Clothing Stain Removal Products

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Clothing Stain Removal Products

Our competitive review of four companies in the fabric stain remover space includes details on Church & Dwight, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, and S.C. Johnson. Descriptions of their product lines and competitive advantage are included for each.

Additionally, trends in the stain remover space, including a push toward both eco-friendly and hypoallergenic products, have been provided.

Competitive Landscape

  • Church & Dwight, along with Procter & Gamble are included as competitors as indicated in the feedback to the initial research. To identify the remaining two competitors to include, we looked for the companies that owned the brands that were identified as best by Consumer Reports, that operate in the U.S., and that were included as a key player on one, or both of the market reports identified in the initial research. This resulted in the inclusion of Reckitt Benckiser, which owns the Spray 'n Wash brand, and S.C. Johnson, which owns the Shout brand.

Church & Dwight

  • Church & Dwight is a consumer goods company with three brands in the laundry space including Arm & Hammer, OxiClean, and Xtra.
  • Arm & Hammer has the Laundry Booster Super Washing Soda which can be added to detergent to remove stains. The brand also has several products that have OxiClean built in as a stain booster including liquid, powder, and pak detergents.
  • OxiClean has 17 products that they identify as stain fighters. This includes three sprays (Laundry Stain Remover, Max Force, and Baby Stain Remover), six powders (including Versatile Stain Remover Free, Dark Protect, and Odor Blasters Versatile Stain and Odor Remover), one gel stick (Max Force Gel), four liquids (including White Reviv Bleach Alternative and Odor Blasters Odor & Stain Remover), one foam (Max Force Foam), and two paks (White Revive and Color Boost Color Brightener + Stain Remover). It does not appear that any of their product offerings are designed for on-the-go use.
  • Xtra does not have any standalone stain removal products, but does have a detergent with OxiClean included to boost the detergent's power.
  • In the stain removal space, one of Church & Dwight's competitive advantages is that their OxiClean brand is consistently included on lists of best stain removers such as the one from Consumer Reports, this one from The Spruce, and another from Your Best Digs. This is only a small sample of the lists that include OxiClean as a top product.
  • Additionally, OxiClean holds 6 of the top 10 spots in a list of best-selling stain fighter products on Amazon.

Procter & Gamble

  • Procter & Gamble (P&G) is a consumer goods company with 10 brands in the fabric care space: Ace, Ariel, Bounce, Cheer, Downy, Dreft, Era, Gain, Rindex, and Tide. Ace, Ariel, and Rindex appear to be brands that are not offered in the U.S. For the other brands only Dreft, and Tide appear to have stain removal products. However, both Era and Gain offer laundry detergents with oxiboosters for stain removal.
  • Dreft offers one on-the-go stain remover, the Portable Pretreater Pen, and one in-home option, Dreft Laundry Stain Remover. In general, Dreft products are designed for use on baby clothes.
  • Tide's only stain removal product, Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover, is an on-the-go option.
  • One of P&G's competitive advantages is that they hold the largest share of the North American detergent market, and Tide is one of the most used laundry brands in the U.S. This means that P&G and Tide are already top of mind for many consumers.
  • A study published in 2019 found that over 90% of consumers who considered them loyal to the P&G brand, were committed to continuing to buy Tide if they had purchased it in the past. Tide is also the P&G brand with the highest brand equity.

Reckitt Benckiser

  • Reckitt Benckiser is a consumer goods company that focuses on three sectors, hygiene, health, and nutrition. Although Spray 'n Wash is not shown on the main website as one of the company's brands, they are identified on the Spray 'n Wash website as owning the rights to the website.
  • Spray 'n Wash has four products: Pre-Treat Laundry Stain Remover Trigger, Max Pre-Treat Trigger, Stain Stick, and Refill.
  • The company also tries to position themselves as a resource by offering solutions for how to deal with certain stains, such as grass and blood, on their website.
  • One of the competitive advantages for Spray 'n Wash appears to be their pricing strategy. An examination of stain removers on Amazon finds that Spray 'n Wash is one of the lowest priced products which gives them an advantage with price sensitive consumers.

S.C. Johnson

  • S.C. Johnson is also a consumer goods company and they have 17 consumer brands and two professional brands in the U.S. The brands that offer laundry products are Mrs. Meyer's, method, ecover, Caldrea, babyganics, and Shout. Of these brands, method, ecover, babyganics, and Shout have stain remover products.
  • Method's stain remover with a built in brush does not contain any dyes or perfumes.
  • Ecover's stain remover is a stick, also has a built in brush, and uses a biodegradable formula.
  • Babyganics has two stain remover products, a spray and an on-the-go option. As the brand name implies, the products are designed to be used on baby clothes.
  • Shout offers five products designed to remove stains from clothes. There are three sprays (Triple-Acting, Free, and Advanced Trigger), one gel (Advanced Gel Brush), and one wipe (Wipe & Go). Wipe & go is the company's on-the-go offering.
  • One competitive advantage for the Shout brand is that they are often included on lists of the best stain removers. Examples are this list from Consumer Reports, this one from Bustle, and this one from the Chicago Tribune.
  • Another potential competitive advantage for Shout is that they offer a stain removal product, wipes, that is not offered by other key players in the space.

