I just received an all-purpose cleaner, courtesy of the folks of Bon Ami, a firm that prides itself on producing cleaning products with biodegradable cleaning agents and preservatives as well as other natural ingredients such as baking soda and Epsom salts. Basically, the items contain products you've heard of and not some unpronounceable chemical name. Heartened by the nontoxic nature of Bon Ami products, I decided to test it out against vinegar, a versatile and natural substance you can use in many different ways to cleanse your home. Here are the results:
Bon Ami: I used the Bon Ami cleaner to clean some of the cooking dirt off my stove, and one thing I noticed about it was the very pleasant citrus smell. I felt like it worked just as well as any regular chemical cleaner and did a good job of cutting through the grease. I was really happy about the fact that the ingredients were safe and not toxic. The only problem I had with it was some leftover yellow residue. It was a bit of a bother to wipe away. I checked its website, and each item will cost less than $4, although it's apparently cheaper if you buy it in stores.
Vinegar: I'm a huge fan of vinegar as a cleaning product just because of its affordability and versatility. One bottle of 16-ounce Heinz white vinegar will cost you about $1 to $2, and you can even get it for less if you have a coupon. After I put a bit of vinegar on my stove, the crusty stains dissolved a lot more quickly than with the Bon Ami cleaner and required less effort with scrubbing. Of course, there is the vinegar smell, but it eventually dissipates after a while, leaving you with an odorless kitchen.
The clear winner: vinegar, vinegar, all the way! Although I think Bon Ami is a strong contender, vinegar definitely wins this round.