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This all-purpose cleaner cut my cleaning time in half — and it’s under $4

I had bathroom and kitchen grime that wouldn't budge.
Courtesy PJ Gach

Finding the best cleaner or best cleaning spray is like dating: You spend a lot of time, money, and energy, only to be disappointed again and again. You’d think there wouldn’t be a problem finding an all-purpose cleaner that actually does what it says it’s going to do. Instead, you end up exhausted and in tears. At least, this is how I felt before I stumbled upon Target’s Up and Up All-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach.

Up & Up All-Purpose Cleaner + Bleach

How did I end up going down the rabbit hole looking for the perfect all-purpose cleaner? Stains. Stains that would not come out no matter what I did. My kitchen counter, while small (I live in a studio), is a magnet for stains. It is so porous that liquids steep in immediately and set.

I scoured the internet for help. I tried mixing vinegar and baking soda to create a paste, which didn't work but did provide a great upper body workout. I tried powdered cleaners, stain removers, liquid cleaners — you name it! I got so desperate that I used a cleaner that was only meant for stainless steel and metallic objects.

I almost resigned to living with an ugly, mottled-looking kitchen counter until I stumbled onto a cleaning forum one day and noticed before and after photos of the same issue. Intrigued, I scrolled down and found that they used a popular brand name bleach cleaner. I ran to Target, and to my surprise, the retailer offered its own version. I was faced with a quandary: Do I purchase the name brand item that costs $5 or save on the store brand? I’m frugal, so I opted for the Target’s version.

While I can’t definitively state that Target beat this well-known brand in the cleaning department, I can say that I was thrilled with the results. Target’s cleaning product removed tough stains; some were over six months old. And using it is easy — I sprayed each spot a few times, wiped, and they were gone. The all-purpose bleach cleaner made my stainless-steel faucet and sink gleam, and as a bonus, the brand says the spray kills germs on contact.

Next, I tackled my new kitchen garbage can, which has a plastic lid that stains easily. I applied the same technique and the lid looked brand new. There wasn’t even a faint mark! My shower had stains that wouldn’t budge, from built-up soap scum to purple shampoo stains. A squirt of the spray and a quick wipe worked wonders. Even my bathroom sink and faucet are blindingly clean after I spray and wipe it with the cleaner.

Don't sleep on store brands

I’m not someone who gets enthusiastic about cleaning products. However, with the Target bleach cleaner, I can’t recommend it enough to my friends. It immediately dissolves grime, stains, and dirt and cuts cleaning time in half. It works so fast that you may feel guilty for not breaking into a sweat while you’re cleaning.

While this product is a hero product, it does have one drawback. After spraying, I noticed (very quickly) the strong smell of bleach. It is a good idea to open windows when using it in your own home. The brand says it could irritate the eyes, and I found fresh air will slightly dissipate the scent. And if you have sensitive skin, I recommend wearing gloves while cleaning with this. The Washington State Health Department recommends not mixing bleach-based cleaning products with other cleaning products. And with that in mind, it’s a good idea to store away from children and pets, which is recommended by brand.