I picked up one of these stain remover sticks at a local natural parenting store, hoping it would help out in the laundry room and not leave me resorting to the awful smelling stain removal spray that literally burns my nostrils (goodness knows what it's doing to our clothes or skin).
Buncha Farmers stain remover comes in a 60 gram stick, about 1 inch by 1 inch by 4 inches long, and sort of resembles a long thin bar of soap. (According to their website it is, in fact, soap, "enhanced with Borax to soften the water and aid the cleaning process"). It has a clean smell which I assume comes from the Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil in the ingredient list. It has just 8 all-natural ingredients, one of which is water, and is advertised as being 100% biodegradable. This is a good thing as we are on a septic system and I don't like to put anything down the drain that I wouldn't want to end up in my soil!
To use it, the instructions state "Wet Stick! Rub directly on stain." I find that wetting the garment/stained area is more effective, as the stick lathers up nicely when there's a good bit of water involved. Simply wetting the stick doesn't seem to be quite enough to get the soap to rub into the garment, so what I usually do is hold the stained garment under the water flow in the washing machine as it fills up, then I place the garment on the dryer and give the stain a rub with the stick til it lathers up. Then I toss the garment into the wash.
I haven't had too many stains to deal with since I bought it, but so far it's done a good job on tomato based sauce messes, Crystal Light spills, mashed blueberries, and ground-in dirt. I will definitely continue to use this stick as my first line of defense against stubborn stains.
If you want to check it out, you can buy it locally at Nurtured (http://www.nurtured.ca) on Robie Street in Halifax or at BLISS (http://www.facebook.com/pages/BLISS-Natural-Parenting-Resource-Centre-Every-Baby-Deserves-Breastmilk/) for about $3. Buy it on Amazon here: Stain Remover Stick (60g) Buncha Farmers Brand: Buncha Farmers, or you can have a look at the product website at http://www.bunchafarmers.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=6 for more information.