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Which is the best laundry stain remover?

Consumer Reports compared several different concentrated, spray-on stain removers — including Oxi Clean, Shout and Spray n Wash — to find out which performed the best.

CR tasked the stain removers with typical, yet difficult, stains.

CR used fourteen swatches -- each saturated with a different stain -- with things like coffee, chocolate ice cream, grass, blood, gravy, cherry juice, lipstick, baby food, used motor oil and mustard.

Testers sprayed half of each piece of stained fabric with the stain remover, rubbed the stain remover into the stain, let it soak in for 5 minutes or overnight and then washed them with a normal load of laundry.

A colorimeter measured the color of the stained fabric swatches before and after treatment with the stain removers.

An additional test was done by comparing the stain removers to two of CR’s top-rated liquid laundry detergents.

CR took some of the best detergents and applied them to the swatches, rubbed them into the stain and then put them in the laundry and washed them. CR found out that some of these detergents did better than a lot of the stain removers. In fact, only one of the stain removers performed better than the two laundry detergents -- OxiClean Max Force Spray.

CR also recommends the top-rated Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release or Persil Pro-Clean Stain Fighter regular detergents. Both came close to the cleaning power of the OxiClean Spray.