You Don't Need a Separate Stain-Removing Spray for Your Laundry

Photo:  Pinkasevich (Shutterstock)
Photo: Pinkasevich (Shutterstock)

When it comes to laundry supplies, the number of products we have, verses the ones we actually need don’t necessarily match up. And with storage space in our homes often in short supply, it makes sense to pare down the collection of products we’ve accumulated over the years.

According to Consumer Reports (CR), one item that you probably don’t need to replenish is stain-removing spray. Here’s what to know.

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The difference between stain-removing spray and laundry detergent

First, let’s take a look at the difference between stain-removing spray and laundry detergent. As the CR article explains, these sprays and liquid laundry detergent are typically made using the same ingredients, including surfactants, enzymes, and polymers (cleaning agents and compounds that help remove dirt from fabric).

The biggest difference—at least in terms of the makeup of the two products—is the consistency. Stain-removing spray is thin enough to be spritzed out of the bottle, whereas liquid laundry detergent is much thicker, and more like a gel. Both are concentrated, but the spray is designed to be used in that form; detergent is diluted with water in the washing machine, the CR article points out.

So, instead of buying a separate stain-removing spray, the cleaning experts at CR recommend using a decent liquid laundry detergent (they suggest Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release and Persil ProClean Stain Fighter) to pre-treat stains.

How to use liquid laundry detergent instead of stain-removing spray

Using liquid detergent to pretreat stains is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is to tab a small amount of the laundry detergent directly onto the stain, and allow it to soak in a bit before washing it as you normally would.

Some people scrub the detergent into the stain, but use your judgment, based on the type of fabric and how delicate the garment is. Letting the detergent soak into the stain for about five minutes should be plenty, though you may want to leave it on a bit longer for tougher stains.

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