Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The OxiClean Bible, or "How I Reclaim 95% of My Family's Stained Clothes"

I am not a domestic diva by any means, although I aspire to be. For any of you other aspirers out there, I'd like to share my methods of using OxiClean (often misspelled OxyClean) to get rid of most of our clothing stains.

I don't know if you're like me, but seeing a label that says "As Seen on TV" on a product translates in my mind as "Piece-Of-Crap Rip-Off". It was only serendipity that caused me to try OxiClean at all. We were visiting family when my daughter was only 2 months old, and were confronted by the bane-of-all-parents-of-newborns: squirty bright brown and orange poop. It was late at night but luckily the laundry room was adjacent to the guest bedroom. The only thing that looked at all promising as a stain fighter was a small tub of OxiClean. I was quite amazed when we put a little in the bathroom sink with the stained onesie and it all came right out. Needless to say, when we got home, I invested in the 15-lb box of OxiClean that Costco sells (wait to stock up when the $4 off coupon comes in the Costco mailer).

After several years of using OxiClean as almost my sole stain-fighting agent, here are my best practices:

OxiClean works great on stains from
* poop
* blood
* fruit and vegetable juices
* armpits (really good on thick, waxy, and yellow pit stains!)
* nail polish
* excess dye from jeans or other darks that bleed, especially on clothes that are that light pink color that attract it so (but see next section about dark red dye bleeding)
* oils (although if oil is your only problem, you're better off using something made just for grease/oil since the molecular structure is non-polar)
* latex paint
* pen and marker ink
* etc.!

Use caution when using OxiClean with any of the following:
* Wool, silk, rayon, nylon (test a small area and rinse as soon as the stain is gone)
* Metal fasteners (especially snaps on baby clothing, although OxiClean isn't as damaging as another oxygen-containing stain remover I used (I will insert name here when I remember!))
* A certain darker-red dye - OxiClean actually causes this dye to un-set and the dye can then bleed and stain other clothing. If this happens, rinse with cold water as soon as you notice it!
* Plasticy, thick screenprinting ink (causes it to flake or discolor)

With the disclaimer that I am not responsible if using OxiClean this way ruins any of your clothing items, here is what I do:

* Collect clothing that has stains that didn't wash out in a bucket/laundry bag. I usually try to catch these between the wash and dry cycles since heat can set stains. I just air dry the items.
* Once I have enough to run the smallest load on my washing machine, I wait for evening and set the washer to the warm wash cycle (OxiClean works better with heat)
* I add eight scoops of Oxiclean (32 dry oz or 2 lbs) and one scoop of regular laundry detergent to the cycle and add the stained clothes
* I leave the lid open and let the washer agitate. On my washer, leaving the lid open makes it stop just after agitation and before rinsing, so this effectively becomes a tub of OxiClean for the clothes to soak in. If you don't have this option or use a laundromat, you can perform all of the prior steps in a bucket, sink or bathtub and then wash the clothes regularly. Use 1 scoop = 4oz of OxiClean for each gallon of water. If I remember to, I usually reset the washer to run the agitation cycle a few more times.
* Leave overnight
* Let the rest of the cycle complete, with an extra rinse cycle to remove most of the OxiClean (if left for a LONG time, it seems to speed wear and deterioration)

If you are uncomfortable leaving your items in the OxiClean bath for so long, you can do a trial period that is shorter. In my experience, leaving the items to soak for around 3 hours still removes all the stains from half the clothes and lightens the rest considerably. However, the OxiClean box says you can soak 6 hours in the 4oz per gallon concentration.

Good luck! I'd love to hear any additional tips or insights you have about OxiClean in the comments!


Jessica Stier said...

OxiClean rocks.
When I was a kid we had really hard water that turned all of our whites this dreadful grey/yellow color. It was nasty. After I moved away from home, my mom discovered OxiClean and suddenly all of their whites were white again. When I got married we had this piece of lace that was my grandma's but had turned yellow with age. OxiClean turned it white again and I was able to use it.
Love that stuff. I also really like the liquid form that you can spray on your clothes or carpet. I have it on my shopping list right now.

Anonymous said...

Would it be safe to clean dark rinse jeans using OxiClean? I don't want to lose the dark color. What should I use?

gustavo ruiz said...

use woolite

Anonymous said...

I have a white 100% nylon basketball jersey that has some yellowing that remained even after dry cleaning. What method of treatment would you recommend?