Vanish review – do stain removers really work?

It’s a good question isn’t it? Do stain removers really work? Well, read on for my Oxi-Action Powder review and find out…

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…

Vanish reviewFirst 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.

Vanish reviewThen 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?

And of course if you really can’t get rid of a stain then you can always cover it! Custom patches are a godsend here – a way to cover up stains and decorate your clothes at the same time.

Do you have a Vanish review you’d like to share? Do you think stain removers work?



  1. 2 September, 2012 / 11:19 am

    I’ve only ever used the powder Vanish but if the other types (gel etc) are as good as the powder then it’s all good! The dog’s danglies at getting stains out in fact and boy do we get some stains having 3 dogs in the house.

    • 3 September, 2012 / 9:41 am

      It really was a surprise for me that they do actually work! I think I need to become less cycnical about marketing!

    • 2 June, 2015 / 4:54 am

      vaish sucks

      • Keith
        30 September, 2023 / 5:27 pm

        I use the original Vanish soap bar, and if you follow carefully the pre-wash instructions (pre-wet with cold water, apply the bar to the stain on both sides of the garment, and then — I add this for good measure — rub), then just throw it in with the rest of the laundry, it works like a dream. Particularly good with blood stains! Even old blood stains. Indeed, it’s like magic with blood! So no: Vanish (at least, the old and original version, and — very important — if used correctly according to the instructions) definitely does NOT suck!

  2. 2 September, 2012 / 11:54 am

    to get blood out rinse it while it is still wet blood then put either salt or baking soda over the area where the blood is and that is supposed to draw it out only tried it once but it worked

    • 3 September, 2012 / 9:40 am

      I think that was the problem – she didn’t realise her nose was bleeding in the night, so by morning it had dried on. Never mind, it was one of my ‘probably past its best about ten years ago’ pillowcases anyway :-)

      • Gabriela
        14 October, 2017 / 1:06 am

        To remove blood stains: cold water and soap first. Then wash normally. Even if it’s dry. If you use warm water, you set the protein part of the stain and then good luck getting rid of it.

      • Tracy
        12 April, 2023 / 1:42 am

        Hydrogen peroxide takes new and old blood stains out perfectly. Sometimes you need to apply to blood stain several times or soak it. Depending on how bad the blood stain is. I have used it on clothes, bed sheets and even carpeting it worked everytime.

  3. 2 September, 2012 / 12:04 pm

    I swear by the Vanish bar of soap. It lasts for donkey’s years – in fact I’ve had mine so long I’m not even sure Vanish still make them. I was especially impressed with the disappearing act of a huge ink stain from a favourite fabric handbag which I was about to throw out.

  4. 13 September, 2012 / 2:14 am

    Will it clean the bird poop stain that I just got down my shirt while dropping the kids off at school? Despite scrubbing and scrubbing with soap and water (leaving me to walk to the metro with a big wet splodge on my shirt), the poop remained.

    And it’s not lucky

  5. 9 November, 2012 / 8:29 pm

    To get blood out you have to soak in cold water only, even if it’s been dry for a couple of days it will still come out. Once you put warm water on it you’ve had it; something to do with the iron content in blood. Weird but true! As for other stains, plain old napisan makes the whites spotless and is way cheaper, as is baking soda and white vinegar – that gets anything out of even delicate fabrics.

  6. 18 May, 2013 / 3:15 pm

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    • Carole
      28 July, 2013 / 5:21 pm

      Vanish is a load of expensive rubbish. Would certainly not recommend. Used many times absolutely no difference could not even remove a tea stain

  10. Carole
    28 July, 2013 / 5:18 pm

    Vanish is a load of expensive rubbish. Would certainly not recommend. Used many times absolutely no difference could not even remove a tea stain

  11. geeta
    11 May, 2014 / 10:48 am

    Does’t remove any stains.I used vanish liquid to remove stain but my top burns where I applied that liquid.

  12. 30 July, 2014 / 11:45 am

    Hey! This iis mmy 1st comment here so I jusst wanted to give a quick shoout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you recommend anyy other blogs/websites/forums tjat deal with the same subjects?
    Thank you!

  13. Moods
    1 August, 2014 / 2:03 pm

    Well in my experience with VANISH…it was absolutely…’ RUBBISH & A Waste Of Time and money…’..i used the liquid on FIVE football shirts with stains on..e’g’..sauce,fat splash,ect….NOT AN OUNCE OF DIFFERENCE after washing TWICE…..if you have any tips i’ll be mopre than happy to give them a go…sorry to sound so grumpy but that’s how i see it….Moods

  14. 26 December, 2014 / 9:47 am

    Has regards vanish you need to treat BOTH sides such as spraying the fabric both sides prior to wash and you need to SHAKE the bottle SPRAY LEAVE FOR 15 mins AND INTO THE WASHER lots of moaners about this product simpy don’t follow the manufacturer instructions !!!!

  15. 18 April, 2016 / 2:02 am

    I need to get Vanish right away. It’s great to know that it works.

  16. Guy
    27 May, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    Vanish is epic.

  17. Stephanie
    2 October, 2016 / 7:13 am

    The simplest way to remove blood stains is to wash them out with cold water, nothing else. Even dry blood washes out easily. If necessary, you can then use the stain remover, while the patch is still wet. Always in that order! Works like a charm!

  18. Elizabeth
    25 April, 2017 / 4:44 am

    Does anyone know how to remove colourstains on white clothes

  19. Jennifer
    14 June, 2017 / 1:30 am

    It does not work at all. I have now bought normal vanish for whites, and vanish Oxi gold for colours as well. I have bought powders and sprays. This product is absolutely rubbish. My granddaughter is in between nappies and panties and often soils her panties. I can soak them in vanish – nothing vanishes – I can apply it neat to the wetted garment, in powder form, rubbed it in well, or I can spray it with the spray, tried wet and dry garment – still – nothing. I have lots of clothing with lots of bolognese sauce stains and cooking fat. I cook a LOT. Tried that, the stains are still are after many attempts. What a rip off. When I do a very hot towel, (kitchen towels also included), wash, they come out exactly the same as they were before. The only plus Vanish has, is the smell. It smells very good. But we need our clothes to LOOK good as well. Back to the bleach I go for whites, albeit it does not smell good. – but works. And costs a fraction of the price of Vanish.

    • Ane Bailey
      27 March, 2018 / 11:27 am

      For poo stains wash off poo with cold water, really rinse it away then rub in normal washing liquid for whites or colours depending on what it is, then put it in the way hey presto! Bleaching in the sun is also perfect for food and poo stains removal x

  20. 14 May, 2018 / 4:35 am

    I have bought Vanish but i see it expensive but not effective

  21. Chris Dopson
    30 June, 2020 / 5:43 pm

    I have tried Vanish Oxi Action and it doesn’t work on dried in stains. You will pay a lot of money for something that in fact is all about a TV advert

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