Multipurpose cleaners review

The below multipurpose cleaners wiped out in our recent lab tests. Our free review shows you which cleaners perform the best.

What brand all purpose spray do you use?


Obviously, the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is not always true, and some products totally fail to live up to the hype.


I use Koh cleaning products. Formerly ekoworks it is a new Aussie company with a fantastic safe odour free all purpose product that really works. I was disappointed it was not reviewed, perhaps because it is not sold in supermarkets. See


I had a look at the web site. Interesting product range Penny.

The one thing that appeared to be difficult to find is the details on the contents of the Universal Cleaner product or an MSDS for the product.

Are there any details on the container re the active ingredients, precautions to take when using it or what to do if the contented are accidentally swallowed, say by children?


We bought a product called 'Kick Ass Kleener’ that seems to be a special product line sold at markets, hence the clever name. Who could walk by it? :laughing: AFAIK it is rebadged ‘Olympic Cleen’ and we have bought Olympic Cleen ever since. We use it for most everything one would use a multipurpose spray for and more, from light tidy up to heavy duty (grout, tiles, ovens, name it) in different concentrations.

For @mark_m, the web site has a prominent safety data sheet link.

There seem to be a number of products that are quite good but not sold in groceries or hardware stores. How many are rebadged versions of the same? Hard to tell excepting Kick Ass and Olympic.

Regardless, those are effective and well priced. It would be informative if Choice could add some of these ‘alternative products’ in the next round as points of comparison. How to select them? Solicit product names. I nominate Olympic Cleen if this idea is a goer.


Here is a photo of the labelling on ekoWorx.


Thanks for that Penny.
It certainly looks like an interesting product. Worth some further Choice interest.

The product example @PhilT uses is great too!
If you are not aware of it the books Spotless and also Speed Cleaning by Shannon Lush are part of our essentials. It’s a amazing just how effective even just water with the right cleaning cloth and a little elbow bending can achieve so much.

All our cleaning waste and water goes into our backyard. You need to be so aware of what is in any product you use.

That the active ingredient is neutralised by CO2 is a most unique property, although my high school chemistry says water does absorb CO2.

Regards, Mark


On ekoWorx website, among the user guides is ecoWorx Information Sheets, including Koh Universal Cleaner SDS.

Section 3 of the SDS states - Composition and information on ingredients: Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) only. No other ingredient is listed.

Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) is commonly called caustic potash or Lye. This is used as a cleaner due to it’s caustic nature.

Safety precautions for KOH: wear gloves, eye protection, and use only in well ventilated areas.

You may want to reassess just how ‘safe’ it is.

The author of the text in the bottom left box on your photo (Dr Leigh Aldous @ UNSW) is also the person who formulated ekoWorx formulated by Dr Leigh Aldous, UNSW (<= bottom of the page).

That text and the info on the website is strangely unscientific. For example "formulated with water, salts, and ‘electrochemistry’ " (are they trying to impress with science-y words?), and “the science of green ionic chemistry” (I never realised ions had a colour).

As there is absolutely no indication of what the concentration of potassium hydroxide (KOH) is in this product, you may be paying a lot of money out for nothing. You could just buy potassium hydroxide and use that.


This link says it is dilute potassium hydroxide (KOH). This would be neutralised by CO2 in water given time. KOH is a strong base and quite caustic in high concentration. It is this alkalinity that gives it cleansing and biocide properties. Although it is quite dilute I would wear gloves using it especially if you have sensitive skin. And don’t drink it. I don’t expect too many Choice people drink cleanser but don’t assume that because it is “green” and “eco-friendly” that it is entirely harmless.

The reason it is not tested on animals is that the consequences of strong bases used on animals is already known quite well.

The blurb says it is diluted with ultra-purified water. I cannot imagine why, other than as a sales point, ordinary clean water should work as well.

The mention of electrochemistry is a bit of a stretch, normally this involves passage of current one way or another using electrodes.

KOH is a bulk industrial chemical used, amongst other things, in soap making. You can buy it for about $12 a kg. At the concentration of 0.3% (see link) that is about 4c a litre plus the cost of your water. Selling it at $7.50 is quite a markup!

Perhaps the next time general cleansers are tested by Choice this product could be tested along with DIY KOH diluted to the same strength with good tap water. It the DIY version is any good $12 would buy you a lifetime supply.

