All-Purpose Cleaner 101: Why Your Home Needs a Good One

All-Purpose Cleaner 101: Why Your Home Needs a Good One

Instead of bulky buckets, discover how Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner (and a great microfiber cloth) covers your need for natural cleaning products.
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Written by Lisa Truesdale. Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.

It’s cleaning day at your house. You’re trudging all over the place, trying to eliminate messes in the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms, family room, and everywhere else your family and pets hang out. It’s tiring enough doing all that hard work -- who needs the added frustration of lugging around a heavy basket of supplies filled with multiple cleaning formulas, plus sponges, rags, and brushes?

Luckily, you really only need two things for effective everyday cleaning around the home -- clean microfiber cloths and a good all-purpose cleaner.

What Does All-Purpose Cleaner Do?

Puracy Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Perhaps a better question here might be, “What doesn’t all-purpose cleaner do?”

A good all-in-one cleaning formula like Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner effectively removes dirt, dust, grease, grime, caked-on foods, and much more, from virtually any non-porous surface. That means chrome, stainless steel, floors, wood, marble, granite, sinks, electronics, furniture, toys, mirrors, and glass.

Yes, one formula does all that!

Multi-Surface Cleaner Benefits

Besides the fact that one good multi-surface cleaner can clean nearly every surface in your home, there are other important benefits:

  • Multi-surface cleaners save money. No need to spend hard-earned cash on different cleaning formulas for different surfaces.
  • Multi-surface cleaners save time. Who wants to run around finding the right formula for each surface or constantly reading labels to determine which formula cleans what?
  • Multi-surface cleaners save space. Just think of all the room in the cabinet you’ll free up by not having separate bottles for everything.
  • Multi-surface cleaners help the environment. One refillable spray bottle = less packaging waste.

How to Clean Surfaces Without Leaving Streaks

Want to use an all-purpose cleaner throughout your home, but hate when it leaves streaks behind? We’re with you. Follow these easy step-by-step directions for cleaning just about any surface in your home without leaving unsightly streaks or residue behind.

1. Spray the surface* with Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner using a sweeping motion. You need only one spray (trigger pull) per 2-foot-by-2-foot surface area; don’t accumulate too much cleaner in one spot. If you’re cleaning the stove or the counter next to it, make sure the surface has cooled completely before cleaning.

*NOTE: Don’t spray electronics or leather directly; first spray the cleaner onto a clean, dry microfiber cloth. For tips on cleaning a computer screen, see How to Clean a Computer Screen Without Leaving Smudges. For tips on cleaning coated leather, see How to Clean Coated Leather.

2. With a clean microfiber cloth, wipe in fast-moving, overlapping “Z” patterns. Use medium pressure, which creates the friction you’ll need to remove all of the cleaning solution from any given surface. As you wipe, you will see the wetness patterns evaporate after you pass over; this confirms you are creating the right amount of friction and heat with the pressure you’re applying. In the following video, Sean Busch, Puracy’s co-founder and resident cleaning expert, demonstrates how to apply our multi-surface cleaner using fast-moving, overlapping “Z” patterns…

3. For heavily soiled areas, such as stuck-on food on the countertop, spray the surface and then wait 30 seconds before wiping. This gives the formula a chance to really cut through the grime.

4. If you’re seeing streaks or residue after you’ve cleaned, then it’s likely due to one of the following reasons:

  • Your microfiber cloth is dirty. Fold it over to a clean side, or use a fresh cloth.
  • You’ve sprayed too much cleaner onto the surface. Remember, you need just one spray of Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner per 2x2 foot surface area.
  • The surface is too warm. Always let a surface cool before cleaning, and don’t clean a surface that’s in direct sunlight. Heat can cause the cleaner to dry too quickly, which can leave smudges. There’s a saying in the cleaning industry: “Don’t clean windows in the sun.”
  • The surface is just really dirty. Carefully follow all of the directions and precautions above, repeating if necessary.

Differences Between Concentrate and Liquid Spray

A liquid spray cleaner comes ready to use; just turn the nozzle to the desired setting (“spray” or “stream”) and you’re ready to tackle all of your cleaning tasks.

With a concentrate, you make your own cleaner at home by mixing the correct amount of concentrate with the correct amount of water in a clean spray bottle. Here at Puracy, we’re proud to be an industry leader in eco-friendly refill pouches and concentrated formulas. They’re an easy choice for your wallet and for the planet.

