General-purpose cleaners are preferred for their versatility in the ability to clean many different types of surfaces, depending on dilution, application method and dwell time. For light applications such as window-cleaning and general floor cleaning, the dilution ratio per gallon of water is higher than for heavy applications such as restrooms, odor elimination, degreasing and tile and grout cleaning.

When janitors use general-purpose cleaners for daily cleaning tasks, the need for many different chemicals can be reduced or eliminated, saving time associated with travel and chemical mixing. Cost-savings go beyond just labor. Many general-purpose cleaners are effective mixed with cold water, cutting down on water heating costs. Chemicals are available in different dilutions, including concentrated, meaning that shipping costs can be reduced as well.