Cleaning products: Brand vs. generic - Tucson News Now

Cleaning products: Brand vs. generic

Getting your house spotless isn't easy, and when you spend hours scrubbing, sweeping and wiping, you want to know the products you use work.

Juggling a family of five and a career has Amy Lloyd's weekends turning into a 48-hour cleaning marathon. While she tries to tidy up during the week, the majority of her housework happens on the days she's supposed to be kicking up her feet.

"You clean one room, you go in to the next room, start that one, and you have to circle right back around and go back to the first room," she said.

Amy's secret to a speedy clean is using the products her mother used and the ones she knows work. We put Amy's cleaning to the test to see if her brand loyalty gets her the spotless house she wants without breaking the bank. We also asked for help from Raymond Mace, of Royal Maids.

DISH SOAP

Dawn: $2.83

Great Value: $1.97

We caked spaghetti sauce on to two separate Tupperware dishes to see if either dish soap could wipe away the mess and stains left behind. Each dish soaked in water before our testers started scrubbing. Amy liked that the Dawn didn't feel greasy, but noticed right away it wasn't removing the red sauce stains. It turns out, neither did the generic brand.

While neither dish soap lived up to its name, both Raymond and Amy say they thought Dawn worked the best out of the two. You'll have to shell out $0.86 to buy name-brand.

WINDOW CLEANER

Windex: $2.87

Great Value: $0.97

There's nothing worse than wiping down the windows and mirrors in your house, only to have marks and streaks left behind.

"I find personally that you can have a residue left behind after cleaning down," Raymond said. "You don't get a complete 100 percent proof of a mirror reflection. There's always something left behind."

Our testers put the Great Value and Windex to the test, and it didn't take long for either to pick out the name brand from generic. The Great Value window cleaner worked well until Raymond was finished and noticed "ghostly" streaks left behind. He couldn't find any when he finished wiping down a bathroom mirror with Windex.

Amy tried out the window cleaners on a smaller make-up mirror and said she couldn't tell the difference between the two. She did point out the generic cleaner had a stronger chemical spell.

It was clear as day which cleaner came out on top. Our cleaners say buy name brand, not generic. You'll have to shell out $1.90 more for a better clean.

LAUNDRY DETERGENT

Gain: $5.97

Great Value: $7.97

Laundry detergent is one of the biggest expenses in Amy's budget, and there's good reason. She does 10 to 15 loads each week!

She tested out two loads of laundry with each detergent and was impressed with Gain's ability to get chocolate milk stains out of her daughter's stuffed animals. Amy says it also worked nicely on her daughter's softball pants.

While Gain gave Amy a more impressive clean, she said she liked the scent of the Great Value better. That brand, however, didn't impress Amy in the softness and cleanliness department.

We put the same detergents to the test with white T-shirts covered in mud and sauce. It turns out, the Great Value brand removed more sauce stains and mud compared to the Gain. It also smelled better, but wasn't as soft.

Amy says it's OK to buy name brand when it comes to the detergent you wash your laundry in. While you'll pay less, you'll also get less detergent in the bottle.

You'll save $200.

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