When it comes to all-purpose cleaner, we offer a 16-oz concentrate bottle. It makes a full gallon of solution, which is the equivalent of more than five of our regular multi-surface cleaner bottles. In the process, our concentrate saves more than 90% in plastic packaging. It’s also much more affordable per ounce -- about half the cost.

When mixing your cleaner according to the directions on the label, Sean recommends using the highest-quality water you can find, ideally distilled or deionized water. You can purchase this type of bottled water at a local store, but if you’re in a pinch, then some refrigerators and sink faucets also dispense water that first runs through a filter.

Sean Busch, Puracy Co-Founder

“I don’t recommend tap water, but if you must use it, always use cold water. Cold water comes directly from the source. If you use hot or warm water, it runs through your hot water heater, which can add hardness or scale to the water.”

Sean Busch, Puracy Co-Founder

Not sure if you live in an area with hard water? See the handy map included with our article How to Remove Hard Water Stains Quickly & Easily.

Are Some Multi-Surface Cleaners Biodegradable?

Plants are biodegradable, so it makes sense that plant-based all-purpose cleaners made without chemical additives, like Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner, are completely biodegradable. In fact, if you went out and dumped some in your backyard right now, it would be fully broken down within 28 days, without harming the surrounding vegetation or the kids and pets who play there. (But we know you won’t pour it out, because you need it for your next cleaning day!)

Harmful Chemicals in Common Household All-Purpose Cleaners

There are some pretty nasty chemicals lurking in many common all-purpose cleaners:

  • Chemical surfactants reduce the surface tension of water, allowing cleaning products to absorb and mix with dirt and grime so it can be rinsed or wiped away. But according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), these surfactants are then released into our wastewater, where they can have a negative effect on aquatic organisms and ecosystems.

  • Acidic ingredients, like hydrochloric acid, are too acidic for most household surfaces; they can gradually “eat away” (or “etch”) the top layer of a given surface as they attempt to eliminate dirt and grime. And if corrosive acid can eat away at a hard surface, think of the damage it can do if you breathe it in or get it on your skin -- or if your baby touches it. Read more in the NIH’s report Acute Toxicity of Hydrogen Chloride.

  • Ammonia, a colorless gas with a distinct pungent odor, is often used in glass cleaners because it evaporates quickly to reduce streaking. But, according to the NIH, exposure to ammonia can cause burning of the nose, throat, and respiratory tract when inhaled and can lead to respiratory distress.

Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner is made with plant-based ingredients and water. It gets the job done without the use of harmful chemicals or animal by-products. It’s hypoallergenic, safe, and gentle enough to use on your baby’s high chair (but powerful enough to rid the entire bathroom of dirt and odors).

Here’s what Puracy Co-Founder Sean Busch has to say about Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner...

Sean Busch, Puracy Co-Founder

“We designed this product to be an incredibly versatile daily or regular cleaner. As I've said many times before, frequent care is easy care. Using the gentlest cleaner possible to get a job done will ensure longevity to the surface and greatly reduce health and environmental risks since you aren't using a harsh cleaner. This product will not be your friend if you have nothing but extreme messes to clean up. This is for regular maintenance of all surfaces in your home and will quickly become your best friend once you work it into your normal cleaning routine.

“Our product is also much easier to use and is more versatile than most of our competitors’ all-purpose cleaners. Why? Well... I won’t name names, but our competitors (including many of the natural ones) typically overload their cleaners with surfactants (soap). There is a 0% chance you can effectively clean granite, glass, or stainless effectively with those types of products. Frankly, anything you clean with it will leave a soapy residue afterward.

“We've developed the perfect balance of water and surfactants in our multi-surface cleaner. This allows you to use the same product for all of your daily household surface cleaning. We've actually tried to tweak this formula in the past and failed. This is the one formula that has remained relatively unchanged since 2014.

“Over the course of many years of doing product R&D alongside our chemist, who holds a PhD from MIT, I've found that chemistry has a harmonizing point where ingredients marry together beautifully to produce your desired outcome. We aim for that point with every product we make; we just happened to hit it a long time ago with our multi-surface cleaner."

Now that you know just about everything there is to know about the magic of all-purpose powerhouses like Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner, your cleaning days will be quicker, less frustrating, less expensive, and gentler on the environment.

The 30 Days of Cleaning with Puracy