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3 December 2021

Best fabric stain removers

An effective fabric stain remover can be relied on to remove everything from red wine stains to melted chocolate. Find out which stain removers and home remedies rated highly in our tests.
Joey Willoughby-Rainsford

Whether it's gravy stains on your smart white shirt, red wine stains on your tablecloth or small chocolate handprints on your cushion covers, fabric stains can be a nightmare to deal with. 

In August 2021 we put nine popular fabric stain removers from Dr Beckmann, Astonish, HG and others, to the test, as well as six popular home remedies, including baking soda, lemon juice and white vinegar.

We assessed how well each stain remover dealt with stubborn red wine, curry, tomato ketchup, melted chocolate and blood stains on both cotton blend and wool blend fabrics.

Pricing and availability last checked 2nd December 2021.


Have you spilt things on your carpet too? Check out our guide to the best carpet stain removers.


The best fabric stain removers

Only logged-in Which? members can view the fabric stain remover test results below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the fabric stain removers we've tested. 

Join Which? now to get instant access to our test results and recommendations below. 

Armor All Carpet and Seat Foaming Cleaner

Armor All Carpet and Seat Foaming Cleaner

Cheapest price: £4 available from Amazon

Size: 500ml

Key features: Aerosol, foaming

Armor All Carpet and Seat Foaming Cleaner claims to be specially formulated to remove tough ground-in dirt, grease and grime without drying out or fading delicate surfaces.

Shake well before use, then spray directly onto the surface you want to clean. Allow time for the product to penetrate. 

For fabrics, scrub with a damp cloth or sponge, but do not allow the product to dry on the surface and rinse spills and runoffs.

Did we find Armor All lifted a variety of stains during our rigorous testing? Check out our full review by logging in or becoming a member of Which? today. 

Astonish Specialist Premium Edition Carpet & Upholstery Stain Remover

Astonish Specialist Premium Edition Carpet & Upholstery Stain Remover

Cheapest price: £2.99 available from Robert Dyas. Also available from Amazon, Astonish, Ocado

Size: 750ml

Key features: Spray bottle, slight foaming, lotus flower scent, on/off nozzle

Astonish claims this product is a powerful stain remover that loosens and lifts away dirt, while still being gentle on fabrics. 

First, gently dab, brush or vacuum excess mess from fabric. Spray the stain and dab with a sponge or cloth. 

Pat dry with a clean cloth or sponge and vacuum the area when it's completely dry. 

To see our full review of how well this stain remover worked, log into your account or join Which? today.

Dr Beckmman Carpet Stain Remover

Dr Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover

Cheapest price: £2.79 available at ASDA, B&M, Tesco. Also available at Sainsbury's, Wilko

Size: 650ml

Key features: Comes with a brush

Dr Beckmann claims its stain remover eliminates tough stains and odours with its powerful oxy formula. 

Before first use, unscrew the brush head, pierce a small hole in the seal of about 2mm in diameter (do not remove the seal as that prevents over-saturation of your fabric). 

Screw the brush head on again, taking care not to over tighten. Remove loose dirt and blot up any spills. Shake the bottle and gently squeeze it to moisten the brush. 

Apply by holding the bottle so the brush is flat against the stain, then work the formula lightly into the stain. Do not soak the stain; let the foam do the work. 

Leave for three minutes, then remove all residue with a damp cloth. Repeat if necessary. Rinse the brush cap after every use.

What did our researchers think of this stain remover and its brush? To find out and to see the rest of the results, log into your account now, or join Which? today.

Ecover Stain Remover

Ecover Stain Remover

Cheapest price: £3 available from Amazon, Ecover Direct, Ocado, Waitrose

Size: 200ml

Key features: Comes with a brush, cleaning gel

Ecover says its stain remover will brush away tough stains with its specially designed applicator that helps to target even the most stubborn of marks. 

First, moisten the fabric with water, then apply the liquid to stain sparingly, working in the liquid with the brush. Hand wash afterwards.

How did this plant-based stain remover fare during our tests? To see our full review login or join Which? now. 

Furniture Clinic Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner Spray

Furniture Clinic Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner Spray

Cheapest price: £12.70 available from Amazon, also available at Furniture Clinic

Size: 500ml

Key features: Spray bottle, on/off nozzle

Furniture Clinic claims its stain removing spray is perfect for all types of fabrics. In our investigation, we tested all the products against cotton and wool blend fabrics. 

For best results, it says to treat stains promptly and blot or scrape up any excess. Test in an unseen area first and never rub. Instead, always blot the stain. 

Spray the cleaner onto the stained area and gently agitate it using a clean cloth. Leave for 15 minutes before cleaning up. 

This is the most expensive product in our line-up. Were we impressed with Furniture Clinic? To find out the results of all our tested products, log in or join Which? today.

Guardsman Fabric & Carpet Stain Remover Spray

Guardsman Fabric & Carpet Stain Remover Spray

Cheapest price: £12.98 available from Amazon

Size: 500ml

Key features: Spray bottle, on/off nozzle

Guardsman says using its products means no rubbing, scrubbing or hassle. 

Before using this product, test on a hidden area to ensure you are happy with the results. 

Shake well and spray directly onto the stained area. Blot, do not rub, with a dampened cloth and then allow to dry. 

Repeat the steps if necessary until the stain is removed.

Did we find this product to be as easy to use as claimed and is it worth the price? To find out, log in or join Which? now.

HG Stain Spray Extra Strong

HG Stain Spray Extra Strong

Cheapest price: £6 available from Tesco. Also available from Homebase, Amazon, Robert Dyas

Size: 500ml

Key features: Spray bottle, on/off nozzle

HG says its stain spray is incredibly effective and removes even the most stubborn stains. 

