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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Cinderella Story: How I Found My Prince in a Bottle

I have a toddler and an incontinent dog, so my carpets are stained with dribbles of one sort or another.

Those spots drive me crazy, and I've spent hours scrubbing and channeling Lady MacBeth -- Out, damn spot! -- often with little success. I think I've tried every carpet cleaner on the market, rented steam cleaners and even bought my own in my quest to rid my carpet of the evidence of spills and other accidents. Heck, I even ripped out the carpet in the living room and sprung for new floors last summer as an antidote to stains.

I've literally spent thousands in the fight against carpet stains. And I've usually been disappointed with the results of my stain-busting attempts.

Don't misunderstand me: many carpet cleaners on the market do work if you put enough elbow great behind them. But I usually don't have the time or the energy to get down on my hands and knees and scrub away at a stain. I want something that works well, quickly and easily. I don't want to break a sweat cleaning up an apple juice spill.

I think I've finally found the carpet cleaner that delivers for me.

A few weeks ago, I was indulging in a little QVC when I saw the presentation for the Stain Buddy 2-piece Master Stain Removal Kit, which includes a laundry pre-treater and a carpet cleaner. As I watched the product demonstration, I was amazed at how quickly and easily stains came out of carpet without scrubbing.

I'm not naive enough to believe everything I see on TV. But I've purchased a lot on QVC through the years and generally have been pleased with the quality. And when I haven't been a fan of a product, I've had no hassles returning it for a full refund.

So, I ordered a bottle of Stain Buddy.

When it arrived on my doorstep a few days later, i ripped into the box and headed straight to the master bedroom to tackle some spilled soda stains and some doggie stains, as well. I sprayed a jet of Stain Buddy on each spot, completing saturating the stain, just as I'd seen on TV. And in almost every instance, the spots disappeared without any scrubbing on my part.

I was so pleased with the results that I went through a whole bottle in one day. I was on a cleaning tear through the bedroom, the stairs, the loft, the hallways, my home office and my son's room. Our carpet now looks as good as 6-year-old carpet can look.

I'm not sure how Stain Buddy works as well as it does, but it does. Stain Buddy has a pretty lengthy discussion of how the products work and tips for removing tough stains at its Web site.

The Stain Buddy kit that I bought (which includes a 23-ounce bottle of carpet cleaner) retails for about $20 at QVC. I know many of my bargain-loving readers are balking at that price. But, in my opinion, this product is a super deal. I'd much rather spend $20 on a bottle of spray than hundreds hiring someone to steam clean my carpet or thousands to replace stained and dingy carpeting. QVC also offers two 32-ounce supersize bottles of Stain Buddy for $28.75, which is what I'll be ordering next time around.

While Stain Buddy worked wonders on my carpet, it didn't get out some old ink stains on my upholstery. (My little boy "personalized" my beautiful linen-upholstered cocktail ottoman some time back with my return address stamp. It looks like those stains are there to stay. Some day, I will laugh about that bit of precociousness, but not today.)

The laundry pre-treater that came packaged with the Stain Buddy carpet spray worked well on new food stains, but really no better than Shout, OxiClean, Spray 'n Wash or other well-known brands. I was hoping it would work magic on some old food stains, namely the butter that I dribbled on my new camisole while eating Maryland crabs.

My boobs catch food better than any bib, and I have lots of shirts with stains in exactly the same spot. If anyone knows a) how to avoid these kinds of stains (besides a boob job or quitting eating) or b) how to get old grease and protein stains out of clothes, I'll be forever indebted to you. And so will busty gals everywhere.

Goo Goo Buy Buy rates the Stain Buddy both a bargain and a worthy splurge.

QVC appears to be the only major retailer that carries the product. If you decide to try this terrific stain buster, I'd recommend ordering it through Cashbaq or Ebates, where you can earn 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively, on your online purchases.

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