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Lysol vs. Pine-Sol: What’s the Difference?

If you’re stocking up on cleaning supplies, you might be wondering:

What’s the difference between Lysol and Pine-Sol?

In this comparison of Lysol vs. Pine-Sol, you’ll learn how they differ in product offerings, ingredients, effectiveness, safety, prices, and more.

I also answer the most frequently asked questions about both brands.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Product Offerings

Lysol and Pine-Sol offer several multi-surface cleaning solutions. However, Lysol is better known for its disinfectant products, whereas Pine-Sol is more geared toward general, multi-surface cleaning and degreasing.

Lysol makes several disinfectant cleaners, including wipes, sprays, and even a laundry sanitizer.

Lysol Disinfecting Spray
Lysol Disinfecting Spray

The brand also offers bathroom cleaners and eco-friendly smart kits that reduce waste and can be refilled using special cartridges that attach to the spray bottle.

Lysol toilet bowl cleaner
Lysol toilet bowl cleaner

Pine-Sol’s entire lineup is composed of multi-purpose cleaners in various scents such as Lavender Clean, Lemon Fresh, and Sparkling Wave. You can buy them as bottles of concentrated liquid cleaner or as a multi-surface spray. 

Pine-Sol multi-surface cleaner
Pine-Sol multi-surface cleaner

Only Pine-Sol Original, which carries the brand’s classic pine scent, is a disinfectant. The other cleaners I just mentioned are effective degreasers and are great for deodorizing surfaces, but they aren’t disinfectants.

Pine-Sol scented multi-surface cleaner and original
Pine-Sol Scented Multi-Surface Cleaner (left) and Original (right)

The key takeaway — Lysol offers a much broader range of cleaning products, while Pine-Sol is solely focused on multi-surface cleaners.

Effectiveness

Millions of people have used Lysol and Pine-Sol for decades, and both have proven to be highly effective.

So the question is not about which cleaner works better — it’s about your goal.

If you’re disinfecting your bathroom, Lysol offers specialized products. But if you’re mopping a dirty tile floor, Pine-Sol multi-surface cleaners are an affordable and effective option.

That said, these brands have some crossover. For example, both offer multi-surface formulas for general cleaning.

So which brand gets better ratings?

Let’s quickly review what some major publications say after testing both brands.

The Spruce named Lysol’s Multi-Surface Cleaner the best value cleaner in its roundup of The Best All-Purpose Cleaners. They recommended you buy the 144-ounce jug to save the most money. Also noted in the review is that the concentrated formula “kills 99.9% of germs in a minute flat” and does a great job of degreasing and removing soap scum from hard surfaces.

The New York Times named several Lysol cleaners in their Wirecutter list of The Best Surface Cleaners, Wipes, and Disinfectants. Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Disinfectant Spray, Disinfectant Max Cover Mist, and Kitchen Pro Antibacterial Cleaner were all effective, reliable disinfecting cleaners.

Today’s Parent reviewed Lysol’s classic All-Purpose Cleaner and gave it high marks for its disinfecting properties and grease-fighting power. Reviewers were especially impressed by the cleaner’s ability to break down and remove crayon from a white surface – something any parent can appreciate.

The Kitchen reviewed Pine-Sol Original in a list of the 5 Best All-Purpose Cleaners, and they found that Pine-Sol was able to quickly break down grease, soap scum, and food stains. Hard water stains were trickier, but Pine-Sol did a decent job removing those.

Today mentioned Pine-Sol’s Lemon Fresh cleaner in a review of the 10 Best Floor Cleaners. One of the professional cleaners they spoke with gave Pine-Sol high praise for its reliability, versatility, and the pleasant scent it leaves behind.

Real Simple named Lysol Kitchen Pro Antibacterial Cleaner the Best All-Purpose Cleaner for Kitchens. They praised its ability to penetrate grime, grease, and dirt while killing 99.9% of bacteria and viruses.

