When dealing with tricky stains, having the right spot removers and laundry detergents on hand is essential. That's because, as a rule, the faster you treat them the better chance your clothes will emerge from your washer-dryer stain free. So, if you're ready to stock up on the best laundry detergents for stains, then you've come to the right place.
What makes for a good detergent for spots and stains? First, most will feature stain-fighting ingredients specifically in their formulas. Far and away, the best laundry detergents for fighting difficult stains are made by Tide. Their 'Tide Plus' line of detergents has a few stand-out options for fighting stains, and some that take it one step further to eliminate those, let's say, unpleasant odors that come with set-in stains.
However, for the most cost-effective solution you're better off with a non-name-brand stain-fighting detergent. And, if you know you are prone to sensitivity when your detergent has excess chemicals or fragrances, opt for an all-natural detergent that's hypoallergenic and fragrance free.
Keep in mind that some set-in stains won't come out with a simple detergent. With dry or hardened stains, you should really be pre-treating your clothes with a concentrated stain remover before you put them in the washer. But, don't stress, you'll find some great pre-treating solutions for truly tough stains below, as well.
Let's get to it. Below, the best laundry detergents for stains.
1. The Best Overall, All Things Considered
For set-in spills, this Tide plus ultra stain release detergent is the way to go. This detergent boasts six times the stain-fighting power of the leading bargain option, and even works faster on your clothes than the detergent sitting on your shelf at home. The bottle's design even has a scrubber built into its top, so you can double down on pre-treating your stains before you run them through the wash. This option comes in Tide's "original scent," which is formulated with aloe and light floral notes and will leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean.
What fans say: "This is my favorite Tide so far! I have even gotten out the worst set in stains from some of mine and my son's clothes. I didn't even need to use the top of the lid scrubber thingy...lol. It works really well!"
2. The Runner Up
If you're dealing with stains and odors, this Tide plus Febreze sport detergent is your best bet. Not only does it have the same stain-fighting power of the overall best option above, but it also keeps your clothes fresh for longer with Febreze baked into its formula. While this specific detergent is designed for high-efficiency washers, they also make a version for standard washing machines. With over 2,000 reviews and a 4.3-star Amazon rating, this strong detergent is a stand-out favorite of launderers everywhere.
What fans say: "I have two kids, and their clothes have had most every childhood bodily function on them. Tide gets out dirt, grass stains, pee, poop, vomit, spit up, food, etc, etc, etc. I used to use a cheaper brand of detergent, but now that I've seen how much better Tide is at getting out stains, I'll never go back. It's worth the extra money to only have to do a load of laundry once."
3. The Most Affordable
At just $0.10 a load, this affordable detergent is the best if you're on a budget. It's also formulated with stain-fighting enzymes that powerfully remove spots and are safe on clothes of all colors. Even better, you can use this detergent in both regular and high-efficiency (HE) washing machines. With a glowing, 4.5-star rating on Amazon, this laundry detergent will come in clutch when your next spill occurs.
What fans say: "I have to say I was blown away by this detergent. I really fell in love with the smell. It removes stains and cleans clothes very well."
4. The Best All-Natural
Now, it's important to note: All-natural laundry detergents, like this one from Puracy, are slightly less effective on stains that some of the other options on this list. But, this Puracy detergent is a fan-favorite natural option that is hypoallergenic, phosphate- and sulfate-free, and even has a four enzyme formula designed to fight stains. Some reviewers also recommend using it in conjunction with their powerful stain remover spray when dealing with difficult, set-in stains. Over 1,000 reviewers have weighed in, and say this is the best natural, non-toxic product on the market.
What fans say: "I went to a party the night after getting my first bottle. Of course someone splashed red wine on my white stretch jeans. But it was down around the hem, so I didn't notice until the next morning. I put a small amount directly on the stain as suggested on the label, and washed the pants with my other whites as usual. STAIN GONE!"
5. The Best Pods
Pods can take a lot of the mess out of doing laundry, and these Tide detergent pacs have a powerful four-in-one formula for fighting stains. The pods works like this: First, the pre-treater and stain remover work together to tackle spots, then the detergent cleans your clothes, and finally the color protector ensures your clothes emerge from the washer looking as bright and fresh as when they went in. Best of all, these pods can be safely used in both high-efficiency and standard washing machines, and boast an impressive 4.5-star rating on Amazon.
What fans say: "This detergent is absolutely amazing! My husband is a automotive mechanic and he gets all kinds of stuff on his uniforms. On one occasion he knealt down on our brand new, pristine white bath mats and proceeded to get black grease all over them I washed them with Tide OXI 4in1 and it completely took out the stains without the aid of bleach!! I was in shock! I’ve never in the 10+ years I’ve been cleaning my husbands clothes or stains had a detergent perform so well!! Don’t sleep on this detergent!"
You May Also Want: A Stain-Removing Powder For Pre-Treating Clothes
If you've tried everything to no avail, this powder stain remover has a cult-following of fans who say this saved clothes they were considering throwing away. While this isn't technically a laundry detergent, it operates similarly. Just add one scoop of it to 2 to 4 gallons of water and soak your clothes for a few hours before washing. Then pop them in the washer, and add one more scoop to the drum of a top-loading washer along with your detergent. Even better, this OxiClean powder can be added to other cleaning solutions to help spruce up the rest of your house, as well.
What fans say: "This is the best product get stains and odors out of your laundry. I use it as a pre soak and in the wash. Along with getting pet stains out. I love this 156 load size! It is a huge value."
You May Also Want: A Stain-Removing "Pak" That Boosts Your Laundry Detergent
Don't give up all hope without trying these stain-fighting power paks. They're formulated with an activated oxygen to powerfully reach into the fibers of your clothes and remove any stains. These packs are safe on both colored and white clothing, and couldn't be simpler to use. All you have to do is add one of these in your laundry with your existing detergent, and they'll work together to lift even the most stubborn stains away.
What fans say: "When they say 2-in-1 stain fighter paks they mean it. I had a couple of tops that I had spilled something on so I decided I would give them a try instead of soaking them before a wash. I was amazed how good they came out of the washer. I'm sold on these things no matter what they cost. My laundry has never looked so bright and clean. I highly recommend you give these a try."
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