Stain Removers

Reporter: Helen Wellings

"There's no shortage of stain removers - supermarket shelves are brimming and ALL claim to make nasty marks disappear. But how effective are they? And how risky is it to use them on your clothing?"

Helen Wellings has been on the job, testing popular supermarket brands, as well as new stain removers you can buy online and another that's been around for 80 years.

The results are surprising.

"In a split second, a precious garment, potentially ruined, unless it's treated skillfully with the right product But how safe is it to do it yourself?"

Juliette Anderson with Amazing "As you can see it is pretty much gone. It's out. It will work on tough stains absolutely."

Pam Daniel who is behind instant stain remover, Exit says "Red wine gone! It's gone, it's gone completely."

Helen "Do-it-yourself stain removers claim to get out almost ANY disaster, we're about to see how true that is.

Juliette Anderson "There are no other stain removers on the market that are scented that have a fragrance that will remove the beverage odour."

Helen "Juliette Anderson says her portable purse-size instant stain-remover spray is really amazing!"

Juliette "Red wine, chocolate, tomato sauce, tea, coffee. All you have to do is spray it, agitate the fibres and it disappears."

Helen "Pam Daniel's behind instant stain remover, Exit, a pure vegetable soap or spray with citrus, invented in Queensland the 1930s. Removes Biro, grease, boot polish, lipstick, red wine, water-based paint

Pam "You can disappear into the bathroom for a minute, you will come back you may be a little tiny bit wet other than that you will dry quite quickly."

Helen "Peter Pelleri, owner of the Lindus Group of drycleaners is expert at eradicating virtually any spot or stain under the sun with his state of the art equipment, something he doubts the commercial spot removers can do every time."

Peter says "Sauces and biros are very hard to get out and it just depends on the type of fibre it is. This one's not a do-it-yourself job."

Helen "So our tests. How effective are these pre-wash and instant stain removers. We had Peter Pelleri soil 8 swatches with tomato sauce, salad dressing, red wine and coffee, some of the most stubborn marks."

Peter "Best thing is to just let them dry now before we treat them to see what the result is going to be."

Helen "We then treated the spills with pre-wash stain removers, a cheapie Coles Smart-Buy @ $2.10, White King $4, Vanish Preen $4.40, Sard Wonder $4.70. Although they're for treating spills immediately not once they're dried, instant stain removers were also put to the test - Exit around $4 also a pre-wash, KR2 $10, Dynamo To Go $6, Amazing $10.95 with refills at 70 cents."

Peter "Don't ever rub, because once you start rubbing a garment that's when you're going to start causing damage."

Helen "We used absorbent padding under the swatch and following instructions, removed surface debris, dabbed, and applied the product, later washing in the case of pre-wash removers. It looks so easy."

Juliette Anderson "I am just going to show you how to remove a red wine stain. So the first thing we do is remove the surface particles. We then spray the stain thoroughly. Agitate the soaked fibres then blot to remove any excess stain residue."

Helen "Our test results…. Best - Coles Smart Buy, excellent on red wine, not as good for coffee and salad dressing. White King - success for all stains except tomato sauce. Amazing - great at what it's designed for, instant stain removal, not as good for left-on stains. Best overall - Exit soap

Peter "The pre-wash, you're definitely getting a better result as the water's going through."

Helen "Least effective in our tests - K2R and Dynamo which left noticeable stain residue."

Peter "This is a grease stain. If you're at home trying to remove it yourself all you're going to do is spread the mark and it's going to make it more difficult for the dry cleaner to pick out you've got black on beige, you've got to be careful because sometimes the colours can run so you really have to test it and wash it to make sure the colours are colourfast."

Helen "Peter Pellini says many stains, quality garments and finer fabrics should never be treated at home."

Peter "If you start treating the stain all you're going to do is start spreading the mark so again make-up is an oil-based stain so it has to be dry-cleaned to get out. The longer the stain has been in the garment the harder it is to remove. So really, once you stain something I recommend that you take it to get cleaned straight away.

Drycleaners use a cool steam to spot-clean and special dry-cleaning chemicals for perfect results. But for simpler everyday garments, instant and pre-wash stain removers, also Napisan can be effective for day-to-day clothes.Helen and Pam with Exit "we know it takes out red wine because proof is in the pudding."