Spilled wine, a splash of oil, grease, grass, and ink — these are all things that can stain your clothes. After that initial panic, it’s normal if you’re running to the internet to find out what to do.
But what if you already had one of the best laundry stain removers in the cupboard or in your bag? With our top recommendations, you can get rid of these stains quickly and effectively.
To create this list, we dedicated hours to researching dozens of products, their ingredients, and their effectiveness. Backed up by expert advice and real customer reviews, here are seven stain removers you’ll want to try.
- 40 percent more powerful than bleach
- Brightens and restores white clothing
- Color safe
- Compact for pockets
- Doesn’t contain bleach
- No need to launder after
- Portable wipes for using on the go
- No washing required
- Good for clothes & carpet
- Gets out fresh & old stains
- 70 percent more stain fighting power
- Handy spray function
- 100 percent natural ingredients
- Eliminates stains & odors
- Functional spray bottle
- Brightens colors & removes stains
- Safe for whites
- Convenient pak form
- Portable pen design
- Great for baby spills and messes
- Biodegradable ingredients
Review Methodology: At Oh So Spotless, we ensure that our analysis of the best laundry stain removers is comprehensive and trustworthy. Our team of professionals conducts extensive research, comparing products based on key decision-making factors such as performance, effectiveness, and user experience. We evaluate each stain remover’s design choices and their impact on users, providing hands-on evidence and data to support our recommendations. Our assessment covers criteria like ingredients, safety, ease of use, and cost, while also highlighting the unique aspects that set top-ranking products apart from competitors. By sharing our expertise and findings, we empower you to make informed choices for your laundry needs.
The Best Laundry Stain Removers of 2023
Hours of extensive research have gone into this list. We’ve looked at product details, real customer reviews, and expert advice. Using our specialized insight as well as popular reviews, we’ve put together a list of the best laundry stain removers on the market.
OxiClean White Revive Stain Remover
Best for White Clothing
The OxiClean White Revive is our top pick for white clothing. Sick and tired of yellowing underarms and prominent food stains? OxiClean will zap away the stains, bringing brightness back to your whites.
OxiClean uses oxidizing agents such as sodium carbonate to break down stains. But keep in mind it is chlorine bleach-free! In fact, according to OxiClean, it works 40 percent better than chlorine bleach.
It lifts away stains, restoring brightness so that your white shirts look as good as new. However, it’s also color safe, so you can use it to remove stains and brighten colors.
- 40 percent more powerful than chlorine bleach.
- Brightens and restores white clothing.
- Safe for colored clothing, too.
- Works with every wash or specific stain removal.
- Great for professional use, such as in hotels and hospitals.
- Only works in warm or hot water.
- Strong chemical smell.
|Stain Type||Any stain|
|Ingredients||Active oxidizing agent|
|Fabric Type||Whites and colorfast — but not wool, silk, leather, or dry-clean-only fabrics|
|Fragrance||Unscented but has a strong chemical-y smell|
Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover
Best On-The-Go Laundry Stain Remover
These small and compact stain remover pens are excellent if you’re on the go. Keep it in your pocket or bag while you’re traveling or even just out for dinner. It’s always important to treat stains immediately, and now you can!
These pens are suited for fresh food and drink stains. If the stain has been set, these might not do the trick. But for right after you’ve spilled juice onto your jeans — these are impressive.
It works by breaking down grease stains. The powerful, biodegradable cleaning solution works on most fabrics. The microfiber pad on the pen lifts and absorbs stains.
The Tide to Go stain remover uses surfactants and oxygen bleach — but it does not contain chlorine bleach. Therefore, you can use this on colorfast fabrics of any material. Just check in an inconspicuous area first.
- Compact enough to fit in pockets.
- Doesn’t contain chlorine bleach.
- Works on fresh food and drink stains.
- You don’t need to launder after use.
- Doesn’t work on blood or ink stains.
- Takes some time to use.
- Not as effective on darker stains.
|Stain Type||Fresh food and drink|
|Fabric Type||Any (check colorfastness first)|
Shout Wipe and Go Portable Towelettes
Best Laundry Stain Remover Wipes
For a product that is mightier than the stain, try the Shout Wipe and Go portable towelettes. This is our top pick for a stain remover wipe — they’re super convenient. Just keep them in your bag and use them on the go.
When you spill something down your shirt, blot the stain to remove the excess. Wipe with one of these from outside the stain into the center. And voila! You’re good to go. No washing is required.
