We Tried Good Housekeeping’s Number-One Stain Remover — And It Works Just as Well as We Hoped

published Nov 15, 2022
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Credit: Erika Tracy

Clothing stains are a casualty of life — especially life in the kitchen, and especially around the holidays. And while wearing an apron can certainly help shield your favorite sweatshirt, grease splatters, wine spills, and accidental run-ins with the wrong side of a Sharpie happen — which is why having a go-to stain remover on hand is critical.

So when, a few months ago, Good Housekeeping granted one product the title of best overall stain fighter, we knew we had to give it a try.

Here’s What Happened When I Tried Carbona Pro Laundry Care Stain Scrubber

GH tested 37 total stain removers, and Carbona Pro Laundry Care Stain Scrubber got the highest score. The formula, which contains enzymes that help lift proteins, tannins, and oil stains from fabrics, is safe to use on almost all your laundry. Notably, it was the only stain remover to totally erase ink stains and noticeably lighten red food coloring stains. And the product design is useful, too: The rubber applicator top works as a gentle tool for scrubbing out stains and working the product into the fabric.

The glowing review was enough to convince me I needed this stain remover in my life — and pronto.

I tested it out on three stains in total: an old oil stain on my favorite purple sweatshirt, plus a sharpie stain and a ballpoint ink pen stain on my son’s light blue T-shirt. I followed the instructions exactly, squeezing the bottle to release the product on the stain, then scrubbing it with the brush on the end. I saw the ballpoint ink disappear pretty much right away, but the Sharpie and oil stains were still visible as the gel set in. 

According to the product label, you can leave the product on the fabric for up to 10 minutes, depending on how bad the stains are. I went for the full 10 minutes in hopes of getting the best results. Then, I put the two items in a normal load of laundry and hoped for the best. I’ve owned several iterations of the purple sweatshirt, and stain removers have discolored most of them, so I was curious to see what would happen. 

An hour later, when the laundry was done, I checked the pieces over. The pen mark was totally gone, the Sharpie remained, and it was hard to see if the oil stain was still there when the piece was wet, so I tossed all three items into the dryer.

The result was right in line with the test performed by Good Housekeeping! The Sharpie mark was still visible, which didn’t surprise me — Amodex is the only stain remover that has ever completely erased permanent marker for me — but the pen mark totally disappeared, and so did the oil mark (and with no discoloration).

Yes, I Would Definitely Recommend Carbona Pro Laundry Care Stain Scrubber

For run-of-the-mill stains and tougher-to-tackle grease spots, I’d definitely recommend this product. As a bonus, it was really easy and kind of fun to use! The gel is the perfect texture — not too runny, and not too thick — so it’s easy to completely rub in. The bottle is a good size to hold in your hand, and you definitely get enough product for the price. I also loved the rubber applicator brush, because I didn’t have to get out a separate laundry brush to do a chore I dread. All in all, Carbona’s pro care stain scrubber gets a glowing review from me!