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Do 'Stain-Resistant' Garments Work?

Are you sick and tired of dealing with soiled shirts and dirty pants on laundry day? "Stain-resistant" clothing could be your ticket to happiness.

But are they as good as advertised? The Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen decided to find out.

She put some through their paces, and got a family of kids to do the same.

Stain-resistant garments, Koeppen explained, are supposed to repel substances on contact. They're popping up everywhere, from Old Navy to Brooks Brothers. They even have designer labels, such as Hugo Boss and Tommy.

To test them, Koeppen had co-anchor Hannah Storm toss coffee onto a trench coat and suit Koeppen was wearing, and orange juice onto the suit.

Storm, apologetic all the way, complied.

Happily for Koeppen, the liquids didn't penetrate, and wiped right off.

Then came a tougher test — from Laura Laub's three kids in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

They smeared mustard, ketchup, chocolate ice cream, juice, paint, grease from pizza, yogurt and paint all over their clothes.

Some of it wiped away — no stains. But some, such as mustard and ketchup, caused stains so tough they didn't even come out in the wash.

The bottom line appeared to be that, though the clothing does repel liquids well, it has a much tougher time with heavy dyes and oil-based substances.

The technology behind stain-resistant clothes comes from a company called Nano-Tex.

Spokesman Matt Hurwitz told Koeppen, "It's transparent, you will not see it, it will not alter the look or feel of the garment, and best of all, it will perform, so everyday stains will roll just right off."

He explained that each item has microscopic strands of cells embedded in the fabric that promise to repel almost any staining substance.

Hurwitz conceded that clothes with Nano-Tex may have trouble with oil-based stains and heavy dyes but quickly added, "Certain stains will come onto the fabric and stay there, so it's not stain-proof, it's stain-resistant."

He added that ketchup, mustard and grease are very hard to get out. But coffee, wine, yogurt, juice, and other liquids, will just wipe away.

Hurwitz even had Koeppen pour coffee into his shirt pocket. The coffee didn't penetrate.