Consumer Reports: Cleaner Khakis

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If you've ever spilled something and stained your favorite pair of pants, you're probably curious about the new stain-resistant khakis from several different companies. They cost more than regular khakis. Consumer Reports took a look to see if they really repel stains like their ads promise.

This commercial is for Lee Performance Khakis.

"Soy sauce? Berries? Chocolate syrup?"

In the ad, these spills bounce off leaving no trace.

"Red wine."

But Consumer Reports wondered if pants like this can really keep
spill-prone slobs looking pristine? Pat Slaven, the Stain Maven, was put on the case.

She looked at three different types of stain-resistant pants: Lee Performance Khakis, Dockers Stain Defenders, and Eddie Bauer's Nano-Care Chinos. Regular khakis were used for comparison.

Pat started with water-based spills like coffee.

"With regular pants the coffee just absorbs in and you end up wearing the stain for the entire day."

But on the stain-resistant pants, coffee beaded up and didn't soak in at all.

"You have time to blot away the stain and there, really there's no residue."

Then Pat tried semi-solid spills.

"We got the tough stuff — spaghetti sauce and grape jelly."

Spills like this were harder to repel.

"When you wipe it up, no matter how careful you are, some of the spaghetti sauce goes into the fabric."

Same thing with the grape jelly.

But even if they didn't roll right off — unlike regular pants — the jelly and sauce came right out in the wash. Pat had less luck with
oil-based stains. Balsamic vinaigrette left discoloration on the pants.

But Consumer Reports says all in all, these stain-resistant pants perform well enough that they might be worth the higher price — especially if you're a little on the sloppy side.

Consumer Reports says there are limits to the repelling power of these pants. Testers wanted to see how they might do on some of the toughest stains — such as lipstick, ballpoint pen ink and motor oil. The pants don't claim to resist these stains and no surprisingly, they didn't. But if spaghetti stains drive you crazy, these pants will surely keep you looking neater.

View more Consumer Reports stories here.

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