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The Great Stain Remover Hunt

The Great Stain Remover Hunt
"Quick, get some club soda!"

The Task
Students stain several strips of white cloth with five materials--grape juice, mustard, chocolate sauce, ketchup and grass--and then test the effectiveness of several "cleaners" to remove the stains as well as the amount of effort it takes to remove them and report the results.

Materials Needed:

Stain Removers to Test:

  • Strips of white cloth
    (old sheets, old white shirts, etc.)
  • Grape juice
  • Mustard
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Grass
  • Water
  • Hand soap
  • Laundry detergent
  • Others
  • InstructionsButterfly

    1. In collaborative groups, have the students stain strips of whiteAnts with Ice Cream cloth with spots of grape juice, mustard, chocolate sauce, ketchup and grass (rub grass into the fabric with a coin.)
    2. Brainstorm a list of possible stain removing agents to try on the stains.
    3. Ask the advice of parents, grandparents, the local cleaners or other community members about how to remove the 5 stains. Add these things to the brainstormed list.
    4. In small groups, or with a partner, test the cleaners on each stain. How well does it clean the stain? Rate how effective the cleaner was on a scale of 0 to 5. "O" means that the stain was not cleaned at all and "5" means that the stain was completely removed. How difficult was it to remove the stain with the cleaner? Rate the effort it took to remove the stain on a scale of 0 to 5. "0" means that it was very easy and "5" means that it was very hard. Some cleaners may work well but may take a lot more scrubbing than others. Print out a Data Sheet for each group to use to collect the data. Be sure to read What is Clean?
    5. As the students proceed in their investigations, engage them in a discussion of their observations. Ask questions such as, "What else did you notice?"
    6. As a whole group, discuss the results and the similarities and differences found in the effectiveness of identical cleaning agents, if any. Hypothesize as to why the results are different. Conduct the experiment again, if necessary, to confirm the results.

    Grape Stain

    Mustard Stain

    Chocolate Stain

    Grass Stain

    Ketchup Stain

    Want to Learn More About Removing Stains?Butterfly

    If you would like to learn more about how to remove stains, here are some links to sites with additional information for you to try.

    Gary's Chemistry Classroom
    Gary's Electronic Classroom
    TEAMS Electronic Hallway
    TEAMS Home Page
    LACOE Home Page