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We’re all about a perfect white T-shirt or a fresh pair of tan chinos, but it can take a bit of work to keep your clothes looking fresh. This is especially the case if you’re the kind of person whose shirts seem to be the middleman between the food in your hand and your open mouth. Fortunately, if you act quickly enough, you can typically get many stains out with just cold water from the tap and a little patience. But there are times when you can’t get to the stain right away, or you’re dealing with a particularly tough stain type (looking at you, grease). In that case, you might need one of the best stain removers.
Many stains can be tackled using at home, DIY solutions. But before you start throwing everything under the kitchen sink but the kitchen sink at the problem, it’s important to remember a few key tips that’ll prevent you from making the problem worse. That’s because when you mix multiple products together, you’re likely to get some kind of chemical reaction. Sometimes, that’s a good thing; the non-toxic fizzy reaction of acidic vinegar and basic baking soda can help with cleaning. Most of the time, that’s a bad thing — you don’t want to accidentally release chlorine gas into your apartment. These are some solutions to most definitely avoid:
- Vinegar and bleach: can release toxic chlorine gas.
- Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide: can create peracetic acid.
- Ammonia and bleach: can release chloramine gas.
- Bleach and dish liquid: dish liquid can contain ammonia.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of no-nos, so always double-check before mixing two solutions. So what can you do to tackle clothing stains? While you shouldn’t mix most of these ingredients, many of them can be very helpful on their own.
- Vinegar can be helpful for everything from tomato stains to grass to coffee.
- Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most effective stain removers for blood, but be gentle, because it can have a bleaching effect.
- Dish soap can be great for oily, greasy stains.
- Baking soda can absorb stains. This is an especially good solution for fabrics you can’t rinse, such as rugs or sofa cushions, but it also works for clothes.
Keeping cleaning products at hand can be a great way to give an extra cleaning boost in the laundry room, especially for tougher stains. These are some of the top stain removers for your clothes.
1. OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Powder
OxiClean has been one of the most popular stain removal products for years, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. It’s a good idea to stock up; this stain remover powder comes in a 3.5 lb tub and can work for 75 loads of laundry. It’s an effective solution for tough stains like grass, grease, wine, blood and ink.
2. Zout Laundry Stain Remover Spray
BEST ENZYME SPRAY
Zout is a unique stain removal solution because it’s formulated with enzymes to help tackle a wide variety of stains. The multiple enzymes in the formula help deal with protein, starch and oily stains. We’ll spare you the chemistry lesson and just say this spray is a laundry room essential.
3. The Laundress Stain Solution
The Laundress has become one of the most popular laundry and cleaning companies for their naturally derived and effective cleaning solutions. This unscented formula is concentrated, meaning a small amount goes a long way in fighting all manner of stains. This stain solution is effective for wine, coffee, ink, grass, blood and other kinds of stains.
4. SC Johnson Shout Instant Stain Remover Wipes
BEST ON-THE-GO SOLUTION
Attacking stains quickly is the best way to prevent them from setting in, but many stains happen when you’re away from home. That’s why it helps to keep a few of these around. They’re individually packaged, so you can keep a couple in your car, desk, or tote bag.
5. Nellie’s Wow Stick
While many solutions come in the form of a powder, paste or liquid, Nellie’s Wow Stick is a convenient solid option inspired by the design of an eraser. According to Nellie’s, all you need to do is wet the area, rub the stick onto the stain, agitate with water and then launder as usual. It’s made with natural ingredients and is free of synthetic fragrances.
6. Resolve Spray ‘n Wash Pre-Treat Stain Remover
Resolve’s stain remover is intended as a pre-treatment solution, making it easier to loosen stains before putting your clothes in the washing machine. To use, simply spray, wait five minutes, mix it in, and then start the wash cycle.