All-purpose cleaner

All-purpose cleaner

Many cleaning products are based on surfactants derived from crude oil. They have been proven to fulfil their main task of dissolving dirt and grease. Bio-based alternatives do this in a more environmentally friendly way using renewable resources.


Industry sector:
Detergents and cleaning agents

Renewable raw material:
Microorganisms, ivy, soapwort

Companies involved:
Christoph Fischer GmbH

Bioeconomy factor:
Cleaning agent based on renewable resources with additional benefits

On the market

Probiotischer Allzweckreiniger
Hefezellen in Lilatönen

Several bio-based alternatives

Producers in the bioeconomy have been using plant-based surfactants for cleaning agents for several years now. These surfactants are made from coconut and palm oil, for example. A more sustainable alternative in terms of cultivation conditions and transport routes are detergent substances made from European vegetable oils. These include sunflower, rapeseed, flax and olive.

More than clean thanks to microorganisms

Other suppliers, such as the Bavarian company Fischer's EM-Chiemgau, enrich their cleaners with so-called Effective Microorganisms in addition to surfactants from ivy and soapwort. These are a mixture of yeasts and various bacteria (such as lactic acid bacteria), the basis of which is created through the fermentation of sugar.

The microorganisms go beyond simply removing dirt: as a first step, they help to remove impurities and unpleasant odours. Part of the probiotic mixture remains on the surface and has a lasting effect against proteins and fats – and thus against the food of "bad", potentially pathogenic bacteria. 

This reduces their spread, the surfaces need to be disinfected less frequently or not at all and at the same time reduces the risk of the development of bacterial resistance, which is a major problem in hospitals in particular.

Market readiness

The all-purpose cleaner "Sapalotta" is a good example of a bio-based cleaning agent that contains only ingredients of natural origin and can replace a conventional petroleum-based cleaner. It is available from the company's online shop