WE'VE all experienced those moments — a party, a day out, or an event—where spillages can easily happen in a matter of seconds. And when it occurs, especially if the stain hits a cherished item, you'll want to call on one of the best stain removers to help.
Team that with day-to-day items such as school uniforms or white socks getting grubby and you can often have a laundry basket filled with worn-out-looking clothes that need sprucing up. It's important to know that fabrics can easily pick up dirt and debris from our surroundings as well as makeup, perspiration and food.
Our carpets and soft furnishings can also get an attack of stains, particularly when eating and drinking close to them. That's when you need a good stain remover, one that targets the specific material and gets to work swiftly.
But are all stain removers created equal? With a plethora of products on the market, it can be difficult to decide so we put ten to the test, assessing their ability to tackle a wide range of stains without compromising the fabric quality.
We've attacked fresh stains, stubborn old stains and clothes that just look a bit tired out and are in dire need of revitalisation.
Soaking is useful as it gives the fabrics time to break down the stains but it is also important to find a stain remover that works for the specific fabric you need.
From dreaded red wine mishaps to stubborn grass and even discoloured whites, prepare to bid farewell to the most stubborn of stains.
Best instant stains at a glance:
- Best for trainers: The Pink Stuff
- Best multi-purpose paste: Astonish The Good One Paste
- Best for red wine stains: Wine no more!
- Best for oil and grease: Dr Beckmann Devil Stain Remover
- Best vinegar stain remover: Dri-Pak Extra Strength White Vinegar
The Pink Stuff Miracle Cleaning Paste
- The Pink Stuff Miracle Cleaning Paste, £5.49 from Amazon – buy here
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Pros: Gets trainers brilliantly white, can be used on other surfaces
Cons: Abrasive so need to use a gentle toothbrush with trainers to prevent scratches
Trainers are one of the most universal items that get pretty dirty quickly. Often made with a combo of fabric and leather, mud and dirt can become ingrained and hard to remove. Often it can be scary to throw them in the washing machine in case it removes any of the colour or embellishments, and that's where the pink stuff comes in to save the day.
Hailed as the great trainer cleaner, TikTok is awash with people bringing their trainers back to their sparkling form. We tried it on a pair of trainers from 2016 (practically vintage!) which were a mix of white and coral. Using an old toothbrush, we gently coated the problem areas although you can get an electric Pink Stuff cleaning brush too for this. You can also soak the laces and leave them in some Pink Stuff Oxi Powder while you get to grips with the footwear.
We like that this made it pretty mess free with the toothbrush doubling up as a cleaning tool. It made the trainers bright and white again.
Tip. For extra brightness leave your trainers to dry in the sun for some additional and natural bleaching.
Lakeland Wine No More! Red wine stain remover
- Lakeland Wine No More! Red wine stain remover, £8.99 from Amazon – buy here
Pros: Can be used on carpets, or different types of fabrics including upholstery, removes red wine and fruit juice
Cons: Works best on fresh stains
If you love a dinner party but hate the haphazard spills that can happen then having a Wine no more! spray bottle close by could be the extra party guest you never knew you needed. Containing no bleach or ammonia, we found the easy trigger bottle really easy to use and spray.
There are instructions that must be followed prior to spraying so you will need to blot the stain immediately after a spill to get any excess wine off with paper towels, then spray liberally until the stain turns blue. Then it is recommended to leave for 5 minutes before removing.
In our experiment, we put it to the test on an old red wine stain on upholstery fabric, and it impressively faded to almost nothing. Additionally, it is known to be capable of tackling darker juice stains and can be used on clothes, sofas and carpets.
One fan shares, 'My other half dropped a full glass of red wine over our brand new cream carpet. This stuff made it disappear. Our cream carpet is now back to normal – can’t say the same for my other half!'
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Dri-Pak Extra Strength White Vinegar
- Dri-Pak White Vinegar Extra Strength £2.59, from Robert Dyas – buy here
Pros: Acidic so can dissolve grease, good sink unblocker, has anti-bacterial properties
Cons: Vinegar scent, can't be used on natural worktops, can damage finish on wooden floors if not diluted
White vinegar has been used as a natural stain remover for centuries and targets an array of fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and polyester. It is also a good cleaning item that can be used on general surfaces around the house, particularly bathrooms and kitchens.
In addition to its stain-removing properties, white vinegar also acts as an odour neutraliser. It can help eliminate unpleasant smells from clothes, especially those caused by sweat or mildew.
When it comes to budget stain removers Dry Pak is also particularly cost-friendly coming in at just under £3.
We tried it on a couple of older pillowcases and after soaking we washed them and then let them dry in natural sunlight which revitalised them well.
