Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover has joined Shout Wipes Plus Stain Treater Towelettes and Janie Dry Stick Spot Cleaner in the lineup of clean-on-the-run products. All aim to clean clothes while you’re wearing them, providing help in an “oops” moment. Unfortunately, they worked well on very few stains.
How they work. With Tide to Go, you rub the pen’s tip gently across a stain, which leaves your clothes damp.
You unfold the Shout towelette and apply it to a stain, from edges to center. It foams and leaves your clothes quite wet.
With Janie, you rub the dry, chalklike stick on a stain to absorb it, then wait 3 minutes and brush away leftover powder.
Tide and Shout say they’re safe on most colorfast washable or dry-cleanable fabrics; Janie, on any fabric and color.
How we tested. We took the five stains on which Tide says it “works well” (tomato juice, ketchup, barbecue sauce, grape juice, and coffee) and placed them on five fabrics (cotton, polyester/ cotton, silk, silky polyester, and wool). Because your stains may not be limited to those five, we also stained cotton swatches with 23 other substances, such as A.1. Steak Sauce and yellow mustard. Then we put each product to work.
What we found. To sum up, when faced with a total of 48 stained swatches, Tide completely removed the stain only six times; Shout, only 13 times; and Janie, zero times, even though it claims to leave a “like new appearance.” Tide was successful with coffee, ketchup, tomato juice, New England clam chowder, and V8 juice on cotton, and tomato juice on wool. Shout worked on all those stains plus egg white on cotton, grape juice and ketchup on poly/cotton and silky polyester, and barbecue sauce and tomato juice on silky polyester.
CR’s take. The chances of completely removing a stain are so-so with Shout Wipes Plus, slightly worse with Tide To Go, and remote with Janie. Shout foams on fabric and is apt to wet your clothes. Tide wets less, which could prove slightly less embarrassing if you’re out in public. Forget about Janie.