Best Stain Remover
Talk It Over
What kinds of things stain your clothes? How do you get stains out? Do some stain removers work better than others?
- Old white T-shirt
- Large, shallow pan
- Purple grape juice
- Masking tape
- Waterproof marker or ballpoint pen
- Staple gun and staples
- Cookie sheet
- Possible stain removers to test, such as laundry detergent, bath soap, dishwashing liquid, bleach, or commercial stain removal preparations
- From the T-shirt, cut square pieces 10 cm x 10 cm (4" x 4"). Cut a piece for each stain removal preparation you want to test, plus two extras.
- Put the pieces of T-shirt in the pan. Spread them out. Pour in enough purple grape juice to cover them. Stir them well, so that all the pieces get thoroughly soaked. Let them sit overnight.
- Remove the pieces and squeeze out the excess grape juice. Let the pieces dry completely.
- Using a waterproof marker or ballpoint pen, make masking tape labels for each stain removal product you want to test. Make two extra labels: "Water" and "Control." Staple the labels to the T-shirt pieces.
- Spread the pieces on a cookie sheet. Using a clean dropper, put 10 drops of water on the center of the piece labeled "Water." Put nothing on the "Control" piece.
- Using a clean dropper for each stain remover, put 10 drops of the product on the center of its labeled piece. If you are using a solid such as bar soap or a stain removal stick, rub a small amount onto the center of the piece. Allow all samples to dry.
- Put all the pieces in a pan of clear water. Soak overnight. Remove and allow to dry.
- Examine the spots in the centers of the pieces. Arrange the pieces in order, from the piece that shows the most stain removal to the piece that shows the least. (Compare the product pieces to the "Water" and "Control" pieces.) Assign numbers, using 1 for the best stain remover, 2 for the second best, and so on.
Ask an adult for help if you test bleach or any other strong household cleaner. Such products can burn your skin and sting your eyes. Handle droppers carefully. Wash and rinse them immediately after use.
Test a commercial stain remover against plain water. Describe the difference you see.
Test a variety of stain removal products using different stains. You might try ketchup, butter, grass stains, chocolate, and more. Test different fabrics such as wool, cotton, and polyester. Or, you might want to test different brands of laundry detergent for their stain-removing power.
Show Your Results
For "Go Easy," display your pieces, describe your results, and draw a conclusion about the stain-removal ability of the product you tested.
For "Go," display your samples in a table like this, putting the best stain remover at the top (rank 1) and the worst at the bottom:
|3 . . . and so on|
For Go Far, make a separate table for each of the stains, fabrics, or detergents you tested.
Tips and Tricks
Step 7 of the Go procedure makes this a fair test, because all the stain-removal preparations are subjected to the same treatment. You might want to try another experiment, though, following the manufacturers washing directions for each product and comparing the results.
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