BleachBit vs CCleaner [2021]: Which Actually Speeds Your Computer?

By Conner Sinclair | Optimize

It’s inevitable: after some period of use, your computer is going to slow down and become burdened with unnecessary files and background processes. If you’re a power user and really know what you’re doing, it’s possible to manual delete unneeded files and processes, but it does take up a lot of time.

On the other hand, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it may seem like the only option you have is taking your device into a repair shop or calling your “whiz-kid” nephew or family member.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of applications out there designed to solve this problem, and today we’re going to be comparing BleachBit and CCleaner to see which is better suited to help you clean up your dusty, grimy, bogged-down operating system.

The first thing we need to do, however, is taking a moment to discuss the pricing model of each application, as well as take a moment to discuss what it means to be open source software protected under the GNU license.

Bottom Line Up Front: To cut right to the chase, I think CCleaner is a more thorough and effective tool (see distinctions between “Pro”, “Pro Plus and “Free”)

Main Differences Between CCleaner and BleachBit

The main differences between BleachBit and CCleaner are:

  • BleachBit is completely FREE, whereas CCleaner has Fremium, Pro and Pro Plus pricing tiers
  • CCleaner is much more automated and “hands-free”, whereas BleachBit does require some technical know-how (computer networking)
  • CCleaner offers built-in file recoovery, whereas BleachBit does not
  • CCleaner has active and responsive customer support while BleachBit does not (because it’s free)
  • CCleaner has active threat monitoring and scheduled scans, while BleachBit does not offer these features
Recommended Pick
Why I Prefer CCleaner

I love FREE, but sometimes it PAYS to pay a little. CCleaner is the most efficent general PC optimizer that I've personally tested to date. It's easy to use, has responsive customer support, and tons of EXTRA features compared to others.

Go with CCleaner Here Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

BleachBit and CCleaner Pricing and Open Source Considerations

I suppose that I should tell you I’m a little biased when it comes to this comparison, so let’s take a moment to get that out of the way. I absolutely adore CCleaner, but will try to be as objective as humanly possible in this comparison. And on that note, I have to say the BleachBit certainly wins the competition where pricing is concerned.

BleachBit Price and Cost Considerations

BleachBit software is always free for download. You see, BleachBit is open source software that is protected under the GNU license, which is the same license that protects the free open source nature and availability of Linux. But there’s another advantage to open source software, too: it can be audited by independent developers and third-party security companies.

One of the problems that Edward Snowden brought into the public view was that the US NSA had been installing back-doors and data collection code (essentially malware) into a lot of common services.

Organizations like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, and others were coerced into mining data to help further the wiretapping initiatives of the NSA. But the public wasn’t privy to this information because these organizations jealously and zealously guard their software code as intellectual property.

If you ask me, the real advantage to open source software isn’t that it’s free; rather, it’s that the source can be audited for security purposes.


CCleaner Price and Cost Considerations

At any rate, BleachBit is free to download and use, but CCleaner is not. CCleaner does have a free version of its software, but it follows the freemium business model. That is, the free version doesn’t have nearly as many features as the full version. The following outlines the pricing plan of CCleaner:

It’s a little difficult to compare prices between open source software and for-profit businesses. Next, we need to compare the features and see which free version offers more features, and whether or not the paid versions of CCleaner offer good value.

BleachBit Features


I was rather shocked to find that BleachBit comes with a ton of features.

Usually, free software isn’t nearly as full-featured as paid alternatives, so I was pleasantly surprised. BleachBit comes with a wide range of features to “clean” your computer. That said, it seems that most of the features are aimed at permanently deleting files so they can’t be recovered.

The first feature is little more than a file shredder and deletes private files in such a way that even hard drive recovery software can’t pull them back from the grave. In addition, it’s pretty darn simple to use and doesn’t require a high degree of technical proficiency. It is, however, only available on Windows and Linux, so Mac and mobile users are out of luck.

Also, even though this is free software, it doesn’t include all the extra crap that often accompanies free apps. You won’t get stuck with extra add-ons and search bars in your browser, adware, spyware, or other such nonsense.

It’s just a computer cleaner – nothing more and nothing less. It does also support up to 64 different languages, so if English isn’t your native language, you can easily be accommodated.

Furthermore, I wanted to talk about the file shredding feature. Not only does it delete a file into a state that can never be recovered, the software will even cover its tracks. It will overwrite all of your free HDD space to hide the fact that files were shredded from that portion of the drive.

