Money Wise--A Stain Specialist

If you've got kids, you know what their clothes can look like by the end of the day. But there's a brand new way to get those stains out without having to scrub. A new product, the Tide Buzz Ultrasonic Stain Remover, says it has a "never before used" technology that'll zap away even the toughest stains.

"You may actually be able to treat a stain and not have to wash it afterwards," said Carolyn Forte, home care director at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

Impossible? Not according to the makers of the Buzz Ultrasonic Stain Remover, a new appliance that promises revolutionary technology to remove your toughest stains, in some cases without washing. "What we wanted to see was how well the Buzz Ultrasonic Stain Remover worked in comparison to what consumers traditionally used: prewash spray products and dry cleaning for those types of fabrics," explained Forte.

So, the Good Housekeeping Institute tested Buzz on fabrics stained with everything from mustard and lipstick to wine, oil and coffee. First, those dry cleanable fabrics, silk and wool. "Silk is a tough fabric to clean and we were able to clean more stains than we could with other methods," reported Forte. "And with the wool fabric, stains came out beautifully."

In minutes, the Buzz breaks through and lifts smudges.

But what about those washable cottons and polyesters? You can treat those with any prewash stain remover you find in the grocery aisle. "The stain removal results were comparable," said Forte. "We can't say the Buzz performed better or the prewash performed better."

And the price of the Buzz carries a bit of a sting, almost $50. The regular spot removers cost around $3. "But again the advantage is you can use the Buzz and not have to wash right away," added Forte. Whereas prewashes generally require you wash your clothes pronto.

Bottomline, says the institute, if you spend a lot on dry cleaning, the Buzz could save money and do a better job. But a magic wand for removing every stain it's not.

The Tide Buzz Ultrasonic Stain Remover comes with a ten-ounce bottle of Tide cleaning fluid and five stain catcher pads. You can buy more fluid for about $5.

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Reported by: Dmitra Denmark,