To find out, we applied cooking grease, ketchup, mustard, and grape juice on tile or glass; sprayed or poured on 16 all-purpose cleaners; and let them sit for up to 5 minutes, according to label instructions. We then wiped a uniform number of times with paper towels or a sponge. We also used each cleaner on caked-on soap scum. After that, we let the cleaners sit overnight on painted wall panels, bronze, and 11 other surfaces, as they might after an unnoticed spill, and then looked for damage.
Antibacterial products might help create forms of bacteria that are harder to kill, and the government says they aren’t better at preventing the spread of household germs.
Some products that cost 12 or 14 cents per ounce didn’t do very well.
Hard water alone removed more soap scum than many of the products.
With elbow grease and repeated application, most of the all-purpose cleaners will eventually remove soils. Those we recommend are easier on your arms. For bathrooms (especially toilets), use a product that contains bleach and is meant for bathroom surfaces.