Portable Stain Solutions

Woman's Day

See which editor-tested products did the best damage control for spills on the go.

Whether it's a drop of wine, splash of coffee or splat of marinara sauce, nothing can ruin your day faster than an unsightly stain on your clothes. Luckily, there are easy-to-carry products available that are designed to help remove stains—or minimize their effects until you get a chance to launder the item. From the pen-size Tide to Go to individually-wrapped Shout Wipes, the stain solutions listed below have been rated based on stain removal effectiveness, ease of use and our overall impression of the products, and then ranked them based on the average of all three scores. Read on to find out how these popular spot-shrinkers fared in our tests.

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1. Shout Wipes

Score: 5

What WD had to say: Not only did our tester think this product was great at removing stains quickly, she also said it was very convenient to store in her purse. "The wipes are individually wrapped so they are easy to carry, no issues with leaks or anything like that," she said. She tested them on two types of stains (coffee and pizza grease) and had good things to say about both results. "I was very impressed with the product; it literally wiped both stains away. It's a definite must-have not only for day-to-day use, but also for traveling."

2. Grandma's Secret Spot Remover

Score: 4.8

What WD had to say: Our tester was very pleased with this product, saying it was easy to use and incredibly effective. "When I remembered I had a hot-pink lipstick stain on one of my favorite shirts (which I absentmindedly left on there for more than three weeks), I was skeptical this product would work. Not only did it take the lipstick stain right off, but it only required a few drops and a little rubbing, then the stain was gone," she said. She added that the 2-oz bottle (about the size of an eye drop bottle) wasn't too cumbersome to carry around in her purse, though she preferred to keep it in her desk drawer at work.

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3. Dryel on the Go

Score: 4.5

What WD had to say: This product really impressed our tester, both for its stain removal effectiveness and its handy size, which resembles that of a marker. "While it didn’t completely remove a red wine stain, it worked like a charm on coffee and has removed plenty of small stains in the past for me. I’ve even used it on old stains and it has removed them as well. If it didn’t leave the red wine stain a bit gray it would get a higher score, though I will definitely continue to use it."

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4. Clorox 2 Stain Fighter Pen

Score: 4.4

What WD had to say: Our tester was impressed with this product, which is also around the size of a marker, but didn't think it would be something she'd carry around with her since it's a pretreatment option rather than a stain remover. "My score is largely based on the fact that even though it's meant to pretreat stains, it still took out 90% of a coffee stain on the spot," she said, adding that to completely remove the stain, she had to wash the shirt.


5. Tide to Go

Score: 4

What WD had to say: Much to our tester's delight, Tide to Go removed a variety of tough stains, including coffee and red wine. "It almost completely removed the coffee from my white T-shirt, and once it dried on the wine, you wouldn't have even known I spilled something." And considering how compact it is—around the size and shape of a pen—she said she would have no problem carrying it around in her purse. However, the one downside she found was that the cap came off too easily, causing the product to dry out quickly.

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6. Wine Away

Score: 4

What WD had to say: This portable spray, which comes in a 2-oz bottle, did remove a red wine stain from our tester's carpet, which she simply blotted out once the solution sat on the stain for a few minutes. "This product is an impressive solution that fulfills its promise to eliminate typically difficult-to-remove red wine stains," she said. However, because it's designed to pretreat stains on clothing—rather than remove them—she didn’t think it was a practical on-the-go solution, adding, "it doesn’t make much sense to carry around a stain treatment that's only targeted to one type of stain."


7. Resolve Stain Stick

Score: 3.5

What WD had to say: A stain treatment stick about the size of a deodorant canister, this product is designed to pretreat a stain as soon as it happens. Though it was very easy to use (just rub it on the stain before washing the garment in hot water), our reviewer was not that impressed with the results. The formula had no immediate effect on the stain and, after she washed the clothing item, "the stain wasn't completely removed, it was just faded," she said. "If you looked closely, you could see that a stain of chocolate ice cream was still there." Finally, the product was too large to carry around in her purse—though she could see its benefits if it were packed in her luggage when traveling.

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