Best cleaning products 2021: Our roundup of the top products for a clean and happy home
Make your home sparkle with the best cleaning product you can buy
Getting the house spic and span might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but even the most tedious of household chores can be improved by seeking out the best cleaning products. Whether it’s a multipurpose spray, degreasing foam or a leave-on paste, there is a cleaning product for literally every job in the home.
We’ve rounded up our favourite products that actually get the job done. From oven cleaners and disinfectant wipes to top-rated sponges, these helpful cleaning aids are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
In our guide below, you can find out about the best non-toxic, plant-based cleaners, learn more about innovative products that don’t feature any single-use plastics and get the lowdown on the paste cleaner that people are raving about.
How to choose the best cleaning products for you
What do you need to clean?
While there are several spray cleaners and wipes that can be used all over the home, some household chores require more specialist products. Even the best general use cleaners are unlikely to get an oven as clean as a specially designed oven cleaner, and trying to remove limescale build up with anything other than a proper limescale remover is going to require a lot of elbow grease.
Wanting to keep your cleaning supplies to a minimum is understandable, but adding just a couple of products that can work their more specialist magic is always a good idea.
Not all cleaning products kill germs and bacteria, and if you’re looking for something that will keep nasty bugs at bay and ensure surfaces, toilets or kids’ toys are fully disinfected, as opposed to just clean, make sure to pick up products labelled as anti-bacterial or as a disinfectant. They should usually list specific bacteria and viruses they are effective against.
Do you want to keep things green as well as clean?
Products marked as “non-toxic”, “plant-based” and “all-natural” are rising in popularity, and not without good reason. Gone are the days of cleaning the house by using nothing but strong chemicals and buckets of bleach. Brands like Method or Smol generally produce products that are much more pleasant to use, and safer around children and pets, but still do a bang-up job of keeping your home clean and sparkling. It’s important to note, though, that these cleaning products do still contain some unpleasant irritants, and care should always be taken to keep all cleaning products out of the way of children.
Some brands are also working to cut down on single-use plastics, either by selling their cleaning products in recycled bottles, offering refills for reusable containers, or by only shipping concentrated tablets of their cleaners that you dissolve in water at home. Many are also marked as anti-animal testing, and carry Leaping Bunny certification.
Always check the label
Stopping for two minutes to have a read through of any information provided with any cleaning product will always be worth it. It often features crucial health and safety information, including whether you need to ventilate an area or wear any particular protective equipment.
The label should also include information on where the product can be used. Some bathroom cleaners, for example, shouldn’t be used on porous surfaces like marble, and several toilet cleaners should be avoided if you have a septic tank. Other products like abrasive paste cleaners or disinfectant sprays might leave a mark or strip paint if scrubbed too hard, in which case, it’s best to check the product on a small, hidden area beforehand.
The best cleaning products to buy in 2021
1. Stardrops The Pink Stuff: The best paste cleaner
Price: £1 | Buy now from Wilko
The Pink Stuff enjoys almost cult-like status among cleaning fanatics (we do exist!) and for good reason. This cleaning paste can be used all over the home and garden, cleaning pots, pans, BBQs, sinks, showers, stovetops, tiles and more. Simply dab a damp cloth or sponge directly into the tub, rub into the surface, rinse off and polish. It can even get rid of stains and built-up grime that have been stubbornly refusing to budge for years.
If that wasn’t enough, The Pink Stuff is non-toxic and free from any harsh chemicals. It’s also astonishingly affordable, at only £1 for a pot that will last you a surprisingly long time.
It’s not suitable for every surface and care should be taken on others to ensure it’s not leaving scratch marks as it is gently abrasive (if in doubt, test a small patch in an inconspicuous area) but we promise, if you add this little pot of miracles to your cleaning supplies, you won’t be disappointed.
Key Specs – Size: 500g; Suitable for: Almost all household surfaces, except plastic, acrylic surfaces and highly polished metal; Type: Cleaning paste
2. Viakal Limescale Remover Spray: The best limescale remover
Price: £4 | Buy now from Wilko
If you live in a hard-water area, a good limescale remover will probably be one of the most valuable items in your cleaning arsenal. Tackling those chalky deposits in the sink, around the bath and on shower screens with elbow grease alone is virtually impossible, but this spray from Viakal not only makes getting rid of limescale much easier – regular use will prevent any build-up entirely.
It can be used all over kitchens and bathrooms, on glass, tiles, ceramic and metal, and keeps sinks, taps, showers and baths shining and free of watermarks. The spray nozzles help get the solution into nooks and crannies, and it leaves behind an anti-limescale film that will keep your surfaces sparkling for longer.
The only downside is that it does contain several strong chemicals and should be used with caution to avoid any irritation to the skin.
Key Specs – Size: 750ml; Suitable for: All surfaces; Type: Cleaning spray
3. Scrub Daddy: The best cleaning sponges
Price: £4.70 | Buy now from Amazon
We’ll admit that buying cleaning products isn’t something most people find thrilling, but if there was ever a sponge to get excited about, it would be the Scrub Daddy. These beloved household sponges are as good at scrubbing as they are at bringing a smile to your face.
