We Asked 4 Cleaning Pros to Name Their Favorite Stain Remover

published Jan 12, 2024
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person blotting an oil stain on a aqua t-shirt on white marble surface
Credit: Sarah Crowley

When it comes to laundry, soap alone doesn’t always cut it — especially when you’re faced with spills, splatters, and stains. “Even though most light stains can be treated with only laundry detergent, more stubborn, heavier ones will require extra-strong products and maybe a bit of physical effort,” says Petya Holevich, house cleaning and laundry supervisor at Fantastic Services. “Having a stain remover on hand will make the process a lot easier and less worrisome.”

With all the options available, finding the best stain remover for your laundry can be a tough task. That’s why we tapped cleaning and laundry experts to share their top picks. Read on to learn which laundry stain remover they swear by, plus a few runners-up.

The Overall Favorite: OxiClean Max Force Stain Remover

Of all the stain removers out there, our experts prefer this OxiClean pick, which uses sodium percarbonate to release stain-fighting oxygen. First and foremost, they say it’s consistently effective on everything from food and wine spills to grass and makeup. 

“Based on my experience, its dependability and versatility make it an excellent choice for removing a wide range of stains,” says Gretchen Boyd, president of NYC House Cleaners. Boyd also notes that, unlike bleach, OxiClean is color-safe, so it’s a versatile pick you can use on pretty much any item. 

Holevich agrees, noting how inexpensive the product is for its effectiveness and versatility. She also says it performs well even with only cold water — some stain removers need to be paired with warm or hot water — and it can be left on fabrics for up to a week without discoloring them (just in case you forget to start the laundry load). 

Favorite Runners Up

Searching for more options? Here are a few other stain removers these pros prefer.


Ocean Van, owner of Coco Laundry, a laundry service provider in Long Beach, California, is a big fan of Vanish liquid, which uses hydrogen peroxide to tackle a broad range of stains safely on most laundry materials. “It’s generally considered a premium stain remover, reflecting its advanced stain-removing technology and broad application capabilities,” he says. You can also use Vanish directly in the laundry load to brighten whites without bleach!

Shout Advanced Stain Remover 

Jonathon Reckles, vice president of CD One Price Cleaners, appreciates this Shout product because it’s formulated to use safely on a wide variety of stains, from oil to protein (think: blood, milk, or egg). “Various stain types require different stain remover types,” he says. “If you use the wrong type of stain remover on a stain, you could set the stain in further or damage the garment.” Holevich also likes this Shout formula because of its convenient built-in applicator that makes scrubbing stains easy without a separate brush.

Dish Soap 

For oil stains in particular — grease, cooking oil, candle wax, or lip balm — Reckles recommends using dish soap, which contains degreasing properties. “It’s often a great option to break down oily materials and allow them to be flushed out of fabric,” he says. Plus, dish soap is inexpensive, and most people have it on hand — so extra trips to the store for a specialty stain-fighter aren’t needed.