In the Slummy single mummy guide to housework, stain removal does not feature highly. I’m so busy throwing crumbs behind the sofa and hiding dishes in cupboards that I just don’t have the time for soaking my whites. I don’t even separate the whites in my washing. Come on.
I’ve always had this idea that stain removers, along with other household things like carpet cleaners and weed killers, don’t actually work – they’re just one of those myths, like anti-wrinkle creams. We know they can’t ever do what they say on the tin, but we really want them to, so we buy them anyway.
That was before though. Before Vanish asked me to actually try their stain removers, rather than just scoff at them in the supermarket. It has been quite a revelation. They’re not foolproof, but this is my honest account of how I’ve got on…
First I tried it out on our white towels, which normally end up pretty grimy, covered in mascara and Dove’s ‘gradual self-tanner’, (which I discovered just makes you all smeary and then comes straight off on your towel). For some reason, my towel had also acquired some strange blue stains in patches all over it, that looked like Belle might have secretly used it to clean up an ink spillage.
With a scoop of Oxi-Action Powder in the wash, they came out lovely and white, although to be fair, my mascara usually does anyway, as it’s pretty cheap and not waterproof. Still, the mystery blue stains came out too, which was pretty impressive.
Next, a real test. I’ve got this one jumper that I’ve had for years. For the last six months though it has been annoying me – every time I put it on, I remember that it has a faint spaghetti Bolognese stain right in the middle on the front. Every time I go to wear it, I end up putting it straight back in the washing basket, washing it, drying it, hanging it back up, and the whole process starts again. I was pretty excited then to think it might actually disappear. And do you know what? With a bit of Vanish gel on it for ten minutes before the wash, it did! As if by magic! Poof! Nice.
Then Boyfriend tried it out on his dress shirt, which, like me and my jumper, he keeps putting on and forgetting has stains on it. This he soaked beforehand, in warm water with a scoop of the Oxi-Action Powder and it came out lovely sparkly white.
In the process of soaking, we also discovered that Vanish is excellent for getting rid of stains in white ceramic sinks. Seriously, our kitchen sink has never looked so clean. Top tip there for you.
The one thing it didn’t manage to get rid of was blood stains. Belle had a little middle-of-the-night nose bleed, and although we tried the next morning rubbing Vanish gel in pre-wash, and then using it in the machine too, it wouldn’t shift it. In a way though, I find this sort of comforting. You wouldn’t want a murder scene to be rendered spotless with a quick wipe round with the Vanish would you?