I thought that was pretty cool. But in addition to raw file shredding and deletion, it can also perform housekeeping by deleting the following types of files:

  • Linux swap partitions
  • Firefox URL history
  • Clean APT for Debian, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Linux Mint
  • Deletes a wide variety of useless junk files
  • Unused Windows registry keys and data
  • Other less common files such as SQL, OpenOffice history, and a few other obscure files

CCleaner Features

CCleaner has different features that are packaged into different service tiers. First up is the free version, which includes the following features:

  • Basic optimization and useless file deletion
  • Privacy protection (web browser security and deletion of history data and cookies)
  • Startup optimizer (kills unnecessary startup processes to decrease time needed to boot)

Next up is the professional plan, which adds the following features on top of the free version’s features:

  • Real-Time threat monitoring
  • The ability to schedule cleaning jobs
  • Automatic updates (why isn’t this included in the free version?)
  • Premium technical support

Last but not least is the Professional Plus option, which includes the following enhancements over the Professional version:

  • Disk defragmenter
  • File recovery
  • Hardware inventory features

I suppose I should also mention that the Professional version does have a free trial as well, which doesn’t require any payment card information to sign up for. However, for standard OS cleanup and file deletion, you can use the free version.

The free version doesn’t have as many features as BleachBit. While both can hunt through an OS and delete unnecessary and unused files, BleachBit has special file shredding algorithms, where CCleaner does not. However, there are many ways that the CCleaner paid versions are superior to BleachBit. For starters, since it’s a paid service, it’s able to offer customer support.

In addition, it offers real-time threat monitoring features and scheduled scans that BleachBit does not.

And as for the Professional Plus plan, it blows BleachBit out of the water. I’m not too crazy about third-party disk defragmenters since just about every operating system comes with one anyway. However, I see a lot of value in the file recovery option. Overall, as you would expect, the paid versions of CCleaner offer a lot more functionality than BleachBit.

FAQ About CCleaner and Bleachbit

Here are some questions that we commonly get, so I’ve answered them in-line below:

Is CCleaner safe to use?

Yes, it’s a reputable tool that has been in business for years and is finely tuned to clean out unused files, junk, and cookies. It does not have any record (or features) such as malware.

What is CCleaner used for?

The short explanation of CCleaner is that it cleans out all of the junk that builds up over time on your computer. The “C” in CCleaner literally stands for “crap” that needs to get cleaned out regularly.

CCleaner can also set restore points, backup files, and provide active monitoring and quickfixes for performance enhancement. It’s kind of like having a premium oil filter in your car.

Final Thoughts: BleachBit or CCleaner?

BleachBit Versus CCleaner

So what does it all boil down to? Which one is better? Well, that depends a lot on your needs and your price sensitivity. If you’re hunting for a free solution, then I’d recommend using BleachBit since it’s free to download, and will more or less provide the same functionality as the free version of CCleaner.

I really liked the file shredding features, and I also liked its ability to write over a hard drive to mask the fact that any files were shredded from it in the first place.

However, if you’re looking for the best cleaning and optimization software, CCleaner available here wins hands down. It simply has too many extra features – features that an open source application almost never has, such as customer support.

That said, remember that you’ll need to shell out about $40 for the Professional Plus version, though I think one feature makes it all worthwhile: the file recovery utility.

CCleaner vs Bleachbit? When you need to recover a file, chance is you’re willing to pay at least $40 to get that data back. So, in summary, I think that CCleaner is the superior option overall. However, if you only want to use free software, then I’d recommend trying out BleachBit for free.

Bottom Line Summary: In my book, CCleaner Pro (see pricing details here) is objectively a better cleaning tool and worth the money if you need a thorough clean. Otherwise, BleachBit will not be as effective (but hard to beat “free”).

Recommended Pick
Why I Prefer CCleaner

I love FREE, but sometimes it PAYS to pay a little. CCleaner is the most efficent general PC optimizer that I've personally tested to date. It's easy to use, has responsive customer support, and tons of EXTRA features compared to others.

Go with CCleaner Here Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

How does CCleaner compare to other computer cleaners? Find out here!


About the Author

Conner is a self-professed tech nerd, obsessed with digital security and privacy. He loves debugging "lost causes" and thwarting hackers. When not in his depressing cubicle in Corporate America, he's blogging here.