Sussing out the best stain removers.
Sussing out the best stain removers.
How to be the best consumer you can be.
June 28 2007 7:10 AM

Will It All Come Out in the Wash?

Sussing out the best stain removers.

(Continued from Page 2)

Ease of use: 2
Effectiveness: 11
Total: 13

Zout, $3.49

Claims to clean: "Ground-In Dirt, Collar Grime, Grease, Makeup, Tomato Sauce, Cooking Oils, Lipstick, Fruit Juices, Chocolate, Food, Baby Formula, Salad Dressing, Ketchup, Dirty Motor Oil."

Before launching my experiments, I asked Nancy Steiner—a Los Angeles-based costume designer who has worked on films such as Year of the Dog, Little Miss Sunshine, and Lost in Translation, and frequently finds herself on emergency stain-removal duty for careless actors—for her stain combatant of choice. "Zout is the best thing for me—hands down," she told me. "That's the one that gets everything out." She clearly knows what she's talking about: Though it had much of the same difficulty as the other products with the mustard, lipstick, and coffee, Zout totally took care of the salad dressing and the barbecue sauce, and rendered the blood stain nearly imperceptible (4 points).

Ease of use: 2
Effectiveness: 14
Total: 16

Did I find the catchall cleaning solution to my problems? Have I found salvation from slovenliness? Not really. Maybe I need to join the Queen of Clean's Priority Club after all. Until then, I'll stick with Zout.

Full results chart.

Dan Crane is a writer and musician living in Los Angeles. He is the author of To Air is Human: One Man's Quest to Become the World's Greatest Air Guitarist.