The household cleaner test: Generics vs. name brands

CLEVELAND - We are constantly looking for ways to save you money and we have info that could help you all year round.  We wanted to know if generic cleaning products can still make your house shine without the cost of name brands.

We recruited some cleaning experts to put products to the test.

From the west side of Cleveland, Janet and Cindy from Merry Maids, who have years of experience in cleaning homes.

From the east side of Cleveland, Ashley and Sarah from Action Maids, who were armed and ready for business.

We showed them our collection of dozens of cleaners and asked if we need all of them to get the job done.

"You don't need all of these products," Janet told us.

With that in mind, we picked out glass, multi-purpose, mold and mildew, and toilet bowl products.

First up, Windex glass cleaner on tough-stained mirrors.

Then they tried the generic Great Value brand from Wal Mart, Target's Up & Up, and Dollar General.

What were they looking for in the test?

"That it's not going to leave any smudges," Janet replied and added no streaks either.

After the wipe down showdown, Sarah told us, "Out of all of these, I prefer the Great Value."

And while Janet said she prefers the Windex, she also said, "If you're on a tight budget, Walmart and Target brand will work."

We did the same kind of test with the all-purpose cleaners we bought as they took on a filthy mess in the bathrooms.

Our experts tested the Clorox brand name, Great Value, Up & Up, and Dollar General.

So what did our experts think?

"I like the Dollar General brand and the Great Value," said Sarah.

Once again, Janet chose the brand name as her favorite but did admit that if you didn't want to spend the kind of money for Clorox, "I would not mind going with the Target or the Walmart brand."

We then asked our experts about three different kinds of mold and mildew cleaners, Tilex, Great Value, and Dollar General.

After all of their scrubbing, they agreed the Tilex did well, but Cindy told us, "I think all three did what they should have in those three spots. "

Finally, our experts grabbed the toilet products to see which would go down as the best bowl bets.

They tested Clorox, The Works from Walmart, Up & Up, and Dollar General.

While Cindy sided with Clorox, Ashley revealed. "I actually am very surprised, but I like the Dollar General's brand the best "

So, here's where you save comparing the same sizes of bottles.

Glass cleaners: Windex is close to three dollars, while the Target brand is about 50 cents cheaper and the Great Value only costs a buck.

Multi-purpose cleaners: Clorox is around three dollars with all the others costing two bucks or less.

Mold and mildew:  Tilex is nearly four dollars.  Great Value is under three dollars and Dollar General is only a $1.40.

Toilet bowl cleaners: No one liked The Works even though it has four more ounces, but Target was 30 cents cheaper and Dollar General about a dollar cheaper than the Clorox.

Some generics we tested had roughly the same amount of bleach which is the active ingredient, and sometimes more than the name brands.

This was not a scientific study, but as you heard from our experts some of the generics did just as well. That helps you clean up in the savings.

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