Stain Fighters: Advanced Laundry Products

Aug. 24, 2011
Advanced laundry products are helping consumers tackle tough stains and extend the life of their clothes  

Well-stocked laundry rooms are where more spots, splatters and smears are meeting their match as consumers justify the cost of brand-name detergents with what they're saving by caring for garments themselves. All Free Clear and Tide are among the most popular brands at United Supermarkets. Whereas pre-recession, Americans wouldn't think twice about tossing a less-than-perfect shirt in the Goodwill bin or shipping it off to the dry cleaner, today it's all about wardrobe preservation. “With the economic circumstances most families are facing, they're cutting out dry cleaning, and with increased cotton prices, they're taking better care of their clothes instead of buying new,” said Kris Burdis, business manager for United Supermarkets, Lubbock, Texas. Equipped with an arsenal of pretreaters, laundry boosters and specialized detergents for jobs spanning the delicate to downright dirty, consumers are finding that stains don't stand a chance. In fact, interest in pretreaters, laundry boosters and specialized detergents have led to the fastest growth in the laundry category with sales up 7% from 2008 to 2010, according to Mintel, Chicago. “Consumers want to take charge in the laundry room and fix the problem themselves,” said Nancy Bock, vice president of consumer education at the Washington-based American Cleaning Institute (formerly The Soap and Detergent Association).