Wine, coffee, and tea are some of the most common stains, and for Tide, they're big business. Tide sells more than 10 million Tide to Go Instant Stain Removers a year. More companies have jumped into the market. Consumer Reports just tested half a dozen instant stain removers ranging in price from $2 to $5 to see which are best at making spills disappear.
Testers put the spot cleaners through a tough challenge with hard-to-remove stains, such as gravy, wine, cola, ketchup, and tea. They blot each stain right away with a washcloth, and then use one of the spot cleaners. In all, the tests covered five different types of fabric, including cotton and polyester.
Sun & Earth claims its "natural enzymes break down stains on contact" and that it "removes over 35 types of stains." Yet Sun & Earth did the worst of all the cleaners. It didn't do well on red wine or gravy stains. And while all the other cleaners did a pretty good job at removing cola, Sun & Earth couldn't always get it out.
None of the cleaners could completely remove all of the stains, but three did better than others. The stain removers from CVS, Walgreens, and Tide all tied for the top spot. The CVS Instant Stain Remover costs the least. At $2, Consumer Reports says it's worth having it on hand the next time you make a mess.
Consumer Reports says the key to getting out any stain is to treat it right away. The best technique is to first circle the stain with the spot remover before attacking the stain directly. That keeps the stain from spreading.
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