Stains are simply a part of life, whether we like it or not. From kids and pets to spouses—or, let’s get serious, its often me on my new favorite shirt—stains are a universal problem that everyone from presidents to Real Housewives battle. And because spills always occur at the most inconvenient time, it’s smart to have your go-to cleaners locked and loaded for the inevitable, “The stain is setting!!!!” moment.
That said, the market is flooded with supposed stain solutions that all claim to do the same thing, but what may work best to get mud off of pants isn’t necessarily the best bet for when your dog has a not-so-welcome accident on the carpet. Which is where we come in! We combed through the options out there and found the eight best solutions for the most common stain dilemmas—from carpet spills to red wine mishaps, we’ve got you covered. Sayonara stains!
Best Carpet Cleaner
Resolve Carpet Cleaner with Triple Oxi Action Advanced Carpet Stain Remover
The truth is food and drinks make their way into all the entertaining areas of the house, regardless of how hard you try to control it. With holidays, playdates or family movie nights, it’s inevitable that the occasional food will be dropped and drinks spilled. Thanks to Resolve Carpet Cleaner you don’t have to stress anymore. It works on the scariest of everyday stains (Wine! Tomato sauce! Mud! Ink! Grease!) using a three-part removal system that cleans the stain, prevents it from reappearing and leaves your carpet soft and smelling fresh.
Best On-the-Go Stain Remover
Tide To Go Stain Pens
Introduced in 2005, Tide To Go pens came to market based on research that reveled 72 percent of stains occurred on-the-go were caused by spilled food and drinks (like coffee and fast food being eaten in the car). Tide responded with these small, portable To Go pens that are formulated specifically to target and correct these stains quickly—and they work! Keep one in your purse, one in your car and one in your stroller so you’re always prepared.
Best Pretreating Laundry Solution
OxiClean Max Force Laundry Stain Remover Spray
For everyday-kids-stains (Think: grass stains and bloodied jeans from scraped knees), my go-to has long been OxiClean Max Force. Comprised of five types of stain fighters that remove “grease, oil, grass, blood, soil, clay, food and drink stains,” OxiClean can eliminate even days-old stains from clothes. (Let’s face it: With hectic schedules we aren't always able to immediately treat a spill!) Just spray prior to putting in the wash and let stand for 5 minutes (or up to a week) and wash in the warmest water the fabric allows.
Best Red Wine Remover
Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover
It’s hard to believe in the efficacy of this product without seeing the results first hand—but let me tell you, I have and I am now officially a believer! Picture red wine all over a throw pillow. You’re panicked, clearly. Put put some cold water on it, add a few sprays of Chateau and after a couple pats, THE STAIN IS GONE!! Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover was originally developed for lab workers to remove stains on hands while working with slides. It is peroxide-, chlorine-, bleach- and phosphates-free, nontoxic and breaks down the stain’s pigment at the cellular level on clothing, linens, sofas, carpets…just to name a few. The takeaway: This is a super-safe miracle product that truly works every time.
Best Multipurpose Cleaner
Lestoil Concentrated Heavy Duty Cleaner
A friend introduced me to Lestoil not so long ago, and to say I was skeptical about puttin an oily substance anywhere near my fabrics is an understatement. But now I am utterly hooked! It is the jack-of-all-trades cleaner that can be used on laundry, upholstery, carpets, appliances or multiple outdoor surfaces, tackling stains caused by tough substances like oil, grease, paint and tar. Given that there is a bit of an oily finish, I recommend putting it into a spray bottle for best results to achieve even distribution. You won’t be disappointed!
Best Cleaner For Car Interior
Tuff Stuff Multi Purpose Foam Cleaner
The stomach bug hit my family not once but twice this winter when we were in the car. Yes, I am serious and quite frankly there is nothing worse than the smell of lingering vomit as you cruise around town. I tried multiple cleaners and Tuff Stuff came out on top. Discharging a whole lot of foam, not only did it make the stains disappear, but Tuff Stuff more importantly eliminated the odor. It works especially well on vinyl and fabric upholstery, floor mats and carpets in the car, but also has great reviews for being effective on boats and in the home as well. Bonus: Tuff Stuff can be used on Formica, bathroom fixtures, asphalt or ceramic tile, painted walls, wall coverings, screens, window fans, porcelain, painted wood or metal, too.
Best Cleaner For Pet Stains
Rocco & Roxie Supply Co Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator
While our pets are cherished members of our family, they are also incredibly good stain makers. Luckily, this Stain and Odor Eliminator is able to remove both the stain and any unpleasant odorcs thanks to a bio-enzymatic formula that works deep into your carpets and upholstery. This professional strength cleaner contains enzymatic bacterial that attacks the ammonia residue that are a part of all the common (and nasty!) pet stains including urine, feces and vomit just to name a few. Powerful enough to count on, but gentle enough to trust around kids and those dang pets who made the mess, your carpets and fabrics will thank you!
Best Upholstery Protection
Scotchgard Fabric & Upholstery Protector
While Scotchgard Fabric & Upholstery Protector is not a stain remover, it does fight stains before they hit. It’s called prevention, people! Simply spray onto your couch, pillows, chairs or even favorite clothing and the product won’t change the feeling of the fabric, but it will repel liquids and prevents stains going foward. It’s an easy one-step application that dries clear and is odorless, so you don’t even realize it is on until you see the liquids literally rolling away.
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