Stain Removal Trends

  • An in depth search of market reports, consumer brand websites, and news sites found there was very little reporting specific to the stain removal market in the U.S. or North America. Therefore, to find three trends, we had to expand our search to include the laundry care market overall, rather than focusing exclusively on the stain removal market. However, the first two trends found are specific to the stain remover market, while the last trend relates to the overall laundry care industry, but is also relevant to stain removers.
  • Although we can't be certain why the data specific to stain removers was not publicly available, it may be due to the overall market size being small as compared to the overall laundry care market in the U.S. In the initial hour of research it was estimated that the size of the North American stain remover market was about $6.48 billion. However, the U.S. laundry care market size in 2017 was $15.48 trillion. This means that stain remover products only represent less than .04% (6.48 billion/15.48 trillion), which could literally be described as a drop in the bucket.

Eco-Friendly Products

  • According to a market report by Grand View Research, moving toward eco-friendly products is a major consumer trend worldwide.
  • These products are ones without harsh chemicals, that will not cause disruptions and damage to the water supply when disposed of, or through water runoff when used for laundry care.
  • In addition to a push by consumers for these products, countries around the world are banning the use of chemicals that were used in the past, causing manufacturers to look for new options. For example, 1,4-Dioxane and phosphates are banned in the U.S., while nonylphenol ethoxylate is banned in Europe and Canada.
  • Unilever launched the Love Home and Planet brand in 2019, and it includes a line of laundry products.
  • Also in early 2019, Grove Collaborative launched their line of environmentally conscious laundry products. In addition to the product itself being eco-friendly, the product is sold in a reusable container with the goal of reducing the number of plastic containers that end up in landfills.

Ultrasonic Stain Remover Pens

  • The initial research found information on the AEG Ultrasonic Stain Remover Pen. Additional research on the product found it was touted as removing stains including mud, grass, food, wine, and lipstick.
  • Another example of an ultrasonic tool is the ViTUN 2.0 Ultrasonic Cleaning Pen. The device is portable and works by not allowing stains to set into the fabric.
  • Further research on this product actually found that they do not appear to be part of a trend in the stain removal space, as we only found these two devices, and no further reporting on their use.

Skin-Friendly Products

  • There is a growing demand by consumers for products that are skin-friendly, or hypoallergenic.
  • As skin conditions such as rashes caused by synthetic ingredients are on the rise, consumers are demanding products that will be gentle on their skin, which often means removing dyes and perfumes. In one study, 40% of consumers reported skin irritation from fabric stain removal products.
  • P&G launched its first natural product in 2016, Tide Purclean.
  • Shout also introduced a dye and fragrance-free stain remover, Shout Free.
  • Other hypoallergenic stain removers on the market include Baby Ecos, Attitude, WhipIt, and method.

Consumer Perceptions

  • As with trend data for stain remover products, research found very little publicly available data on consumer perceptions of fabric stain removers. We utilized market reports, review sites, and media sites. While Consumer Reports published data on the best products based on their testing, there were no references to consumer opinions of the products.
  • A review of Amazon's site allowed us to find some data on how consumers who use these products feel about them, but this did not provide any information on how consumers in general feel about stain removers.
  • As an additional strategy, we looked for data on the hardest stains to remove, hoping this would lead to some information on how consumers deal with those stains. This led us to guides on how to remove difficult stains, but did not find any useful information on consumer attitudes and opinions.
  • Finally, we expanded our search to see if we could find data on the consumer pain points around laundry in general, hoping that some insights found could be related back to stain removers. However, the pain points found, such as forgetting about laundry in the machine and not enough time to spend on laundry, could not be related back to stain removers specifically.
  • Ultimately, we were not able to provide 5-7 insights into how consumers feel about fabric stain removers, so we have included some helpful findings that were found in the course of our research.

Helpful Findings

  • On Amazon, the best-selling and top-rated stain removers all had an average customer review score of well over 4 stars. Many had close to 5 stars, even when hundreds of reviews had been provided for a product. This seems to indicate that the people buying these products have a very favorable opinion of them.
  • The Cleaning Institute provides tips on how to remove stains. In addition to dealing with the stain as quickly as possible, they also recommend treating it with a stain remover. This could potentially be used in marketing as it shows that the use of stain removers is recommended by experts in the cleaning industry.
  • Although Consumer Reports did recommend several stain removers in their report, they also reported that only OxiClean MaxForce was the only one that was more effective than just detergent alone. With 6 million subscribers in 2018, this is a significant number of consumers that can be influenced by their reporting.
  • Good Housekeeping reports that not all stains need a stain remover product, and that consumers should try to wash them first with detergent. Of note, none of the stain removers recommended by Good Housekeeping in a 2019 report were from the key players identified in the marketing reports previously referenced.
  • In terms of specific stain removers, we found that Shout Trigger Triple-Acting Stain Remover had an almost 5 star rating from over 460 reviews on Influenster. On, OxiClean Max Force Gel Stain Remover Stick had a 4.5 star rating from over 300 reviews. This again supports the point that for people who do use these products, they have an overwhelmingly positive opinion of them.
  • This link provides some examples of TV ads that have run for stain remover products.