6 Stain-Busters That Really Work
Problem: There's a spot on your white shirt, but you don't want to douse it with bleach and risk damaging the garment.
Solution: The new Clorox Bleach Pen lets you pinpoint stains with a fine-point applicator. (Bonus: It works on mildewed tile, too.)
To buy: $3, at supermarkets, Costco, Target, and Wal-Mart.
Problem: Fruitless attempts at stain removal make your garments pucker.
Solution: Tide Buzz, created by Tide and Black & Decker, is a kind of Water Pik for clothes. It's equipped with an electrically charged wand that injects the stain with cleaning fluid.
To buy: $37, amazon.com.
Problem: You've got a striped shirt with a stain on the white part―but you can't add bleach to a washer full of multicolored clothes.
Solution: Biz is a color-safe powder bleach that can be used with detegent or on its own as a presoak. It noticeably reduces stains and improves overall whiteness.
To buy: $9, at supermarkets.
Problem: You get a splotch on your business-trip suit when you're half a world away from your dry cleaner.
Solution: Madame Paulette's Professional Stain Removal Kit is a purse-friendly stash of stain-lifting towelettes.
To buy: $37.50 for 5 kits, madamepaulette.com.
Gentle Laundry Detergents
Problem: You've got a tough stain―but it's on a delicate fabric.
Solution: Some gentle laundry detergents, like Woolite and Victoria's Secret Affection Delicate Wash, are formulated to work in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. And unlike regular detergents, which contain tough ingredients that make them alkaline or acidic, these are closer to a neutral pH, and thus gentler on fragile fabrics.
To buy: Woolite, $6.50, in supermarkets; Victoria's Secret, at Victoria's Secret Beauty stores (unfortunately, this item is not currently available).
Problem: A heap of lasagna falls off your fork and into your lap while you're on a plane or sitting at your desk.
Solution: OxiClean Wipes get out tough stains, such as sauce, lipstick, and salad dressing. And unlike other portable stain removers, OxiClean Wipes don't leave a ring on light-colored clothing.
To buy: $4 for 10, at drugstores.