In general, laundry detergent uses surfactants to loosen and lift dirt, grease, and grime from fabrics so water can rinse them away. A laundry stain remover spray works similarly, but it also uses multiple techniques at once to get the job done, depending on the stain itself. Let’s talk about the science of laundry stain removers below.

Lifts and rinses stains

Like regular laundry detergent, this stain remover technique uses surfactants or emulsifiers to surround the molecule in a stain and lift it off the surface. A surfactant allows water to wet fabrics better, making it easier to release stain molecules and wash them away.

Surfactants work particularly well on greasy stains, like oil or butter. Soap and sulfonates are common surfactant ingredients in stain removers.

Dissolves stains

A laundry stain remover spray can also work as a solvent. A “solvent” is any fluid that dissolves another chemical, hence its name. Alcohol is a common element in stain removers, which can act as a solvent for water-based and oil-based stains. For example, a tough water-based wood stain can be treated with an alcohol-like acetone.

A good rule of thumb is “like dissolves like.” Choose a solvent chemically similar to your stain to treat it. A water-based stain can be treated with club soda, while an oily stain might be treated with rubbing alcohol. Of course, a laundry stain remover spray can usually treat even the most stubborn of stains.

Breaks down stains

Another stain remover technique uses enzymes or oxidizers to “eat” stain molecules. Just as the food you eat is digested and broken down in your body, enzymes in stain removers can break down the proteins in stains into smaller chunks. Once broken down, the smaller fragments can be washed away.

Stubborn, protein-based stains can fall into this category: grass stains, chocolate stains, or bloodstains. That’s why oxidizers like chlorine bleach and peroxide can remove tough stains like these.

Bleaches stains

The last stain remover technique may not actually remove the stain, but hide it or “whiten” it! Whitening agents in a stain remover might oxidize molecules so they don’t appear so dark. Or, they may contain materials that reflect light, making them appear whiter. This technique is used in many stain removers, not to clean the fabric, but to help the stain look less noticeable.

Choose Charlie’s Soap laundry stain remover spray

The best kind of laundry stain remover spray can tackle all sorts of stains — without damaging your fabrics or fading colors. Charlie’s Soap has an environmentally friendly laundry stain remover spray that’s tough on the most stubborn of stains.

Spray the Charlie’s Soap formula on a stain, let it sit for 30 minutes or longer, then toss it into your washing machine! If our safer for the environment, biodegradable Pre-Spray Stain Remover plus laundry detergent doesn’t remove the stain, buy a pair of scissors because that is the only way it’s coming out! Pick up Charlie’s Soap Laundry Pre-Spray Stain Remover today!