Expensive multi-purpose cleaners have been shown up in a Consumer comparison with a home-made mix of baking soda and white vinegar.
Consumer tested 16 cleaners on greasy, dirty tiles and found that the home-made option ranked third, beating 13 other much more expensive cleaners.
Consumer chief executive Sue Chetwin said people should be wary of marketing claims such as cleaners described as specialist spot or stain removers, as many could be used as multi-purpose cleaners.
She said Consumer was dismayed by the poor quality on offer.
"What we were really surprised about is that so few of them were actually any good."
Ms Chetwin said the manufacturers made many claims that were clearly not backed up when people tried to use the productis - which might be an issue in itself.
And it wasn't just heavy duty chemical-based cleaners that didn't make the cut.
"We also did a couple of the eco ones. We did Simple Green and Nature Clean and they didn't perform any better than the likes of Dettol, or Mr Muscle or Ajax.
"They all performed pretty poorly."
One pricey product - De-Solv-it Sticky Spot and Stain Remover ($31 for 750ml) was found to be the most effective cleaner.