Ingredients

Lysol and Pine-Sol are not green or plant-based products. They contain harsh ingredients that can be harmful if ingested, inhaled, or contact your skin.

If you want an eco-friendly cleaner, you are better off sticking to brands like Method, Seventh Generation, or ECOS.

Read these comparisons of Method vs. Seventh Generation and ECOS vs. Seventh Generation to learn more about these alternatives.

Lysol’s All-Purpose Cleaning Spray includes two variations of ammonium chloride as its active ingredients. Ammonium chloride is a mildly acidic form of salt that serves as an effective disinfectant.

The active ingredient in Lysol’s Bleach Multi-Purpose Spray is sodium hypochlorite (i.e., bleach). This antimicrobial solution is effective but can damage exposed skin, and you should never mix it with ammonia, acids, or any other cleaners.

The main ingredient in Pine-Sol Original is glycolic acid, which is a mild but effective solvent that breaks down dirt, grease, and calcified solutions (such as hard water stains). As a bonus, glycolic acid is low in toxicity and is biodegradable.

Other Pine-Sol products, such as their lemon-scented cleaner, rely on sodium carbonate. Also known as soda ash, this solution is an effective degreaser and is relatively mild compared to many other, harsher ingredients commonly found in cleaners.

Pine-Sol also utilizes surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate and alcohol ethoxylates to break down soil or grease stains.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates household products for health and environmental safety. The ratings range from A to F, with F being the most hazardous to human health and the environment.

EWG Safety Ratings
EWG Safety Ratings

EWG has over 100 Lysol products in its database, and here’s how they scored:

  • A Rating: 2.8%
  • B Rating: 9.3%
  • C Rating: 8.3%
  • D Rating: 21.3%
  • F Rating: 58.3%

There are only 10 Pine-Sol products in the EWG database. Here are their ratings:

  • A Rating: 0%
  • B Rating: 0%
  • C Rating: 20%
  • D Rating: 70%
  • F Rating: 10%

Here’s a quick snapshot of the EWG ratings for popular Lysol and Pine-Sol products. You can view the entire list on EWG.org (Lysol ratings, Pine-Sol ratings).

ProductEWG Rating
Pine-Sol All Purpose Cleaner, OriginalD
Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner, Garden FreshC
Pine-Sol Professional Multi-Surface Cleaner, Lemon FreshC
Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner, Lavender Clean PineD
LYSOL Hydrogen Peroxide Action Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Oxygen Splash  A
LYSOL Power Bathroom Cleaner, Island BreezeB
LYSOL Brand II All Purpose Cleaner, Lemon  D
LYSOL Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner, Sparkling Lemon & Sunflower  F
LYSOL Disinfectant Max Cover Mist, Brighter Horizon  F
LYSOL Disinfecting Wipes, Lemon & Lime Blossom  D

Price

Lysol and Pine-Sol are inexpensive and widely available. They are much more affordable than all-natural plant-based cleaners like Seventh Generation and ECOS.

Of course, the prices vary by product, with some formulas more expensive than others. But, in general, price should not be a factor when deciding between Lysol and Pine-Sol.

When price shopping, make sure to compare the cost per fluid ounce. If you compare to other brands, remember that Pine-Sol and Lysol multi-surface cleaners are concentrated formulas, so you get significant usage out of each ounce. For general cleaning, mix ¼ cup of cleaner per gallon of water.

The chart below shows the current prices of Lysol and Pine-Sol’s top cleaners. Click the price to read reviews and learn more on Amazon.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

FAQs about Lysol and Pine-Sol

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about Lysol and Pine-Sol.

What surfaces can you use Lysol and Pine-Sol on?

These cleaners are safe on any hard, non-porous surfaces​​ , including ceramic, stainless steel, sealed stone, and sealed wood.

Where should you NOT use Lysol and Pine-Sol?

