Best Laundry Stain Removers From Consumer Reports' Tests - Consumer Reports (2023)

What's a stain remover anyway? Laundry detergent in a spray bottle? Consumer Reports ran lab tests to find out. The results: Only one laundry stain remover from our tests gets rid of stains better than everyday liquid detergent: OxiClean MaxForce.

(Video) Best stain removers

The other five spray-on laundry stain removers we tested, from Shout, Spray n’ Wash, and OxiClean (a different formula from the MaxForce) couldn't match the best liquid detergents from our ratings for getting rid of the 14 stains in our tests.

(Video) Laundry Detergent Face-Off | Consumer Reports

“Prewash stain removers are concentrated and designed to go directly on the stains," says Rico de Paz, CR's chemist who performs these tests. "Detergents, on the other hand, mix in with lots of water to clean, and the water dilutes the stain-removing power. But if you apply a dab of detergent to the stain before washing and let it sit, the detergent alone can remove stains.”

(Video) Best Laundry Detergents | Consumer Reports

That's just what we did with the two detergents we included in our tests. The Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release and Persil ProClean Stain Fighter detergents we used to pretreat stains came close enough to the cleaning power of the OxiClean MaxForce that some people might want to use these detergents to pretreat stains and wash your laundry.

(Video) Getting Out Tough Stains

Here's how five laundry stain removers from our tests stack up against the top-performing OxiClean MaxForce. You'll also find details on how the Tide and Persil detergents handle stains, too. Prices listed below are per bottle (some might be for a multipack). In our ratings, you can find our comparative pricing: per ounce for stain removers and per load for detergents.

(Video) Best stain removers

For detailed test results, see our laundry stain remover ratings.

(Video) Consumer reports tests laundry products

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What is the most effective laundry stain remover? ›

OxiClean has the best overall value for its ability to tackle tough, set-in stains on clothes and throughout other household areas. We think it's the best laundry stain cleaner on the market and can replace several products in the laundry room. OxiClean is also easy to use in most cases.

What is the best over the counter stain remover for clothes? ›

The Best Laundry Stain Removers
  • Best Overall: Melaleuca PreSpot 4x Concentrate Stain Remover.
  • Best Bar Soap: Zote Laundry Soap Bar.
  • Best for Emergencies: Tide-To-Go Stain Remover Pen.
  • Best Heavy-Duty: Amodex Ink & Stain Remover.
  • Best Multipurpose: Sallye Ander Hogwash Bar Soap.
  • Best All-Natural: Cleancult Stain Stick.
May 2, 2022

What is better than OxiClean? ›

Your best bet, though, is to buy pure sodium percarbonate (which you can easily find on Amazon for less than $20). Not only does sodium percarbonate not contain any unnecessary additives as do some store-bought products; Richardson says it's also much stronger than true OxiClean (which means you need less of it).

What brand of detergent can remove stain completely? ›

Tide's Power Pods Free do both. A winner for cleaning and stain removal in our 2021 Good Housekeeping Cleaning Awards, this Tide detergent beat out all the other detergents we tested in removing stains like ketchup, red wine and grass.

How do you remove tough laundry stains? ›

Sponge or soak stain in cool water. Pretreat with prewash stain remover, liquid laundry detergent, liquid detergent booster or paste of powder laundry product and water. Launder using sodium hypochlorite bleach, if safe for fabric, or oxygen bleach.

Do stain removers work on old stains? ›

Yes! Vanish is capable of removing old stains as well as new stains.

Can OxiClean remove old stains? ›

Even if that stained shirt has been sitting at the bottom of the laundry bin forever, OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover can get out even old, set-in stains. Fill scoop to line 4 per 1 gallon of water. Submerge stained items in solution after dissolved.

When should you not use OxiClean? ›

Don't use OxiClean on wool, silk, or other off-limits fabrics. OxiClean's manufacturer suggests that it should not be used on the following fabrics: wool, wool blends, silk, silk blends, leather, or on fabrics labeled dry clean only.

Does baking soda work better than OxiClean? ›

If you're looking for a gentler detergent, baking soda is a great option. Oxiclean becomes just peroxide and washing soda once it hits liquid. So any liquid detergent claiming to contain Oxiclean likely just has peroxide in it. Want that great oxiclean power in your homemade detergent?

