The Best All-Purpose Cleaner

The Best All-Purpose CleanerDish liquid, in general, is a great choice for an all-purpose cleaner. It’s safe for people and surfaces, effective for even tough challenges, and ridiculously inexpensive to use.

Of all the good choices in the world of dish liquids (including those on the ‘green cleaners’ shelf), I think Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid is the best of the best.

There’s just one downside I’ll mention up front: it is nearly impossible to find in stores. There are plenty of online ordering options, though. The cost is roughly $5 per 25 oz bottle… which makes gallons and gallons of cleaner.

I’ve tried most off-the-shelf spray cleaners and concentrates over the years, but found something about each that was less-than-satisfactory. Not so with Planet; I’ve been using it for several years and continue to be impressed.

It’s not magic, of course; I still have to work. But it’s consistently effective and very gentle at the same time.

In no particular order, here are:

11 Reasons Why Planet is Tops

  1. Use diluted or full strength~ I love that feature in a cleaner!
  2. It’s a surfactant~which means it encourages water to spread evenly instead of beading. You need just a bit of that slick, soapy feel.
  3. It’s effective on most everything~ oily/greasy stuff, stuck-on stuff, even soap scum. I use it in both the kitchen and bathroom; it’s great in sinks and on counters. It also does an impressive job in the tub and shower areas. For a shower stall, I pre-treat liberally with diluted Planet in my spray bottle, then I use the non-scratch scrub sponge with a wee bit of undiluted Planet (and usually some vinegar unless there is natural stone tile) to go over the area.
  4. Works well with other cleaners~ I contacted to be sure Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid is safe to use with my other cleaners. Not only is it safe, it also has no neutralizing effects on my favorites:
    1. white distilled vinegar
    2. rubbing alcohol
    3. hydrogen peroxide
    4. baking soda
  5. Rinses or wipes away easily and thoroughly~ but won’t do harm if a residue remains.
  6. Safe for me: even full-strength~ I don’t want to be breathing in, or absorbing through my skin, chemicals which will damage my health over time. Here’s the listing of ingredients.
  7. Safe for my customers~ Hypoallergenic, and never leaving a residue which would be harmful to them… in the microwave, on the countertop where the kids eat, etc.
  8. Safe for the stuff~ non-damaging to most/all surfaces. If chlorine bleach product rates high in potential-for-damage, Planet is a 1.
  9. Clear (no dye)~ so I don’t have to worry about staining grout etc. with repeated use
  10. Has a beneficial effect over time~ For example: shower doors layered with mineral deposits can be improved with each cleaning instead of using a caustic product to try to power through in a 1x application. The flip side is that it would not have a harmful effect over time; for example, a cleaner which slowly eats away at a surface’s sealant.
  11. Safe for the environment~ easy, since the best cleaners are!

All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe

To make my go-to formula, I fill an empty gallon vinegar jug half full of water; add 2 TBSP of Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid through a funnel, then fill the remainder of the jug with water. (Did I mention how ridiculously inexpensive it is to use??) You might want to tinker with the amount: if the spray gets lathery that’s too much; if water beads on the surface then it’s not quite enough.

Planet With Other Cleaners

And I really love it full strength, on a Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge, to coax stubborn stuff off a surface. Sometimes combined with a squirt of vinegar to cut through mineral deposits (unless the surface is natural stone- Planet is safe but vinegar can’t be used). Sometimes with some hydrogen peroxide for moldy grout. Sometimes with baking soda on the textured bottom of a tub.

Planet For the Floor

If I run out of my floor-cleaner formula, I can add a scant tsp of Planet to my quart spray bottle. Saves the day and does a fine job. (And actually, Planet is an ingredient in my go-to floor formula.)

Have Planet, Will Travel

I carry a flip-top travel bottle holding 3 oz. of undiluted Planet (which is always more than enough all day) to use full strength, or to whip up a quick batch of diluted all-purpose cleaner in my spray bottle if I run low. Don’t sweat the ratio; you can’t do much harm… shoot for about 1 ½ tsp at the top of your filled sprayer for all-purpose cleaner.

And the Winner Is…

If I went on ‘House Cleaners Extreme-Challenge Game Show’ and had to choose just one cleaner to clean a whole house~ the kitchen~ the bathroom~ the floors (as the crowd cheers wildly from the sidelines), I’d step up to the microphone, and I’d say:

“Jack, I’ll go with… Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid!!

(insert ‘roaring crowd’ audio here)

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