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If you are currently washing your laundry detergent without stain remover, first of all our humble congratulations. Second, let me give you a few tips that may come a day when you add one to your daily routine. Laundry stain removers use enzymes or oxidation to break down and remove stubborn stains from clothing, offering a more targeted way to remove stains than traditional detergents. According to Cathy Cohoon, an industry spokeswoman for Two Maids, unlike regular detergents that wash an entire garment, “stain removers go where they’re needed.”

Remember that red wine stain on your favorite pants from last month’s dinner party? There is hope, but wait, don’t plan on wearing them tonight. Another way stain removers and detergents differ is that the process takes time. “You’re going to use [stain remover] before you wash,” notes Cohoon. It recommends letting it sit for “at least four hours” before tossing it in the bathroom. Package orientations may vary, but keep this tip in mind for your primary orientation.

To find the best stain remover, we at The Lab researched and tested 30 under-the-radar stain removers from popular brands to find which ones are the best and deserve your attention. We rated them on ease of use, effectiveness, smell, type of substance they can resolve, and overall value.

The Method Spot Remover was the best in our tests and received universally rave reviews. You can use it on any tough stains like oil, blood, grass, grease, food, makeup, etc. The herbal formula removes stains with minimal downtime or elbow grease. “Wow! Amazing results,” reported our tester. “Grass, marker and syrup are completely removed, leaving no residue from stains or cleaners.” We were concerned about stain transfer based on the “durability of the application process”, but it all came off cleanly! The wine stain is a great improvement, especially compared to other products we’ve tested.

Even better, eye-catching results are a breeze thanks to the brush and bottle combination. We love how easy it was to use, especially when working with large stains. Although we like the built-in brush, you can apply the product, especially if you’re cleaning small spots.

All this comes at an affordable price too. “The tank isn’t big,” noted our tester. “But it’s enough for when you’re working on really big or tough spots. The bristled applicator is a huge plus, because the friction really seemed to help with tougher spots like makeup.”

This popular Shout foam stain remover was a top performer in our testing. It works really well, removing most stains with ease and taking care of leftover makeup and wine stains (which were a challenge for most of the products we tested). We also liked the performance and price. Other highlights are the easy-to-use, fragrance-free formula and overall value.

We noted that the instructions do not allow this foam to dry on the stain. If you are easily distracted, find yourself interrupted while doing housework, or like to spend time doing laundry, this product may not be suitable for your routine. Otherwise, it’s a high-performance, budget-friendly, and easy-to-use option that’s proven to work in our tests.

If you’re looking for eco-friendly ingredients, take a look at this spotting stick. Formula comes in bar form. You lather it directly onto the stain and it’s incredibly easy to use, effective and great value for money. Although the cost is a little higher than the average price of products we’ve tested and reviewed, our tester noted that “the bar removed most stains and left very little left over.” worth the splurge. You can use it on most fabrics, including delicates, and it’s suitable for any water temperature. It has a fresh, clean scent similar to Irish Spring bar soap, but not too strong or chemically scented.

If you’ve never used a stain remover bar before, the instructions are clear and the shape of the bar makes it easy to apply. It creates a lot of foam, so the composition spreads easily from the stain.

The bar formula requires less packaging, so you end up with less waste after using this compact, eco-friendly product.

Another high-powered bar for you to consider is Meliora Laundry Stain Remover Soap. This stain remover worked better than the others. In fact, the vegetable soap contains eco-friendly ingredients such as coconut and sunflower oils, and the brand is committed to sustainable practices.

In addition, enr applications are a little messier than just spraying something on, but one good part of that is there is no plastic bottle! As for its performance, the bar was very strong across multiple categories, including ease of use, effectiveness, and scent. When it comes to price, it’s key to note that this one is more expensive, but also worth the splurge, given the results. It also has a light, pleasant scent.

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