I’m happy to repeat the same outfit over and over again when I’m traveling, if only to eliminate the stress of packing. But I also have a tendency to spill coffee on myself, no matter where I am, and there are few feelings more icky than being forced to wear the same once-white T-shirt every day for a week because it’s the only shirt you brought. That’s why an on-the-go stain remover is as essential to my carry-on as a toothbrush. And in my opinion as a perennially stained human who’s always looking to make a limited travel wardrobe last as long as possible, the best packable stain remover is the Spray ‘n Wash Pre-Treat Stain Stick.
Unlike other portable stain removers, the Spray ‘n Wash Pre-Treat Stain Stick is a solid, similar in size and shape to a stick of deodorant. The smart design means I can toss this stain remover in my carry-on without getting hassled by the TSA. (I actually leave it in my luggage between trips, confident that the solid formula won’t dry out before I need it and that it’ll be there when I do.)
I should acknowledge here that the way I use the Spray ‘n Wash Pre-Treat Stain Stick isn’t strictly on-label usage, since it is, as the name suggests, technically a stain pretreatment. But I’ve found that it’s also an effective overnight stain remover. Immediately after a stain happens, I rub the product onto the spot and the fabric, and let it sit for as long as possible. Before I go to sleep, I’ll wash the product out in the sink with cold water, wring it out, and let it dry. When I wake up, the stain has lifted and the clothing is ready to wear again, with no one the wiser.
My stain-stick-plus-hotel-sink laundry method has eliminated most food stains and those yellow rings of sweat and makeup that inevitably appear on my shirt collars. But even if I can only get the spots to fade, rather than completely disappear, applying the Spray ‘n Wash Pre-Treat Stain Stick at least makes me confident that once I get home and have the chance to throw those clothes in the laundry, my vacation stains will be gone for good.
Other Cleaning Products We Stand Behind
According to writer Carson Griffith, Lestoil — a thick, goopy multipurpose cleaning product that looks like castor oil and smells like a gas pump — works wonders, even when you don’t have time to do laundry. Read more about it here.
One of the best ecofriendly stain removers out there, Biokleen’s most well-known product has an enzyme that breaks down odors, but also removes stains like chocolate and wine. Read more about our other favorite ecofriendly cleaning products here.
Writer Brennan Kilbane tipped us off to this cleaning hack: Home Spray, from the Laundress, that’s essentially dry shampoo for upholstery, bedding, curtains, basically any fabric tainted by your filthy life — and wool and cashmere. Read more about it here.
Claire Mazur, Of a Kind founder and recent What I Can’t Live Without–er, sold us on this: “It’s an all-natural cleaning spray for counters, and you use it in the kitchen and bathroom. My apartment is so small that anything you spray on the counters gets sprayed on the fruit bowl and utensils, so it’s important that it’s not, like, poison. It also just smells phenomenal. It’s got this citrus scent because of the neroli, and it doesn’t even smell like a cleaner. It’s more like a candle or room spray. We use it in the office, and whenever someone comes in, they’re like, ‘What is that?’”
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