Which are best? Generic vs. brand-name cleaning products

You don't have to clean out your wallet to keep your house looking great -- we put generic and brand-name cleaning products to the test to see which work the best for the lowest price.

Kids, pets, dust --- it all makes a mess, but does spending more on brand-name cleaning products actually mean you'll have a cleaner house?

Our expert, Lanette Richmond with Life Maid Easy , helped us execute our test at Jason Henry's Phoenix home.

They both helped us figure out if you're washing your money down the drain by buying brand-name cleaners.


We started with the carpet, pitting Resolve Carpet Cleaner against Target's Up and Up.

You'll pay about $1 more for a 22-ounce can of Resolve.

We disguise the cans so our testers don't know which cleaners they're using.

We spill wine on the carpet and use both cleaners to try to get rid of the evidence.

Almost instantly both stains are gone.

So save your cash and buy the Target brand for $3.29

Or spend even less! We removed the stain using just hydrogen peroxide and that cost us 88 cents for the whole bottle.


Next we battled a dirty oven.

We paid $5.79 for a 16-ounce can of Easy Off oven cleaner. Fry's Everyday Living oven cleaner will cost you almost $3 less -- a big difference in price.

And after a lot of scrubbing, we noticed a big difference in performance.

The Easy Off oven cleaner did a much better job.

In fact, Jason says the Fry's Everyday Living oven cleaner didn't clean the grease.

This time it makes more sense to spend more on the brand name.

But on a side note, both cleaners had a very strong smell. We had to open the doors and windows to make it comfortable inside the house.

Lanette says if you have a self-cleaning oven, it's a healthier option because some of those chemicals can be toxic.


We moved on to the windows with a tried-and-true bottle of Windex, for which we shelled out $3.99 for a 26-ounce bottle.

That's more than double what you'd pay for the same size of Bashas' glass cleaner.

Our testers put their all into making these windows shine but in the end the winner was clear.

The Bashas' glass cleaner washed away the most dirt for less than $2 a bottle.

Lanette showed us an even cheaper solution.

Fill your spray bottle with water; add three drops of the original Palmolive soap, and voila, sparkling clean!

Our Palmolive solution cleaned better than the Windex and it cost pennies to make.


Speaking of pennies, we bought a 13-ounce can of bathroom cleaner from the 99 Cent Only store.

Compare that to a 22-ounce can of Scrubbing Bubbles for $4.19.

We spray both cleaners in the bathtub and surprisingly both cleaners got the dirt right off.

So why spend more if the cheaper cleaner will get the job done just as easily?

You'll save 11 cents per ounce on the cheaper cleaner – that's more than a $2 savings on a 22-ounce can.

While we're in the bathroom, we clean the toilet.

This time it's Clorox with Bleach toilet bowl cleaner for $3.19 versus the Albertsons Homelife toilet bowl cleaner for $2.79.

In the end, Lanette says both cleaners performed the same, so no need to spend extra.

Again, the store brand gave us a better value.


Next is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pads versus Safeway's disposable erasing pads.

You'll spend 75 cents more per pad for the brand name erasers and after doing a whole lot of scrubbing, you'll realize it's worth the cash.

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pads cleaned much easier and didn't rip as easily as Safeway's brand.

Finally we compare Bounty paper towels to Walmart's Great Value paper towels.

You'll pay $1.28 more for the name brand, but in the end, Jason says it's not worth the extra cash.

He says both paper towels got the job done.


Overall the results are clear.

Our testers preferred the generic store brand in five of the seven products we tested.

So keep your house clean on a dime and ditch the name brand cleaners!

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