The Scrub Daddy’s own smile isn’t just there to cheer you up, though: it’s the ideal shape for cleaning cutlery and utensils, and the spikey hair is great for getting into awkward corners. Not only is the clever “FlexTexture” material entirely scratch-free too, but its plastic body also makes it easy to rinse completely clean, keeping it odour free and fresh much longer than usual sponges.
The Scrub Daddy’s real party trick, however, is that the unique material changes texture completely depending on the temperature of the water. Used with cold water, the sponge stays stiff enough to scrub a BBQ clean, but with warm water, softens completely, making it perfect for cleaning delicate china, polished surfaces and non-stick pans.
Key Specs – Size (LDH): 10 x 10 x 4cm; Suitable for: All surfaces, dependent on water temperature; Type: Plastic sponge
4. Smol Surface Spray: The best eco-friendly, non-toxic spray cleaner
Price: £10 for starter pack; £1 per refill | Buy now from Smol
The surface sprays from UK-based clearing company Smol score points on a number of eco-friendly fronts. Instead of being sold in single-use plastic bottles, Smol sprays arrive as empty reusable bottles, with tablets that you then dissolve in warm water to mix the spray solutions yourself. The starter kit contains three reusable bottles and one tablet of each of its sprays – bathroom, multi-surface and glass and mirror. Refill tablets can then be bought as required and sent directly to your front door.
This new model not only removes single-use plastics from the process while cutting shipping costs and emissions, but the bottles and packaging are also designed with sustainability in mind: the bottles are made of recycled plastic, and the cardboard is sourced from FSC-approved forests.
The sprays themselves are non-toxic and cruelty-free, with all of Smol’s products Leaping Bunny certified. But, unlike some other natural, non-toxic products, these sprays work just as well as less eco-friendly competitors, delivering a top-notch clean while cutting down on waste and harsh chemicals.
Key Specs – Size: 500ml per tablet; Suitable for: All surfaces; Type: Cleaning spray
5. Method Wild Rhubarb Floor Cleaner: The best floor cleaner
Price: £4 | Buy now from Amazon
Method is leading the way with non-toxic plant-based cleaners, and its multi-purpose floor cleaner is an absolute dream. Suitable for almost all floor types, including wood, tile, laminate and stone, this floor cleaner is designed to be squirted right onto the floor and then mopped around and left to dry. There’s no need to faff around with buckets of dirty water or soggy rags, and the pleasant rhubarb scent makes cleaning the floor about as enjoyable as it’s ever going to be.
It is worth mentioning that if you have a larger house or a lot of floors to clean, you may find yourself going through half a bottle every time, making it not the cheapest floor cleaner available. But when so many comparable cleaners will have you battling with a mop and bucket and desperately trying to keep pets and children away from the unpleasant chemicals, we think this one clearly comes out on top.
Key Specs – Size: 500g; Suitable for: All floor types; Type: Floor cleaning solution – no need to dilute
6. Flash Kitchen Cleaner Spray: The best all-round kitchen cleaner
Price: £1 | Buy now from Wilko
Keeping the kitchen clean and sparkling can feel like a full-time job, with grease splatters, dropped food and surfaces sticky with jam seemingly reappearing every day like magic. This kitchen cleaning spray from Flash will make short work of both everyday grime and more serious dirt build-up, and can be used everywhere, from inside the oven, to the tabletop, to kitchen tiles. Unlike some other less powerful spray cleaners, it also cuts through grease like a dream, making it perfect for cleaning extractor fans and sticky stovetops.
It has a pleasant if unexciting citrus scent, and is pleasingly cheap. Given how useful it is, it’s a little frustrating that it doesn’t come in bigger bottles, especially when you consider the work other cleaning product brands are doing to reduce single-use plastics. But, for an easy to use, cheap and effective kitchen cleaner, it is hard to beat.
Key Specs – Size: 450ml; Suitable for: All surfaces; Type: Cleaning spray
7. Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner: The best oven cleaner
Price: £3 | Buy now from Wilko
Cleaning the oven has to rank near the top of the list of least pleasant household tasks, so finding a product that makes it as easy as possible is definitely a priority. Mr Muscle’s oven cleaner spray is one of the most popular options and for good reason. While it might not work as well on an oven that’s been left uncleaned for a long time, it’s by far the best option for regular use. Simply remove any oven racks, lay down some newspaper, spray the solution around a cold oven taking care to avoid the rubber seals and heating element, and shut the oven door. After about half an hour, open the door again and you should be able to wipe the surfaces clean, with no scrubbing required.
It’s not the nicest product to use, as it contains strong chemicals that can leave you with a nasty burn if it gets on any bare skin. Thick rubber gloves that cover as much of the forearm as possible are a must. It’s best to apply in a well-ventilated area, so keep doors and windows open if possible, while ensuring that pets and children stay well away. But if used regularly, it can keep your oven looking and working well. It’s a great addition to any household’s cleaning supplies.
Key Specs – Size: 500g; Suitable for: Indoor ovens – shouldn’t be used on self-cleaning ovens or microwaves; Type: Aerosol