You can remove textured stains, juice, blood, and red wine. And not just on your clothes, but on your carpet and car interior.
It’s safe for all colorfast and washable fabrics as well as whites. It will tackle the stain while being gentle on your clothes so you can trust this with your delicates.
- Portable wipes make it easy for on-the-go stain removal.
- No washing required.
- Good for clothes, carpets, and car interiors.
- Safe on colorfast and washable fabrics.
- Can remove a variety of stains, including blood and juice.
- Works better if dampened.
- Disposable, so it increases waste.
|Stain Type||Juice, blood, wine, and other tough stains|
|Fabric Type||Any colorfast and washable fabric|
Shout Spray and Wash Stain Remover
Best Stain Remover Gel
Many prefer gel solutions because they’re thick and don’t run as much as a liquid. The Shout Spray and Wash stain remover is our top pick for a gel option.
This gel is specially formulated to remove stubborn and set-in stains. It uses stain-fighting surfactants to tackle stubborn stains. It has 70 percent more stain-fighting power than previous Shout stain removers.
So if you have an old stain, this could do the trick. However, it also works on fresh, everyday stains, too. We love that it handles tough stains such as wine and makeup and everyday stains like food, drink, and blood.
The handy spray function makes it easy to use. Simply spray the affected area until the stain is saturated. Then thoroughly rub the fabric with a cloth or clean toothbrush. Leave for five minutes or overnight, depending on the stain’s severity. Launder with your regular detergent at the warmest water possible for the fabric.
- Gets out fresh and old stains.
- 70 percent more stain-fighting power than previous Shout products.
- Handy spray function.
- Safe for whites and colorfast fabrics.
- Can remove tough stains like blood and wine.
- Customers find it doesn’t work on every type of stain.
- Nozzle can be faulty.
- One bottle doesn’t last very long.
|Stain Type||Everyday and set in stains|
|Fabric Type||White and colorfast clothes|
Better Life Natural Stain & Odor Eliminator
Best Natural Stain Remover
The Better Life natural stain and odor eliminator is our top choice for a natural stain remover. If you’re going green in the laundry room, this is a must-have.
Formulated with 100 percent plant-derived cleaning and fragrance products, you get a totally safe and eco-friendly stain remover. Soap bark, soy, and coconut are the active stain removers in this spray.
It works on carpets, furniture, athletic gear, and clothing. It’s safe on whites and colors. Remove grass, dirt, blood, sweat, and grease stains with this product.
Even though it doesn’t contain enzymes, oxidizers, or surfactants — this stuff is powerful. Customers swear by it! They’ve used it for heavy ink stains, bad pet smells, cigarette smells, and grass stains, amongst other types of stains.
- 100 percent natural ingredients.
- Eliminates stains and odors.
- Useful for clothes, athletic gear, furniture, and carpets.
- Functional spray bottle.
- Better Life never tests on animals.
- Eucalyptus and lemongrass scented.
- Not ideal for old stains and odors.
- Pricier than other options.
- The scent is not long-lasting.
|Stain Type||Grass, dirt, blood, sweat, and grease|
|Ingredients||100 percent natural|
|Fragrance||Eucalyptus and lemongrass|
OxiClean Color Boost Stain Remover Paks
Best Stain Remover for Colors
OxiClean Color Boost stain remover paks are a top choice for removing stains on colored clothes. This product uses active oxygen power to penetrate fabric fibers quickly and safely. It then breaks up and removes the stains.
We love that it brightens colors, too. So that dingy striped t-shirt at the back of your closet? Bring it back out and try OxiClean Color Boost on it!
The built-in optical brighteners bring vibrance back to colors. Want more? It also works on whites! It will restore their brightness and remove stains.
The paks are pre-measured, so you can just toss them into your machine’s drum. Use these in every load if you’d like — just make sure to add them before adding your clothes. This allows water to get to the pak first so it can dissolve.
- Brightens colors while removing stains.
- Safe for white garments, too.
- Convenient pak form.
- Useful for every load or pre-treatment.
- Great for dirt, food, and soil stains.
- Utilizes the power of oxygen bleach.
- Might irritate skin due to chemical ingredients.
- Not suitable for cold washes.
