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Does OxiClean Work? How Does OxiClean Work? An In-Depth Review

OxiClean claims to be the number one stain-fighting brand.

But does it actually work? Is it worth buying?

In this OxiClean review, you’ll get answers to questions like:

  • How does OxiClean work?
  • What can you use it on?
  • Does it damage clothes?
  • How long does it take to work?

Plus, I reveal the results of my head-to-head tests between OxiClean and its top competitor.


Use the links below to navigate the review:


Does OxiClean Work?

If you have a tough stain but don’t want to use chlorine bleach, you might be wondering:

Does OxiClean work?

The short answer is yes. OxiClean is a highly effective color-safe stain remover that works well on laundry, carpet, and upholstery stains.

Although removing fabric stains is its primary use, you can also use OxiClean to scrub away grime in bathrooms and other hard surfaces.

To prove that it works, I tested it against Shout, another top-selling stain remover.

OxiClean versus Shout Performance Test
OxiClean versus Shout Performance Test

First, I cut up a white cotton t-shirt and divided the cloths into two sets of five pieces. I made identical stains from grass/dirt, coffee, red wine, ketchup, and ink on both sets.

Next, I let the stains sit for an hour to ensure they set in.

Then, I applied OxiClean to half the cotton cloths and Shout to the others according to each product’s directions.

After treating the stains and washing the cotton cloths in hot water and detergent, I found that both products completely removed the grass/dirt, coffee, red wine, and ketchup stains.

OxiClean and Shout vs. Ketchup Stains_Before
Ketchup Stains: Before
OxiClean and Shout vs. Ketchup Stains_After
Ketchup Stains: After
OxiClean and Shout vs. Grass and Dirt Stains_Before
Grass and Dirt Stains: Before
OxiClean and Shout vs. Grass and Dirt Stains_After 1
Grass and Dirt Stains: After
OxiClean and Shout vs. Red Wine Stains_Before
Red Wine Stains: Before
OxiClean and Shout vs. Red Wine Stains_After
Red Wine Stains: After

Although neither product removed the entire ink stain, both removed about 85% of it.

OxiClean and Shout vs. Ink Stains_Before
Ink Stains: Before
OxiClean and Shout vs. Ink Stains_Ink
Ink Stains: Ink

But I’m not the only one to prove OxiClean’s stain-fighting worth. Millions of people across the globe have used it, and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

Additionally, several independent outlets have conducted tests similar to mine. Here’s what those outlets had to say about OxiClean’s effectiveness.

The Spruce considers OxiClean as one of the best stain removers for laundry. OxiClean MaxForce Laundry Stain Remover spray took the top spot as best overall in a list of 9. It expertly removed grass, blood, and other dried stains during testing. Also on the list: OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover powder (best for clothing) and OxiClean White Revive (best for white shirts).

Popular Mechanics made a list of the best laundry stain removers and chose OxiClean MaxForce Laundry Stain Remover spray as the best overall. The ease of applying the stain-fighting, color-safe formula impressed testers. It displayed excellent stain removal on a variety of clothing — even delicates. However, it’s one of the most expensive options. Also on the list are OxiClean MaxForce Gel Stick and OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover powder. 

Reader’s Digest did an editorial on the best stain removers for clothes and selected OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover powder as the best budget stain remover. They claim it’s a long-lasting product that removes stains on various clothes and linens.

Parenting.com’s list of the best stain removers started and ended with OxiClean products. Reviewers picked OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover powder as the best all-purpose stain fighter. The reviewers celebrated its expert stain removal from clothes, carpet, upholstery, grout, and more. OxiClean MaxForce Gel Stick was best for clothes, and OxiClean White Revive was best for white clothes.

Based on my tests and other reviewers’ research and testing, one thing is clear: OxiClean works. That doesn’t mean you won’t find anecdotal complaints, but OxiClean has been around for decades and has been used by millions of individuals with positive results.

How Does OxiClean Work?

OxiClean has two key stain-removing ingredients: sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate. Both activate once mixed with water and attack stains, but they work in different ways.

Stains have a positive charge and fabrics have a negative charge. When these opposite charges get close, they attract and form a tight bond.

Sodium carbonate breaks the magnetic attraction between stains and fabrics. It makes the water more alkaline and creates a bubbling effect that loosens and separates grease and dirt from fabric fibers or other approved surfaces.

