The $8 Cult-Favorite Stain Remover Laundry Experts Recommend (Even for Sharpie!)

published Jun 22, 2020
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So, you spilled half a glass of Pinot Noir or splattered grease all over your brand new shirt. Or your kid decided your couch was the ideal canvas for an art project with a permanent marker. There are a number of ways to attack these stubborn fabric and upholstery stains, and each one varies based on the type of mess and fabric. But what if you could have one stain-fighting solution to cover all your bases? And, better yet, what if it was even more effective than the alternatives?

According to laundry expert Patric Richardson, known as the Laundry Evangelist, the one product you’ll always want to keep on hand for any and all stains—even the most stubborn ones—is Amodex Ink & Stain Remover. The best part is, he says, it’s not just an effective way to remove all types of stains. You can also use it on almost any surface: Your leather couch, your dry-clean only clothes, even your carpet. 

First formulated in 1958 to remove ink and dye stains from hands, Amodex has evolved into a cult favorite on Amazon, with thousands of rave reviews celebrating its versatility. Apparently, the non-toxic, cream-based stain remover is effective (and safe) on all fabrics and even on skin—but it’s still strong enough to erase the most stubborn stains, like grass, paint, wine, oil, tomato, and chocolate, which is one big reason customers (including the Laundry Evangelist) seem to appreciate it so much. The product’s claim to fame, of course, is removing ink, which is notoriously hard to get out of fabric. According to the Amodex website, the formula works on all types of ink, including ballpoint, felt tip, fountain pain, stamp pad, and, the most stubborn offenders of all, whiteboard and permanent markers (including Sharpie).

Not convinced? Go to the reviews. One Amazon user used it to remove an ink mark from a car’s hard interior surface, which totally disappeared after applying Amodex with a cotton swab and allowing it to sit for 20 minutes. Another person said Amodex was the only thing to fix a huge pen explosion mess on their nursing uniform, while another used it to successfully erase red Sharpie from an upholstered couch cushion.

You can use Amodex as a pre-treatment when you launder your clothes or other garments, or as a standalone stain remover on upholstery or dry clean-only items. It’s also super easy to use:

  • As with any product, first check for colorfastness on the affected area, and put cardboard or paper towel between layers of fabric to avoid transferring the stain
  • Shake the bottle, then apply Amodex to the stain (note: it’s important not to wet the stain beforehand)
  • Rub the solution in, then rinse or launder as usual

One of the most common complaints in the Amazon reviews is that the results aren’t always instant. Depending on the type of fabric and stain, it tends to take a few applications to fully remove. But a bit of waiting time seems like a completely fair trade-off for a Sharpie-free couch!

You can buy Amodex stain remover online or at your local home and hardware store for around $8 for a one-ounce bottle, or $12 for 4 ounces.