Mr. Clean vs. Lysol: Which Cleaners Are Better?

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

What’s the difference between Mr. Clean and Lysol?

In this Mr. Clean vs. Lysol comparison, you’ll learn how these cleaners differ and why those differences matter.

I’ll compare the two brands in terms of product offerings, ease of use, effectiveness, ingredients, and price.

By the end, you’ll know whether Mr. Clean or Lysol is the better choice for your cleaning needs.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Product Offerings

Both brands feature multi-surface cleaners and cleaning sprays, but the overall product offerings are noticeably different. 

Mr. Clean offers heavy-duty cleaning products, with a focus on cleaning up large messes and grime.

Their main products are multi-surface cleaners and sprays, but they also offer Magic Erasers (Durafoam sponges), Magic Eraser Sheets, and Mr. Clean Butler cleaning supplies.

In the Butler collection, you’ll find mops, microfiber cloths, toilet cleaners, sponges, and more.

These days, everyone is taking extra care to disinfect surfaces. Mr. Clean is not known for its disinfectants, but they offer one product, the Summer Citrus Antibacterial Cleaner, that packs the power to kill 99.9% of bacteria. 

Mr. Clean Multi-Surface and Antibacterial Cleaners
Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Cleaner (left), and Antibacterial Cleaner (right)

Mr. Clean multi-surface cleaners come in various scents, including Moonlight Breeze, Meadows and Rain, Original Fresh, Freshness Linen and Sky, Tropical Sunrise. These cleaners are designed to cut through grease and grime but are NOT disinfectants.

In Lysol’s collections, you’ll find multi-purpose sprays, bathroom cleaners, disinfecting sprays, disinfecting wipes (check out my in-depth comparison of Lysol vs. Clorox wipes), and laundry sanitizers.

Lysol Multi-Surface Cleaner
Lysol Multi-Surface Cleaner

Most Lysol products are considered disinfectants, meaning they kill 99.9% of viruses, bacteria, and fungi, as well as cold and flu viruses. They even help to control and prevent mold and mildew.

Lysol boasts quite a range of fragrances, Crisp Linen, Mango and Hibiscus, Tropical Breeze, Garden After the Rain, Lemon and Lime Blossom, Orange Blossom, and Lemon Breeze. All of these scents leave a long-lasting freshness in your home.

How to Use

Let’s look at how to use each brand’s multi-surface cleaners.

Let’s start with Mr. Clean Clean Freak Spray:

  1. Test in an inconspicuous area by spraying in a small hidden spot. If safe, continue.
  2. Spray onto your surface. If the area comes in contact with food regularly, rinse it right away.
  3. Otherwise, wipe the surface with a damp or dry cloth or a paper towel after approximately a minute.

This product is safe on aluminum, marble, finished wood, granite, chrome, and nickel. Don’t use it for copper, brass, or untreated wood surfaces.

Another popular product is the Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Cleaner. You can use this on various surfaces, so note that the instructions differ depending on the task.

For floors (or diluted cleaning tasks):

  1. In a bucket, mix one gallon of room-temperature water and ¼ cup of the cleaner.
  2. Apply it to the floors.
  3. Do not rinse.

Do not use this product on carpets, copper, or aluminum.

For tough messes:

  1. Pour the cleaner directly onto the affected area. Otherwise, you can apply it to a sponge first.
  2. Wipe down the area with a sponge or cloth.
  3. Rinse with room-temperature water.

If you’re disinfecting with the Mr. Clean Antibacterial Cleaner, apply the full-strength solution directly to the surface you’re cleaning and leave it for ten minutes before wiping.

Mr. Clean Antibacterial Cleaner Instructions
Mr. Clean Antibacterial Cleaner Instructions

To review Lysol, let’s look at the Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner Spray. Here are some of the top tips and methods when using this product:

For everyday messes:

  1. Only use this product on hard, non-porous surfaces.
  2. Turn the nozzle to “On.”
  3. To clean and deodorize, spray the surface until it’s wet.
  4. Wipe with a cloth or sponge. There’s no need to rinse.

For soap scum and grease:

  1. To clean soap scum and grease, spray the surface and let it rest for a few minutes.
  2. Wipe clean. Repeat as necessary.

To sanitize and disinfect:

  1. Clean the surface with a damp cloth.
  2. Spray the surface until it’s wet.
  3. Leave for 10 seconds before wiping if sanitizing. Leave for two minutes before wiping if disinfecting. For food contact surfaces, rinse with water after.

If refilling the product, remove the trigger spray. Pour the solution from the refill container into the bottle. Replace the trigger spray.