Avoid using these cleaners on copper, aluminum, marble, and unsealed, waxed, oiled, or worn wood. Never use them on your skin, pets, or cars.

Do Lysol and Pine-Sol contain bleach?

Lysol and Pine-Sol’s original formulas do not contain bleach, but several Lysol products, such as bathroom cleaners, do. Usually, “bleach” is in the product’s name, or it’s clearly marked on the bottle. For example, Lysol Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Spray with Bleach is one of their top cleaners that contains bleach.

Can I mix Lysol and Pine-Sol with bleach?

No! Mixing bleach with these products can produce chlorine gas, which is highly toxic and extremely dangerous. As a rule of thumb, never mix anything with bleach besides water.

Do Lysol and Pine-Sol contain ammonia?

Pine-Sol cleaners do not contain ammonia, but some Lysol products do. For example, Lysol Aerosol Bathroom Cleaner, Lysol Professional Disinfectant Spray, and Lysol Disinfectant Spray for Baby’s Room all contain ammonia.

Learn more about which cleaning products contain ammonia and why it matters in this guide.

Do Lysol and Pine-Sol emit strong fumes?

Like any chemical cleaners, Lysol and Pine-Sol emit fumes during and after cleaning. These fumes aren’t extreme but can cause irritation, coughing, or other symptoms if you breathe them in for long periods. To avoid potential side effects, wear a mask and ventilate the room you’re cleaning.

Are Lysol and Pine-Sol bad for your health?

The Environmental Working Group gives Lysol and Pine-Sol all-purpose cleaners ratings between C and F, which means they contain ingredients harmful to human health and the environment. Exercise caution when using these cleaners. Wear gloves, avoid contact with your skin, and always keep your cleaners away from children and pets.

Do Lysol and Pine-Sol kill bacteria and viruses? Are they antibacterial?

Lysol offers several disinfecting cleaners, and most have the term “disinfecting” in the product’s name. Pine-Sol only has one disinfecting cleaner: Pine-Sol Original. You have to use the product correctly to kill germs. In most cases, you need to spray the cleaner on the surface and leave it wet for at least 10 minutes, but read the directions on the bottle to confirm.

What is the shelf life of Lysol and Pine-Sol cleaners?

Pine-Sol claims their cleaners will lose their color after two years, but the product will still be able to fight grease and dirt after this time. Lysol cleaners also have a two-year shelf life. After this time, the antibacterial properties reduce.

Are Lysol and Pine-Sol safe to use around children and pets?

When properly used, Pine-Sol and Lysol cleaners are safe to use in homes where children and pets live. But make sure your kids and pets aren’t directly exposed to these cleaners. Store them properly and prevent direct contact with the skin, eyes, or mouth. Let the room air out for a few hours after cleaning.

Who owns Lysol and Pine-Sol?

Reckitt owns Lysol. Clorox owns Pine-Sol.

Bottom Line: Should You Use Lysol or Pine-Sol?

Lysol and Pine-Sol both make highly-effective cleaners. They don’t vary significantly in price, they’re both easy to use, and they are more or less equal regarding health and safety ratings.

The most significant difference is that Lysol offers a greater variety of products, including bathroom cleaners, wipes, several disinfectant sprays, and all-purpose cleaners. They also have more disinfecting products.

Pine-Sol offers one disinfecting product (Pine-Sol Original) and several scented multi-surface cleaners. Although its product line is limited, it’s a versatile product that works. Plus, the active ingredient in Pine-Sol Original, glycolic acid, isn’t as harsh as the ingredients in Lysol.

Bottom line — if you’re looking for a multi-surface cleaner, you can’t go wrong with either of these brands. They’re versatile, reliable, and proven to get the job done. If you’re looking for wipes or a special cleaning spray for bathrooms or toilets, Lysol’s got what you need.

Both Lysol and Pine-Sol are widely available and can be found at most grocery and home improvement stores, as well as on Amazon at the links below:

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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