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Laundry stains come in many forms, and so do laundry stain removers. Some removers are treatments for when you’re machine-washing clothes, and others can be taken on the go as an emergency fix for stains. To help you decide which product suits your needs, we researched a variety of laundry stain removers available and whittled them down to choices for different stain scenarios.
Here are the best laundry stain removers to get rid of those pesky stains.
Best Overall: OxiClean MaxForce Laundry Stain Remover Spray, 12 Fl. oz.
OxiClean can be used on grease, blood, grass, oil, food, clay, and more, and the formula works in all water temperatures. All you have to do is spray the stain remover on the affected area and rub it into the fabric. Let the OxiClean Max Force stand and work its magic for five to 10 minutes. Then, wash your garment on the warmest setting it allows. Reviewers call this product the “answer to impossible stains” and “a miracle in a bottle,” so you know it’s got to be good.
Best On-the-Go: Tide Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover, 3 Count
You might not always be near a washing machine when stains hit, which is why you should always have a Tide-To-Go Instant Stain Remover Pen handy. These compact pens work quickly to get rid of stains, helping to save the day when you're on the go.
Tide-To-Go pens contain a bleach-free formula that can be used on many different fabrics, including wool, polyester, and cotton. All you need to do to use them is press the tip of the pen onto the stain to dispense the liquid and rub it gently across the affected area. The formula is advertised for use on coffee, tea, wine, spaghetti sauce, grape juice, and more.
According to reviewers, these pens are “liquid unicorn magic for the clumsy”—i.e., a total lifesaver. That sounds like they're worth the price if you ask us.
"I have an added peace of mind knowing that I can treat spills or stains on my clothing when I’m not home."—Sage McHugh, Product Tester
Best for Food Stains: Zout Triple Enzyme Formula Laundry Stain Remover Foam
If you're fighting with tough food stains on your clothes, you need a powerful stain remover like the Zout Triple Enzyme Formula. The triple enzyme foam formula is effective on even the toughest food stains, such as barbecue sauce, chocolate syrup, tomato sauce, and baby food. You can also use it on other stains, such as grass, blood, and dirt.
Reviewers rave about this product, saying it's incredibly effective and even that it can remove stains that have been set in for days.
Best for Clothing: OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Powder
OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover is an incredibly effective stain remover to have in your laundry room. The unique powder formula is activated by water, creating a bubbling effect that helps to break down and decolorize stains.
To use OxiClean Versatile, put a scoop of the powder into a few gallons of water and mix until dissolved. You can then submerge stained items in the solution and soak them for one to six hours, depending on the severity of the stain. Load your clothes into the washer with another scoop of powder, and wash as normal to banish stains for good.
You can also use OxiClean around your home to remove stains from tablecloths, patio furniture, carpets, grout, and more. Reviewers repeatedly call this product “magical,” writing that their clothes come out brighter and cleaner than ever.
Best for White Shirts: OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover
If you get a stain on a white shirt or another light piece of clothing, you might instinctively reach for bleach to get it out. However, try OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover instead.
This stain remover works with detergent to break up tough stains and brighten white clothing. Its chlorine-free formula is supposed to be 40% more powerful than bleach. Similar to regular OxiClean, you should presoak stains with OxiClean White Revive for a few hours, and then add it to your washing machine during the cycle as well. However, note that this product is not safe for use on wool, silk, or leather.
Best Gel: SHOUT Advanced Stain Remover for Clothes with Scrubber Brush
Some people prefer gel stain removers, as the thick formula doesn't run as much as liquids, thus delivering more concentrated product right to the stain. If you're looking for a great gel product, consider the Shout Advanced Ultra Gel Brush.
This product is awesome on set-in stains, and it allows you to treat stains now and wash them up to a week later. It has a built-in brush that lets you apply the gel right to the stain, and the formula is effective in any water temperature. The thick gel works on even the toughest set-in stains like chocolate, cooking oil, red wine, coffee, grass, blood, and more.
Reviewers write that Shout Advanced Ultra Gel works on just about any stains and is especially effective on white clothing.
Best Wipes: SC Johnson Shout Instant Stain Remover Wipes
For an effective, portable instant stain remover that you can carry in your purse, travel bag, gym bag, and more, invest in Shout Instant Stain Remover Wipes. These individually packaged wipes quickly lift away stains, making them essential for busy people.
These instant stain removers have a textured surface that helps to quickly remove stains. They’re safe on all colorfast fabrics and effective on grape juice, coffee, blood, baby formula and more. These wipes are best used immediately after the accident, as they’ll prevent the stain from setting into the fabric.
Many reviewers say these wipes work better than some stain remover pens and won’t dry out thanks to their individual packets. But they caution to make sure your clothing is colorfast before using the product.
Best With Enzymes: Biokleen Bac-Out Enzyme Stain Remover
Many stain removers contain strong chemicals like bleach, so if you're sensitive to these ingredients you might want to use an alternative with more natural ingredients. To remove tough stains naturally, one of the best options is Biokleen Bac-Out Stain+Odor Remover Foam Spray.
This spray uses live enzyme-producing cultures and plant-based ingredients to remove stains and destroy odors. The product is safe to use around children and pets, and it is effective on pet accidents, wine, laundry stains, and more. It's free of phosphates, chorine, ammonia, and artificial fragrances.
Best Pens: Clorox Laundry Pens, 2 Bleach Pens and 2 Stain Fighter Pens for Colors
Want compact stain remover pens to stash in your laundry room? Then, you need the stain-fighting power of Clorox Laundry Pens. With this purchase, you get two types of pens—stain removing and bleach—to handle whatever stains life throws at you.
These Clorox Pens have dual ends: one narrow point for targeted spot treatment and a thick, broad surface for scrubbing larger stains. The bleach pen is perfect for use on whites or household surfaces, while the stain remover pen is designed to penetrate and dissolve stains on colored clothes.
These pens are best used as a pretreatment before washing, so some reviewers remark that they're not great to use on the go. However, many say they're incredibly effective when you need a spot treatment on small stains.