When it comes to household products, whether it's toothpaste or window cleaner, I'll readily admit to being a pragmatist. The product has to work, first and foremost. If it doesn't, I don't care how natural or sweet-smelling or biodegradable it is, nor how much the manufacturer boosts wages in developing nations. That's all great stuff, but what's the point if the product doesn't get the job done? At the same time, pragmatic thinking leans toward an optimized approach to housecleaning and the simple idea that one cleaner is better than three…or 12. Well, I'm happy to report that I found at least one all-purpose cleaner that tackles multiple surfaces and rooms, and it does it all without subjecting my children's touch-everything hands (and the city sewer system) to toxic chemicals. It's called Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day.
Why I Chose Mrs. Meyer's
To be honest, she wasn't my first choice. From my days as a backcountry camper, I'm a big fan of Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap, the ultimate earth-friendly all-purpose body cleaner. So I called around town in search of Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds household cleaner. But nobody carried it. (Sorry, Doc.) Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner seemed like a similar product, and I found it at the nearest Whole Foods. It's also less than half the cost of Sal Suds—another victory for pragmatism, not to mention robust product distribution. I specifically wanted a cleaner that can be added to a bucket of water, as that, to me, is the key to all-purpose cleaning. Spray cleaners are fine for countertops and bathroom fixtures, but I find they're not practical for floors, tubs and other large surfaces.
Best in Show
What impressed me most about Clean Day was not only how well-rounded it was as a cleaner but also how consistently it outperformed several other cleaners I typically use (yeah right, like I hire a Denver area house cleaner). The first thing I tried it out on was my stainless steel kitchen sink. I poured a little Clean Day straight into the basin and used that as a reservoir for scrubbing the sink and stainless faucet. Sorry for the cliché, but it made both look like new. The cleaner I usually use here is Bar Keepers Friend, a cleanser-like powder with an odor that makes you want to escape to nearest bar (maybe that's where the name comes from!). I think the Clean Day did a better job, sans smelliness and chalky residue.
Results with the bathroom sinks were similar. Usually I break a sweat scrubbing the soap scum from the worn enamel basins, using conventional cleanser. Not so with Clean Day. I was truly amazed at how well it worked here (maybe because it's like soap, I don't know from chemistry). It also shined up the chromed plastic faucet spouts (yes, they're chrome, but plastic inside), something that previously required window cleaner because the cleanser never would leave a shine.