Effectiveness

Both brands have been around for years and have proved their effectiveness.

So the question is not about which cleaner is more effective — it’s about what you’re trying to accomplish.

If you want to remove built-up grime, then Mr. Clean is the most effective option. But if you want to disinfect and sanitize surfaces, Lysol is the better choice.

Let’s take a look at what some other reviewers are saying.

Good Housekeeping awarded Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Cleaner as the best all-purpose cleaner for big jobs. They praised it for working quickly without the need to rinse afterward.

The Spruce gave Mr. Clean Clean Freak Spray the best overall all-purpose cleaner. The reviews said it works wonders on virtually any hard surface in your home, including kitchens, bathrooms, and floors.

Today’s Parent approved Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner for quality, overall value, and ease of use. They said it was perfect for parents looking for a disinfecting cleaner that can handle any job.

The New York Times highlighted Lysol’s disinfecting wipes, disinfectant spray, Disinfectant Max Cover Mist, and Kitchen Pro Antibacterial Spray as some of the best disinfecting cleaners on the market.

Ingredients

While both brands create effective products to deep clean your house, neither brand is non-toxic. Therefore, you need to use caution. 

If you are looking for non-toxic options, I recommend plant-based brands, such as Method, Seventh Generation, or Mrs. Meyers.

Let’s look at the ingredients in a few products across the Mr. Clean and Lysol portfolios.

Let’s start with Mr. Clean Liquid Multi-Purpose Cleaner With Febreze (view detailed ingredients list on SmartLabel.com):

  • Water: A processing aid to keep all the ingredients together and allow for easy dosing.
  • C10-16 Alkyldimethylamine Oxide: A cleaning agent that breaks up and removes stains, specifically greasy stains, without allowing them to redeposit on the surface.
  • C9-11 Pareth: A cleaning agent formulated specifically for floors.
  • Carboxymethyl Inulin: A water softener that promotes a shine.
  • Sodium C10-16 Alkylbenzenesulfonate: A cleaning agent that breaks up and removes stains, specifically those from particulate soils.
  • Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Citrate: pH adjusters.
  • Benzisothiazolinone: A preservative that prevents bacteria growth.
  • Fragrances: These provide a pleasant smell.
  • Polyoxyalkylene Substituted Chromophore (Cyan) and Polyoxyalkylene Substituted Chromophore (Yellow): Colorants.

Below are the ingredients for Mr. Clean Antibacterial Multi-Surface Cleaner (view detailed ingredients list on SmartLabel.com):

  • Water: A diluent that keeps ingredients together and allows for easy dosing.
  • C9-11 Pareth (NA): A cleaning agent that breaks up and removes stains, specifically on floors.
  • Sodium Carbonate: A builder that breaks down greasy stains and makes it easy to remove them from the surface.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: An antimicrobial active ingredient that kills bacteria.
  • Citric Acid: Controls the pH level.
  • Pentasodium Pentetate: A water softener that also promotes shine.
  • Benzisothiazolinone: A preservative that prevents bacteria growth.
  • Green 8 and Acid Yellow 3: Colorants.
  • Fragrance: Perfume to add a pleasant scent.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the ingredients in the Mr. Clean Clean Freak Spray (view detailed ingredients list on SmartLabel.com):

  • Water: A processing aid that keeps all ingredients together and allows for dosing.
  • Triethanolamine: A solvent and pH adjuster that breaks down greasy stains.
  • Lauryl Betaine: A cleaning agent that breaks up and removes stains, specifically greasy ones.
  • PEG PPG Ethylhexyl Ether: Another cleaning agent.
  • Dipropylene Glycol Butyl Ether, Sodium Carbonate and Ethanolamine: Solvent and pH adjusters to break down greasy stains.
  • Xanthan Gum and PEG: A viscosity modifier that helps lift stains.
  • Perfume: Fragrances to provide a pleasant scent.

What about Lysol’s ingredients? Let’s start with the Lysol All-Purpose Cleaning Spray (view detailed ingredients list on SmartLabel.com):

  • Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride: Antimicrobial active ingredient that disinfects and sanitizes by killing germs on surfaces.
  • Water: A diluent that alters the concentration of the solution.
  • Phenoxyisopropanal: A solvent that dissolves other substances.
  • Lauramine Oxide: A surfactant that removes dirt, stains, and odors.
  • Ethanolamine: A pH adjuster that improves stability and performance.
  • Fragrance: Adds a pleasant scent.
  • Trisodium Dicarboxymethyl Alaninate: Complexing sequestering agent that binds hard water and minerals to maximize other ingredients’ performance.