What is good for set in stains? ›

“If the stain sets, spot treat it with a solution of 50 percent vinegar and 50 percent water, then use a brush and a little laundry soap to remove the vinegar.

What is the powerful stain removing ingredient? ›

Hydrogen Peroxide is a powerful DIY stain remover that can safely be used on your laundry. It works for tough grass stains and blood stains!

Is powder or liquid stain remover better? ›

For stain removal, liquid detergent gets first prize for greasy and oily stains. It's easy to pour a little detergent onto the stain to dab out the worst of it before placing it in the wash. Although for heavier staining from mud or grass, powder detergent most often contains more powerful cleaning agents.

What does the laundry guy use vodka for? ›

Patric Richardson, a self-proclaimed "laundry evangelist," recommends keeping a spray bottle filled with vodka in your laundry room to help clear up any lingering smells. "You need to have vodka in your bar—and your laundry room," Richardson says in the trailer for his new discovery /HGTV show The Laundry Guy.

What is the best stain remover for old stains on clothes? ›

1. Chlorine Bleach and Color-Safe Bleach. Diluted household bleaches are among the most effective stain removers for clothing and linens.

Can you get really old stains out of clothes? ›

Yes, they are. Douse the stain with white vinegar, then apply a paste made of equal parts baking soda and vinegar. If this doesn't work, immerse the item overnight in a bucket of water containing a few tablespoons of detergent and vinegar. Rinse and wash the following morning.

Will laundry stripping remove old stains? ›

It's important to remember that laundry stripping does not remove stains. The purpose of stripping is to remove residue from oils, detergent, minerals, and softeners, not stain removal. Use a stain-removing laundry detergent as part of your regular laundry routine and get stains out before stripping.

Is vinegar good stain remover? ›

Distilled white vinegar is actually one of the best stain removers we have been given from nature. Found in invariably every household, it is mildly acidic, so acetic vinegar removes the tough spots and blotches without ruining the fabric of your clothes.

How do you get rid of 30 year old stains? ›

Hydrogen peroxide, in the 3% solution that you can find at any drug store, or as the key ingredient in oxygen bleach, is an excellent blood stain remover as well, even working on dried, older stains.

Does hydrogen peroxide remove old stains? ›

Hydrogen peroxide works differently than vinegar and is better at removing different types of stains. Hydrogen peroxide doesn't actually remove stains—it just makes them invisible! It breaks up strong chemical bonds in stains including ink, and in doing so it makes the stains colorless—but they're still there!

Do you have to sand off old stain before staining? ›

Removal is Not Always Necessary

While it's never a bad idea to sand and strip old stain, doing so can certainly be time-consuming and challenging. In some cases, you can get away with leaving the previous coat as it is, as long as you perform the other necessary preparation steps, such as sanding and power washing.

What can remove permanent stains? ›

“A paste of vinegar and baking soda can remove even the toughest stains,” she says. There's a misconception that vinegar will remove color from clothes but in fact, it's gentle enough to use on most fabrics, vinegar can actually restore and brighten color in fabric and can also prevent fading.

Which chemical used to remove all the stains from clothes? ›

These stain removers contain bleaching agents, commonly hydrogen peroxide, which breaks down colour-causing sections of chemical structures, removing the appearance of the stain. The hydrogen peroxide is usually present in the form of sodium percarbonate, which releases hydrogen peroxide when combined with water.

What can I use to permanently stain clothes? ›

Douse the stain with white vinegar, then apply a paste made of equal parts baking soda and vinegar. If this doesn't work, immerse the item overnight in a bucket of water containing a few tablespoons of detergent and vinegar.


1. Getting Out Tough Stains
(Consumer Reports)
2. Best stain removers
(WCPO 9)
3. Consumer reports tests laundry products
(WCPO 9)
4. Which is the best laundry stain remover?
(KSAT 12)
5. Stain Fighting Made Simpler | Consumer Reports
(Consumer Reports)
6. Consumer Reports: Finding the best laundry detergents
(ABC7 News Bay Area)
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