If the fabric is delicate it is recommended to dilute the white vinegar with some warm water rather than applying directly to the fabric and always thoroughly wash the item after application. Fresh.
Astonish The Good One Paste
- Astonish The Good One Paste, £5.80 from Amazon – buy here
Pros: Cleans well, particularly on cookers and tiles, smells fresh and minty
Cons: Can't use it on polished steel or plastics, the lid is quite tight to remove
We love an all-rounder and the Astonish paste can be used on many different surfaces around the house. It has a delicate minty smell and as it's a paste you can neatly dab on a cloth and get to work.
We tried it on a few different surfaces including stains on cooker tops and windows and found it works best as a grease buster on cooker surfaces as well as splash tiles.
While you can't use it on all surfaces, it works well on others.
The 500g tin will definitely last a while and is recyclable although the lid is a little hard to get off, which seems to be designed to keep the paste fresh.
Wilko Soda Crystals
- Wilko Original Soda Crystals, £1.50, from Wilko – buy here
Pros: Safe, biodegradable and cleans most stains and surfaces
Cons: Need to soak deep stains overnight
On the budget end of the scale is Wilko soda crystals, which can literally be used for cleaning everything but are particularly effective for soaking stains and eliminating deep grease in laundry items.
Soda crystals are alkaline in nature, which means they have a high pH level. This alkalinity helps to neutralize acidic stains, such as those caused by fruit juices or coffee.
At £1.50 for a 1.5kg bag, they will last for ages as you only need a small cup per wash or soak and can also use it as a pre-rinse cycle with added soda crystals.
We utilised soda crystals in a pre-soak before running them through the washing machine for a comprehensive cleaning. The crystals effectively released grime and debris, leaving the clothes thoroughly refreshed. Note. For deeper stains, you will need to soak overnight for effective removal.
Additionally, their scent-free nature ensured that the garments smelled clean without any overpowering fragrance.
Smol Stain Remover Gel
- Smol stain remover gel, £12 from Smol – buy here
Pros: An eco-friendly option, with soaking
Cons: Works best for mild stains that are not too dark
A fairly new contender, Smol aims to wipe out stains without any bleaching. Plus, you can check out our full smol review here.
So if they don't use bleach, just what is their secret you may ask? Well, natural enzymes is Smol's go-to ingredient. The enzymes have a specific protein, designed to break down tough stains.
We immersed a few items for only an hour and found that it was an excellent natural soaking solution without any harsh chemicals. Most marks and dirt disappeared completely, except for a pen mark. However, we believe that soaking the item for a longer period of time would further improve its effectiveness, even overnight.
The bottle comes in a handy pump bottle and is an effective reliable choice for fighting mild to medium stains.
Dr Beckmann Devil Stain Remover
- Dr Beckmann Stain Devils Remover, £3.49 from Amazon – buy here
Pros: Specifically attacks grease stains, perfect for grease spills
Cons: Small bottle, can't use on wool or silk
If you may be prone to the odd grease or sauce spill, or have little one's that constantly miss their mouth then this is the stain remover for you. It aptly targets grease, oil, chocolate, ketchup, sauces spices and more on clothes and fabric covers.
The application was pretty simple just moistening the stain and then leaving it on for 10 minutes using the small nozzle. We tried it on a small oily pasta sauce stain on a white top which worked well to remove it.
Its only downfall is the bottle is a little small so you may need more product on a larger stain. But in terms of removing grease, it hit the mark. Small but mighty.
Dr Beckmann pre-wash stain remover
- Dr Beckmann Stain Devils Pre-Wash Stain Remover, £3.25 from Waitrose – buy here
Pros: Targets specific areas, easy to use nozzle bottle, great for food, chocolate and grease
Cons: Need to always test for colourfastness if using on bright clothes
The Dr Beckmann pre-wash stain remover targets specific areas without the normal water soak.
The bottle design is really easy to use as it has a built-in nozzle, meaning you won't waste excessive product and can really rub it into the material without having to use your fingers.
Designed to tackle specific types of stains, particularly food, it also works with ink, red wine, grease, and everyday stains.
The product has a fragrance to it but after washing we couldn't smell this and it is recommended to rinse thoroughly after the remover has been on for over 15 minutes.
We tried it on a food stain and it easily removed it, and while you may need to leave a deeper stain for longer, it's a great all-round product.
One fan says, 'Have been using this for years. It's the only product I use for everyday stain removal.'
Oz Kleen Carpet Power Stain Remover
- Oz Kleen Carpet Power Stain Remover, £3.80 from Wilko – buy here
Pros: Releases stains, including old ones, and has a refreshing lavender scent.