Let’s also check out the Bleach Multi-Purpose Cleaner ingredients (view detailed ingredients list on SmartLabel.com):

  • Sodium Hypochlorite: An antimicrobial active ingredient that disinfects and sanitizes surfaces.
  • Water: A diluent to change the concentration of the solution.
  • Sodium Chloride: Thickens the solution.
  • Lauramine Oxide: A surfactant that removes dirt, stains, and odors.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: A pH adjuster that ensures stability and improves performance.
  • Fragrance: Perfume that improves the scent of the product.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: A non-functional constituent.

If you’re interested in learning more about the health and environmental impacts of specific ingredients, check EWG.org. On this website, products are reviewed and graded on how safe and eco-friendly they are. 

Price

Both brands are inexpensive, especially compared to plant-based cleaners. When comparing, look at the cost per fluid ounce to better understand the value.

Check out the current cost of Mr. Clean and Lysol’s most popular products.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

FAQs About Mr. Clean and Lysol

You might still have some questions about Mr. Clean and Lysol. In this section, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked ones.

Do Mr. Clean and Lysol multi-purpose cleaners disinfect?

Mr. Clean’s antibacterial cleaner is the one Mr. Clean product that can disinfect. The formula kills 99% of bacteria, germs, and viruses. On the other hand, most of Lysol’s products, including its sprays and wipes, are effective disinfectants.

Can Mr. Clean and Lysol cleaning sprays be used on fabrics?

The Lysol disinfectant sprays, except the one that contains bleach, can be used on fabrics to sanitize a specific area. Spray the fabric, but don’t saturate it. Let it air dry. Don’t use the multi-purpose cleaners on laundry.

Mr. Clean cleaning sprays are not safe on fabrics.

Does Mr. Clean and Lysol contain bleach?

Mr. Clean does not contain bleach, but Lysol’s Bleach Multi-Purpose Cleaner does.

Does Mr. Clean and Lysol contain ammonia?

Mr. Clean products do not contain ammonia, but Lysol does contain quaternary ammonia compounds.

Does Mr. Clean or Lysol emit strong fumes?

Both brands’ formulas contain harsh chemicals, so I recommend cleaning in a well-ventilated area. Mr. Clean’s products aren’t a respiratory hazard if you follow the usage instructions, but they are dangerous if swallowed or when they come in contact with your skin or eyes.

With Lysol, especially the sprays, proceed with more caution. The fumes can cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. Clean in a well-ventilated area and avoid prolonged breathing of the fumes. If you have heart conditions or chronic respiratory problems, don’t use these products.

Refer to the Mr. Clean and Lysol safety data sheets for more information.

Are Mr. Clean and Lysol bad for you?

Mr. Clean and Lysol are not non-toxic cleaners, so there are some health and safety hazards to consider. Mr. Clean’s ingredients, contrary to its name, are not clean. Only a few of their products receive a B or C grade from the EWG.

 Lysol EWG scores range from A to F, spending on the product. For example, the Lysol Hydrogen Peroxide Action Multi-Purpose Cleaner is one of the safest formulas, while the Bathroom Cleaner Spray contains several dangerous ingredients.

Are Mr. Clean and Lysol safe to use around children and pets?

Proceed with caution when using either of these brands around children or pets. Be particularly careful when using Lysol’s bleach-based cleaner. If a child or pet walks through it, it can cause damage to the skin. If it is ingested, it is a medical emergency.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Mr. Clean or Lysol?

Both Mr. Clean and Lysol are effective home cleaners, but they serve different purposes.

Mr. Clean products are designed to clean big, tough messes, whereas the primary purpose of Lysol products is to disinfect surfaces.

Mr. Clean offers a variety of products but only has one antibacterial cleaner. Lysol, on the other hand, focuses on disinfecting sprays and wipes as well as multi-purpose cleaners.

Neither brand falls into the plant-based or non-toxic categories. Both companies utilize the power of some harsh chemicals to disinfect and deep clean surfaces. Be aware of the health hazards such as eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, especially if you have children or pets.

Finally, Mr. Clean products do not contain bleach or ammonia, whereas Lysol has a cleaner that contains bleach and many others with ammonia.

The bottom line is if you are looking to clean large messy areas like floors and walls, Mr. Clean is the better choice. But if you are looking to disinfect surfaces like bathrooms, handrails, and kitchen counters, I recommend Lysol.

However, since both brands offer different product offerings, it’s a good idea to have a few products from each brand in your home.

You can find Mr. Clean and Lysol product in most grocery stores, big-box stores, and on Amazon at the links below:

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