The six cleaning products that aren't worth your money

Fabric softener, robot vacuums and floor cleaners: Experts list the SIX cleaning products that aren’t worth your money

  • CHOICE have revealed the top six money wasters when it comes to cleaning
  • Robot vacuums made the list despite huge improvements over recent years
  • Fabric softener, flushable wipes and floor cleaner were also high on the list

Cleaning experts have revealed the top six products that aren’t worth your money – including fabric softener, robot vacuums and floor cleaners. 

According to the product testers at Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group, CHOICE, commercial dishwasher cleaners, multiple surface sprays and flushable wipes are also unnecessary.

And while some of the products, like robot vacuums, make the list because they are ‘less effective’ than other options on the market – other products ‘simply do nothing’.

Cleaning experts have revealed the top six products that aren’t worth your money – including fabric softener, robot vacuums and floor cleaners

The experts claimed they could not recommend one brand of floor cleaner, because none of them worked well enough.

While some other products, like fabric softener, actually made things worse – with experts claiming clothes typically leave the washer dirtier when softeners are used.

The first item of the group’s hit list could save many house holds a lot of money each year.

Multi-purpose sprays

According to CHOICE there is no need to have a different surface spray for every room, as they all do the same thing. 

‘Our recent tests of a wide range of these sprays reveal that there’s virtually no difference between multipurpose cleaners and kitchen sprays, which means they’re all going to do roughly the same job, no matter which room you’re in,’ they wrote.

The cleaning product you choose is important, but once you have settled on one that’s effective, it can be used everywhere, they explained.

Floor cleaners

The group’s lab experts tested 15 of the top selling floor cleaners and found hot water and elbow grease to be the winner.

They found that no floor cleaner was good enough to recommend. They claimed that some, in fact, performed even worse than water.

Commercial dishwasher cleaners

According to the experts a bowl of vinegar in a hot cleaning cycle is efficient enough to keep the family dishwasher clean.

In fact while the commercial cleaners work very well, they are often overkill, and should only be used if you need to cut through decades of grime.

Before using vinegar it is best to check your user’s manual as some companies have specific instructions – and vinegar may erode sensitive internal mechanisms over time.

You don’t need a different surface spray for every room – just one multipurpose spray will do

Flushable wipes

Despite being sold as flushable, CHOICE says these wipes should never be flushed as they do not disintegrate like toilet paper and can cause blockages. 

And while undoubtedly useful for cleaning up spills or polishing surfaces they need to be placed in the bin.

Robot vacuum cleaner

CHOICE has been testing these self-cleaning machines for years and admits they have improved in quality over the years.

However for people with carpet they are still not a great choice, as they lack the suction power of many barrel vacuums.

What are the six products you shouldn’t bother buying? 

1 – A different multi-purpose spray for each room

2 –  Floor cleaner

3 –  Commercial dishwasher cleaner

4 – Flushable wipes

5 –  Robot vacuum cleaners

6 – Fabric softeners 

Source: Choice 

‘Although some do perform very well on hard floors, some robot vacs in our tests performed very poorly for carpet cleaning.’

They also ‘frequently get stuck’ on ledges, rugs and behind furniture legs, making them even more ineffective. 

Fabric softeners

Fabric softeners leave your clothes dirtier than they were when they went into the washing machine, according to the experts.

And at $9 per bottle they hit consumers in the hip pocket.

They leave a layer of silicones and petrochemical ingredients on the clothes, which in turn transfer to the skin and pollute waterways.

They also reduce the ability for fabric to absorb water so should never be used on towel or nappies.

‘Worse still, they reduce the effectiveness of fire retardancy on clothes, so even though they all have pictures of cute babies on the bottles, they’re an absolute no-no for children’s sleepwear,’ the experts said.

Vinegar can be used as a fabric softener instead, but the washing machine’s manual should be checked first.

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