A consumer watchdog has put stain remover sprays to the test and found that cheaper products can sometimes deliver better results, while some sprays are less effective than plain, old-fashioned detergent.
A test of 20 stain remover sprays by consumer advocacy group Choice revealed that an Aldi spray beats many big brands, in both price and performance.
The stain removers were tested against 10 of the most common and difficult-to-remove stains, including sweat, grass, oil, blood and makeup.
Each stain is sprayed and left to sit for five minutes during testing. Everything is then washed using the same detergent. To see if the products are effective, Choice testers also run a test using no stain remover at all.
Aldi’s Di-San Pro Ultra Degreaser with Enzymes scored a Choice expert rating of 75%, coming second only to Sard Super Power Stain Remover Toughest Stains by one percentage point.
“The Aldi spray also outperformed Sard in some tests on stains such as tomato, collar grime and baby food,” Choice editorial director Mark Serrels said.
“Plus, it only costs 29 cents per 100mL, making it more than six times cheaper than its competitor.”
The Sard’s stain remover spray is priced at $1.90 per 100mL.
In third place on the consumer test was another Sard stain remover – Oils and Grime Stain Remover Expert Action. It was rated 71% and is priced at $1.90 per 100mL.
The Choice test also identified stain removers to avoid, including Sard Wonder Power Fizz Stain Remover, Planet Ark Orange Power Pre-Wash Stain Remover and Earth Choice Ultra Power Stain Remover. These all scored 59% and are the same as not using a stain remover, Choice argues.
“These stain removers did not perform any better than plain laundry detergent in our testing,” Serrels said.
“The most expensive of the three, Sard Wonder Power Fizz spray, was less effective than detergent when it came to removing just about every stain. This goes to show that price doesn’t always equal performance.”
The most expensive spray in the test – StainGo Stain Remover Spot and Prewash – scored just 64% overall at a price of $4.50 per 100mL. That’s 15 times more expensive than the Aldi product, for a worse performance, Choice says.
Choice also looked at which products are best for specific stains. For sweat, it recommends Sard Oils and Grime Stain Remover Expert Action spray, which scored 80% for this test.
For grass and mud stains, Choice recommends a home recipe, or the Aldi product, which scored 75% on this test. Sard’s Sweat and Deodorant Stain Remover scored 80%, but only 62% overall, making the Aldi product favourable.
Grease and oil stains are best beat using good old-fashioned dishwashing liquid, according to Choice. If you’re doing a pre-wash treatment anyway, it recommends the two top-scoring products to get the job done.