contains strong chemicals, the stronger it is. You don't need to do any research to prove that. What is remarkable, however, is how many products are on the market that are ecological and still offer competitive performance.

Guide: Frequently asked questions on the subject of all-purpose cleaners answered in detail

Even though we have explained all the buying criteria in detail. There are still unanswered questions that you are sure to have. The following are frequently asked questions about all-purpose cleaners

What is an all-purpose cleaner suitable for?

An all-purpose cleaner is suitable for cleaning most wipeable surfaces. It is a universal cleaning agent that can be used in various areas. Whether kitchen worktops, tables or floors, with an all-purpose cleaner you can guarantee a clean finish.

Of course, the use of all-purpose cleaners is also limited for some surfaces. Because of the surfactants they contain, the use of all-purpose cleaners is not recommended for wooden floors and surfaces.

How to use an all-purpose cleaner to clean?

Less is more. If you want to keep a routine cleanliness, then you definitely do not need to use the concentrated all-purpose cleaner. Follow the instructions on the product and use the diluted all-purpose cleaner.

The dirtier and more stubborn the stains are, the more concentrated the all-purpose cleaner should be. So do not use undiluted all-purpose cleaner unless you really need it to remove a stain.

How much does an all-purpose cleaner cost?

Like all packaged products, the packaging and product form play a big role in the price of all-purpose cleaner. The market position of the brands also have an effect on the price.

For environmentally friendly all-purpose cleaners and for all-purpose cleaners with the Blue Angel seal, the price is accordingly higher. The following table lists the different price categories for all liquid all-purpose cleaners:

Price category Available products
Low-priced 1.34 - 3.06 €/l) Liquid all-purpose cleaners packed in normal bottles
Medium-priced 2.49 - 4.65 €/l) Liquid all-purpose cleaners in spray bottles
High-priced from 4.17 €/l) All-purpose cleaners marketed as sustainable

All prices are given in (€/l) to compare the products more accurately. The table only contains prices for liquid all-purpose cleaners. Tabs and wipes are therefore more difficult to compare. Tabs are even considered as niche products.

How can you make your own all-purpose cleaner?

If you are not satisfied with what is on the shelves in supermarkets, just make it yourself. All-purpose cleaners are not difficult to make yourself. There are many recipes depending on what you prefer.

DIY all-purpose cleaner with citric acid, with vinegar or with a fragrant essential oil is a matter of taste. But the important thing is that you have a clear conscience towards the environment.


A clean home is not an unattainable goal, thanks to the wide range of all-purpose cleaners. The versatile products are easy to use to achieve clean surfaces and floors. Whatever shape or fragrance suits you, you're sure to find something to suit your taste.

The choice is wide, but don't let it confuse you. All-purpose wipes are your solution when you want to do a quick clean. Liquid all-purpose cleaners are designed more for basic cleaning. Tabs are new players on the market, but they are not to be ignored.

(Cover photo: 123rf / Vadym Pastukh)

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