Cons: May need more than one soak to thoroughly eliminate stains and smells
Oz Kleen Carpet Power is a carpet cleaner designed to deliver effective results. This product is aimed to tackle tough stains, dirt, and odours embedded in carpets.
We found its easy-to-spray trigger bottle really comfortable to use and its large size of 500ml will ensure it goes a long way.
We tried it on an old coffee stain on the corner of a rug and were sceptical if it could release a stain that was almost a year old. After one soak, it did not come out but after the second it was pretty much all gone. Therefore, if you have a really tough stain we think it would work best to give it two applications at least for maximum results.
One of its notable features is that it is suitable for use on various carpet types, including rugs or pure wool piles, and has a refreshing lavender smell that stays on the carpet after cleaning. Impressive.
Allavare Natural Oxygen Bleach
- Allavare Natural Oxygen Bleach £18 from Allavare – buy here
Pros: Cleans thoroughly and releases deep stains, particularly grass
Cons: Needs to be left for longer periods to remove all dirt
Hard to budge stains on clothes but don't want to scrub? Then trying a natural bleaching technique may help with fresh or old stains.
If you have sensitive skin and also want to remove stains without harsh chemicals hitting your skin then Allavare offers a non-toxic solution that keeps things au natural.
We tried it on two different fabrics, a material tote bag and a grass-stained school uniform.
The bag was soaked for several hours and we were shocked when the water almost turned black! We soaked for the recommended 6 hours but for tougher stains, you can repeat the process for a further 6 hours or overnight.
The school uniform needed less time but the grass stains were still removed and the white shirts looked bright.
While the packet may seem on the higher end of pricing, it comes in a giant 1.8kg bag which covers up to 60 washes and contains no parabens, fragrances, real bleach or chlorines.
Plus the Natural Oxygen Bleach can even be used with laundry powder for added washing machine cleaning or as a cleaning addition to bathrooms. Sparkling.
Where can I buy stain removers in the UK?
Stain removers are available at most online and in-store grocery shops, as well as at some specialist cleaning shops. You can also find stain removers directly from popular brands. Here are some of the best places to buy stain removers.
- Robert Dyas
What is the best stain remover?
In the UK, there are several highly regarded stain removers that are considered to be effective. However, determining the best stain remover is dependent on various factors such as the type of stain you have, what type of fabric, personal preferences of fragrance and whether you prefer eco-friendly or not.
Also, it is important to know how old the stain is if possible. Some stain removers really work best on fresh or recent spillages while others will gladly go to work on much older stains.
Some of the most popular stain removers in the UK are Dr Beckmann Devil Stains, Oz Kleen, The Pink Stuff and Dri-Pak Vinegar.
It's important to note that the effectiveness of a stain remover can vary depending on the specific stain and fabric. It's always a good idea to read instructions, conduct spot tests, and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the best results.
Which kind of stain removers should I buy?
When selecting a stain remover, it's important to consider the specific types of stains you commonly encounter and the surfaces or fabrics you need to treat.
Some of the multi-purpose stain removers may be versatile stain removers that are designed to tackle a wide range of stains, such as food, dirt, grease, and more but it's important to know the stain removal needs prior.
Specialised stain removers are also a really good investment, particularly if you have frequent stains such as baby food or pets. These are formulated to target specific types of stains, such as ink, red wine, oil, rust, or outdoor grub.
We will all encounter laundry stains at different times so a specific laundry stain remover may work best on fabrics and clothing. They are generally designed to be used before washing.
Of course, if you love a good party or entertaining guests at home then your carpet or sofa may feel the consequences. If you need to remove stains from carpets, rugs, or upholstery, it's best to choose stain removers that are specifically formulated such as a carpet stain remover.
There are also eco-friendly options to consider, particularly if you have sensitive skin or can get an allergic reaction to harsh chemicals. If you prefer more environmentally friendly options, there are stain removers available that are made from natural or plant-based ingredients which will also budge stains.
When purchasing stain removers, it is recommended to always make sure to read the labels and follow the instructions provided because some have different times and application ways. Additionally, consider conducting spot tests on the fabric first if you're really worried and to avoid any potential damage.
What stain remover does Mrs Hinch use?
You may be familiar with the saying Hinch my Home as Mrs Hinch loves nothing better than a quick clean and spritz which she frequently shares with her 4.7 million Instagram followers!
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Her cleaning routines often involve using specific cleaning products and techniques, and she has popularized the trend of "Hinch Hauls," where she showcases her latest cleaning purchases.
Some of the stain removers Mrs Hinch has mentioned using include The Pink Stuff, Dr Beckmann Stain Devils and Elbow Grease.
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