- The scent is overpowering.
|Stain Type||Dirt, soil, and food|
|Ingredients||Active oxygen power and enzymes|
OxiClean On-The-Go Stain Removal Stick
Best Laundry Stain Remover Pens
The OxiClean On The Go Pen is a fantastic product if you’re looking for a stain remover pen. These handy little pens can fit into your backpack or pocket. They remove tough stains, including baby foods, chocolate, and spaghetti.
To use, just blot the stain with a napkin or cloth to remove as much residue as possible. Then use the pen like an eraser while squeezing to eliminate the stain.
The ingredients aren’t disclosed, but they do state they’re biodegradable and derived from natural sources. So this product will be kind on your baby’s clothes.
Although it’s designed for baby messes, you don’t need to have a child to use this stain remover pen. It works on tough stains such as food, lipstick, and other messes. So try it out if you’re looking for a portable option.
- Portable pen design.
- Great for baby spills and food messes.
- Biodegradable ingredients and hydrogen peroxide.
- Does not contain bleach.
- Scrubber tip helps to remove stains while protecting clothing.
- Bottles prone to leaking.
- Leaves a big wet spot.
- Very hard to squeeze the pen.
|Stain Type||Most tough stains, especially baby messes|
|Product||Best||Stain Type||Ingredients||Type||Fabric Type|
|OxiClean White Revive Stain Remover||For White Clothing||Any stain||Active oxidizing agent||Powder||Except wool, silk, leather,dry clean|
|Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover||On-The-Go Laundry Stain Remover||Fresh food & drink||Active surfactants||Pen||Any|
|Shout Wipe and Go Towelettes||Laundry Stain Remover Wipes||Juice, blood, wine||Active surfactants||Wipes||Colorfast|
|Shout Spray & Wash Stain Remover||Stain Remover Gel||Everyday & set in stains||Active surfactants||Spray gel||Whites & colorfast|
|Better Life Stain & Odor Eliminator||Natural Stain Remover||Grass, dirt, blood, sweat & grease||100% natural||Spray liquid||Any|
|OxiClean Color Boost Paks||Stain Remover for Colors||Dirt, soil & food||Active oxygen power & enzymes||Paks||Any|
|OxiClean On-The-Go Stain Removal Stick||Laundry Stain Remover Pens||Most tough stains baby messes||Biodegradable ingredients||Pen||Any|
Should You Use a Stain Remover?
Stain removers are an important product to have in the laundry room. Regular detergent can break down stains during the wash cycle. But for the best results, a product designed to remove stains will be the most effective.
You can experiment with products you already have in the house. Dish soap, lemon juice, white vinegar, and baking soda all do an excellent job removing stains. But our recommendations for the best laundry stain removers will tackle stains effectively.
Which Substances Cause Stains?
There are four main categories of substances that cause stains (1).
- Enzymatic stains: This includes blood, grass, and chocolate.
- Oxidizable stains: This includes tea, coffee, and red wine.
- Greasy stains: This includes sweat, oil, butter, and many other food stains.
- Particle stains: This includes mud, soil, and dirt.
Types of Active Ingredients in a Stain Remover
There are three main active ingredients in stain removers that help to break apart and remove stains.
If you have an oxidizable stain, such as tea, coffee, or red wine, the best way to remove it is through an oxidizing agent, such as bleach.
Bleach causes reactions to form new chemical compounds and forces colored stains to become colorless. Because bleach changes the stain to colorless, you mustn’t bleach colored items as they will fade or turn white.
Enzymes are molecules that speed up chemical reactions. Some enzymes can help break larger molecules into smaller pieces (2). So it’s clear why that would be an excellent solution for stains.
Proteases, a type of enzyme, breaks down proteins such as blood, eggs, and gravy. Amylases, another type of enzyme, breaks down starches. Lipases break down fat and grease.
Surfactants are stain remover agents commonly found in detergent and dish soap. They reduce the surface tension of water. This causes your clothes to get wet, allowing the stain remover to reach and extract the stains (3).
Each surfactant molecule has a polar head that mixes with water and a hydrocarbon tail that dissolves grease. When these two molecules work together, the stain can easily rinse away.
What to Look for in a Laundry Stain Remover
We’ll break down some key details to consider so you find the most appropriate solution to your stain.
What Happens if You Leave Stain Remover on Too Long?
Using too much stain remover or leaving a stain remover on for too long can damage your clothes. It can make it much harder to rinse, clean, and dry the area. But the stain remover could also leave a stain, especially if it contains bleach.