The DIY idea is provided you are competent to make it up without poisoning yourself or removing large amounts of skin spilling it. In particular wear eye protection working with strong bases. And by the way, don’t drink it! Since you can buy caustic soda (NaOH) in the supermarket which is similar and KOH without constraint it seems authorities are not too concerned with this type of self harm, that doesn’t mean you can be slack and take no precautions.


Gosh, thanks for all this research and information!


@meltam and @syncretic
I feel better for knowing a lot more here. Agree it would be useful to see a safely mixed home made batch tested next time Choice looks at these types of cleaners.

As an aside.
The SDS has me confused in particular the recommendations around flammability - it states it is not flammable, then lists which types of extinguishers to use. It also says not to use water in a pressure stream to extinguish a fire. It looks like a cut and paste from another SDS, possibly undiluted KOH? (The principle chemical in potash, and also used in one type of home made soap.)

Also amazing is the linking of a University and a PHD holder to science specific to development of the product, which is just a very dilute soap solution.

I now wonder about the marketing of this product?


I have no idea why you wouldn’t use a water extinguisher but it is fairly academic as the product won’t burn and will not make any fire worse - it’s nearly all water.

The product isn’t dilute soap solution. KOH is used to make some soap but there isn’t any appreciable amount left in the soap at the end of the process. Soap is a mix of the salts of fatty acids, the salt part would typically be potassium from the potassium hydroxide or sodium from sodium hydroxide. But this is just the raw base, potassium hydroxide, not the soap.


Take some commonly available stuff, add some science-y made up pseudo-words, stir, and pour the words out.
Wrap it in eco-healthy-green-new rage marketting, and then sell it at an eye watering mark-up.

Easy peasy.

Now how do I get that projected onto the Opera House???

(please excuse my cynicism)


That’s great. Sometimes I don’t know why I ask. It all seems so obvious the way you have put it. But not so obvious to who ever edited the SDS?


Some of the promotional language suggests the UNSW in some way supported development of the product. Perhaps they have some interest and influence?

Our house roof water is slightly acidic, so I’d guess KOH Universal Cleaner might not be of much use if we diluted it with our tap water? Chemistry is not my forte as @syncretic has already reminded me so politely.


So I have this feeling I’m going to regret asking this question, but why would anyone even consider testing a surface cleaner on animals? If I want to wash my cat then I’d buy (as I have) a cat shampoo. My cat isn’t a ‘surface’ …


I might be stepping on it here, I know a vegan activist. She is a nice person and does not make her beliefs personal nor does she protest businesses, but her car is adorned with vegan admonishments and she will call people out for what vegans consider unethical use and treatment of animals.

I recommended my fav cleaner to her a while back and her response was whether it or its residue was toxic to animals. Conclusion: that is important to some people.


I only have feral cats. One less than a week prior. And despite also being down one squirrel glider prior agree there is certainly no value in torturing any animal.

Of course it is also easy to claim ‘not tested on animals’ if you choose to not test the product, period.

All respect to vegans, there are two in the family. Cats are carnivores.


Why would you advertise that a vegetable food product was cholesterol free or that your fruit was gluten free?

All the same reason, some qualities are perceived in the marketplace as desirable whether they are relevant or even ubiquitous in the category. Marketeers will jump on such like a kelpie on a sausage even when it makes no sense.

This product also ultra purifies the water used in it. Why would that be at all useful let alone important?

Having mocked the marketing I remain agnostic about the effectiveness of the product until there is testing.


Is it possible to ever under estimate the power of good marketing?

The marketing behind EcoWorx Universal Cleaner as you point out is an excellent example of all that is clever in promoting a product. Of course it is much simpler to test the claims and decide if you should buy some more, science over language skills.

Hopefully Choice will save the cost of our own home trial when it gets to the next round of cleaning product testing, now the product has our interest. The products have mixed customer experiences if the comments from Whirlpool are considered. We only have @pennylecouteur valuable input as a user so far.

On the value of marketing:
My ex industry colleagues who sold lubricants, when away from the spotlight often remarked how Castrol’s GTX motor oils were so highly regarded in the market. A very average product range with a much better than average marketing campaign funded by the end user. More expensive lubricants should have better additive packages. It’s just where they add the package that is important.

Even our political system has elevated it’s faith, it’s marketing guru’s to lofty heights. They have seen the light, the need for change from lawyers and merchant bankers.

There is lots of value in Choice although some road tests are fraught with risks that even Choice cannot control?