This bubbling effect is why OxiClean is sometimes referred to as “oxygen bleach” and the reason you’ll see illustrations of bubbles on its packaging and advertisements.

Sodium percarbonate mixed with water becomes hydrogen peroxide, which releases oxygen and breaks down the color bonds of stains. The absence of color makes the stains invisible.

Besides sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate, OxiClean also contains surfactants. These molecules emulsify dirt and oils and allow water to penetrate and wash away the stains.

What Does OxiClean Work On?

As its name suggests, OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover has a variety of uses.

It’s a multi-purpose stain fighter that works on most fabrics as a laundry booster, pre-treatment, or soaking solution for tough stains. It works best on organic stains like oil, fruit juice, red wine, coffee, tea, food, and pet messes.

OxiClean uses displayed on the back of the container
OxiClean uses displayed on the back of the container

In addition to clothes, OxiClean works on carpet, upholstery, grout, and hard surfaces, such as countertops or finished tile floors.

It’s also suitable as a garbage disposal refresher and a cleanser for the inside of dishwashers and washing machines. Just use as directed for hard surfaces.

OxiClean provides several resources on its website explaining the different ways you can use it at home.

When Should You Not Use OxiClean?

You can’t use OxiClean on everything. Here’s a list of what to avoid:

  • Wool or wool blends
  • Silk or silk blends
  • Leather or suede
  • Cashmere
  • Dry clean only fabrics
  • Stained, painted, or treated surfaces
  • Unfinished wood
  • Rubber surfaces

Always use OxiClean on a small area of fabric, upholstery, or a hard surface first to see how the product will react. Although you can use it on washable fabrics, you shouldn’t treat stains while wearing the clothes.

A good rule of thumb: if you can’t wash or rinse the area within five minutes of application, it’s not suitable for OxiClean. And never add OxiClean to an appliance, like a coffee pot or electric kettle, to clean it. OxiClean is not food safe.

When in doubt, reach out to OxiClean customer service or check out the FAQ page.

Does OxiClean Damage Clothes?

OxiClean is safe on colors and won’t damage your clothes if you use it as directed. However, I always suggest testing a small, hidden area of the fabric first.

Don’t let OxiClean soak into fabrics longer than recommended, and don’t use it on a non-washable fabric like wool or leather.

Using it properly also means not mixing it with anything other than water. So never mix it with cleansers, chlorine bleach, or any other stain-fighting product.

If you have questions about using it on specific fabric not listed in this guide or on OxiClean.com, reach out to OxiClean customer service.

How Long Does It Take OxiClean to Work?

For best results with OxiClean spray, let the product penetrate the stain on a garment for up to ten minutes before washing or rinsing. OxiClean is most effective the sooner you use it after a stain occurs.

How to use OxiClean
How to use OxiClean

If using the powder in a soak, add one scoop to line 4 for 1 gallon of water. Soak the fabric for up to six hours and then wash the fabric with laundry detergent.

There are multiple OxiClean products, so follow the directions for the formula you are using.

For example, the directions for the standard stain remover spray say to rub the product into the stain and let it set for 10 minutes, while OxiClean Max Force spray should only sit on the stain for five minutes for fabrics prone to color change.

Bottom Line: Does OxiClean Work?

Now that you know how OxiClean fights stains and what product testers and reviewers think, the question is:

Does OxiClean work?

Yes, OxiClean works, and it works really well. The active ingredients of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide break the bond between stains and fabric and eliminate the color of those stains. 

It’s easy to use and comes in multiple forms, such as spray, powder, and gel sticks. You can use it on washable fabrics, carpet, grout, and hard surfaces like sealed countertops.

In addition to my test results showing that OxiClean works on tough stains like grass, wine, and ketchup, the brand has a long track record and millions of satisfied customers.

If the bold promises in OxiClean’s commercials weren’t valid, the brand wouldn’t still be thriving decades after its launch.

Bottom line — OxiClean is a proven stain fighter and frequently the top choice on best stain removers lists. It’s versatile, affordable, and works quickly. If you’re looking for an all-purpose stain remover, OxiClean is an excellent option.

You can buy OxiClean at local grocery and home improvement stores or online on Amazon and Walmart.com.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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