Completely spray the surface and leave it to penetrate for a few minutes.

Wipe off the stain with a clean, absorbent cloth. 

To see whether this stain remover is worth storing in case of any spills, log into your account or join Which? today.

Shout Triple-Acting Stain Removing Spray

Shout Triple-Acting Stain Removing Spray

Cheapest price: £2 available from Sainsbury's. Also available from Ocado

Size: 500ml

Key features: Spray bottle, on/off nozzle

Shout is a popular stain-removing brand, and this spray claims to have stain-fighting ingredients that mean you can treat stains now and wash up to a week later.

To use cover the stain with a few sprays, then rub in. Leave for one to five minutes and then wash in the warmest water that's safe for the fabric. 

Was Shout something to shout about? Check out our full review by logging into your account now, or join Which? today.

Stardrops Pink Stuff Stain Remover Spray

Stardrops Pink Stuff Stain Remover Spray

Cheapest price: £1 available from Amazon. Also available from Ocado, Wilko

Size: 500ml

Key features: Spray bottle, on/off nozzle

Stardrops says its laundry oxi stain remover is tough on stains but gentle on fabrics, as well as being suitable for vegans.

Spray on both sides of the stain and leave for no longer than five minutes. Then hand or machine wash as normal, following the fabric care instructions. 

It's the cheapest of the branded products in our test, but how did it compare? Log in to your account or join Which? now to read our full review. 

stain remover home remedies

Need more help maintaining your furniture? Take a look at our guide to how to clean your sofa 


Best stain remover home remedies 

As well as testing commercial products, we also tried out some of the most commonly suggested home remedies we found on the internet as you can see in our video. 

Of course, not all home remedies work on every type of stain. Here is a breakdown of the home remedies we tested and what we tested them on. 

Home remedy
What we tested it on
Baking soda
All stains - red wine, curry, chocolate, tomato ketchup and blood
Lemon juiceAll stains - red wine, curry, chocolate, tomato ketchup and blood
Washing-up liquid
All stains - red wine, curry, chocolate, tomato ketchup and blood
White vinegar
Blood and curry stains
SaltRed wine, blood and curry stains
Meat tenderiser powder
Blood stains only

We found all these home remedies worked, although some worked better than others. Find out how each home remedy fared below.


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Washing-up liquid

Editor's Choice: Washing-up liquid

Easily the best home remedy we found. This method cleaned up everything, quickly and easily. The only downside was the amount of elbow grease you needed. 

Stain types: Red wine, curry, chocolate, tomato ketchup and blood

Preparation and usage: Squirt a small amount of washing-up liquid onto the stain and leave for about 20 seconds. 

Then with a cloth, hot water and plenty of muscle, work the liquid into the fabric. 

You may need to wash the fabric in the washing machine as well, but you should find it's as good as new afterwards.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Stain types: Red wine, curry, chocolate, tomato ketchup and blood

Preparation and usage: Make a thick paste with baking soda and a little water and apply to the stain. 

Leave to work for a bit and then use plenty of elbow grease. 

On tougher stains, you may need to do this more than once, but you should see a stark difference even after the first application.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice

Stain types: Red wine, curry, chocolate, tomato ketchup and blood

Preparation and usage: For this home remedy, you want to coat the stain with lemon juice and leave it for 30 minutes, before popping it into the washing machine. 

Lemon juice can bleach, so it's best to only use this method on white fabric you can wash in the washing machine. 

White vinegar

White vinegar

Stain types: Curry and blood

Preparation and usage: Mix some vinegar with warm water and then apply to the stained fabric with a cloth. 

Once you've seen the stain fade away, you will need to put the fabric in the washing machine to get rid of the strong vinegar smell. 

Salt

Salt

Stain types: Red wine, curry and blood

Preparation and usage: Pour enough salt to completely cover the stain, and then leave it for 15 minutes. Wipe away with a damp cloth. 

Avoid using salt on delicate fabrics as the granules can pull on them and cause damage. 

Meat tenderiser powder

Meat tenderiser powder

Stain types: Blood

Preparation and usage: First, using a cloth or sponge, dampen the stain with water. 

Apply the powder and leave for 30 minutes. Then wipe away with a damp cloth. 

Before and after cleaned with meat tenderiser powder, blood on wool

How to remove bloodstains from fabric

blood stain

Meat tenderiser powder works by breaking down the proteins in meat, which helps to give you a more tender steak. 

This same process can be used to break down protein-based stains such as blood or vomit. 

In our fabric stain remover tests we found meat tenderiser powder to be the most effective product for removing bloodstains. 

If you aren't sure where to find meat tenderiser powder, it can often be picked up in the world food aisle of most major supermarkets.

How we tested fabric stain removers

Fabric stain remover tests

Each product from our selection was tested against each type of stain on cotton blend and wool blend fabric. 

According to our research, these are two of the most common sofa and cushion covers in the UK.

We used red wine, curry, tomato ketchup, melted chocolate and beef blood to create the stains, which were left to dry on the fabric for 10 hours. 

Cleaning

Each product had up to five chances to remove the stain. The more chances it needed the worse it was considered to have done. 

The best products from our test were able to remove the stains in one attempt, while the worst needed all five. 

Odour, bleaching and texture of the fabric 

Once the stain had been removed our researchers considered the condition of the fabric. 

The best products left the fabric in as good a condition as they were before they were stained. 

We found no evidence of bleaching from any of the commercial products.

How we picked these fabric stain removers

When choosing the fabric stain removers for this test each product had to meet the following selection criteria:

  • One product per brand
  • Must be sold by at least one of Britain's leading retailers
  • Must be designed to remove stains from fabrics or upholstery

We bought all the products we tested.