Oxiclean. A Whiten Your Whites Experiment.

How to whiten clothes, linens and fingernails with Oxiclean. Yep.  It does it all and this little experiment with a sweaty pillowcase will show you just how well it works.

White pillow case hanging on a clothes line.

What you are witnessing is an illusion.  Like heat waves on the pavement,  a rigged carnival game or any 25 year old girl’s Instagram profile pic.

The pillow case you’re looking at looks like a thing of beauty, blowing in the breeze in a tranquil backyard.  Gathering up the heat of the day, drying to a fresh, crisp swath of fabric ready for a good night’s sleep.

It is not.

It is a horror.

Years ago THAT was the fella’s pillow case.  The fella is my ex boyfriend/husband/partner whatever you want to call him. And he head sweated on that pillowcase for years.  A beautiful 100% handmade linen pillow case from Rough Linen stained with 2 years worth of head sweat, drool and nightmares.  After 2 years my pillow case on the other hand had remained clean and white.  Like the pillowcase of an angel.

I know it’s hard to believe judging by the picture above but believe me. That pillow case was a mess in that photo. The problem with my particular front load washer is the fact that you can’t use bleach in it. Ever. Also, you should never use bleach on linen.

Also bleach has a tendency to yellow clothes over time. In fact because of this whole front load washer not accepting bleach I started using this solution to keep my white facecloths clean (which as you’ll see if you read the post works incredibly well).

That left me with quite a dilemma. So I did a little research (as I am want to do) and discovered that Oxiclean will whiten whites, but isn’t the same as bleach. It’s a chlorine free bleaching agent.  It whitens by some kind of magical oxygenating process.

The active ingredient in Oxiclean is actually sodium percarbonate, (a sort of powdered form of hydrogen peroxide). Water is what activates it, releasing oxygen and then the product decomposes into water and oxygen.

Oxiclean also has a few other things like filler and soda ash, but the real worker in the situation is the sodium percarbonate, which you can buy on Amazon but at the time of writing this post it’s sold out. If you feel like ordering it and experimenting try this link to see if it’s become available again.

Because of all of these things (no chlorine, environmentally friendly, gentle but effective) it can be used safely on linen.

So I bought some Oxiclean with absolutely NO hopes of it actually working.  Because let’s face it, most products that claim to do something amazing usually do very little other than produce very convincing television commercials.

This is NOT a paid post. Nobody asked me to do a post on the miracle of Oxiclean. I wish they had. Because I will now and forever sing the praises of Oxiclean to anyone who will listen.

Behold the miracle of Oxiclean … I soaked the left side of the pillow overnight, leaving the other half of the pillowcase out of the solution. That way I would know EXACTLY how much the product worked.

Side by side comparison of a yellow stained linen pillow case half treated with oxiclean.


Holy crap is right! I didn’t do any magical lighting trick, or Photoshop shenanigans. It is not an illusion. THAT is the difference Oxiclean made on the head sweat pillowcase.

Which means all those white tee shirts with yellow arm pits you own aren’t a lost cause. There’s another Oxiclean now, Oxiclean White Revive which I haven’t tried because the regular Oxiclean works for me.

In the past few years I’ve even started using it to clean my hands when they’re a disaster and stained after weeks of gardening. I just mix a tiny bit up in some water, soak my fingers in it for a minute then scrub them with a nail brush.

This is DEFINITELY an off label use for Oxiclean and since it’s basically powdered hydrogen peroxide you probably don’t want to soak your hands very long, but it works to remove soil stains around nails and nail beds which are almost impossible to get clean otherwise.

Oxiclean for linens, clothes and hands …  so you too can look like the angel you are. Or even better, you can look like the angel you aren’t.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

Oxiclean.  A Whiten Your Whites Experiment.


  1. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Use it all the time Karen..I put it in my homemade laundry soap plus use it for soaking tough stains and for the vintage linens that I buy..I’m going to be nice today and not make any dirty remarks about you know who..(the C word..lol

  2. Meagan says:

    Oh yes, Oxiclean is a super star cleaner! You won’t believe how often you will find uses for it around the house. We’ve used it on cloth diapers, floor grout, carpet stains, aged yellowing curtains etc.!

  3. saf affect says:

    LOVE oxy for so many uses. Does wonders on yellow pit stains too. (Bleh!)

  4. Suzanne says:

    Be sure to buy it at Costco – WAY cheaper than the grocery store and you get A LOT, which means you can add it to every load if you need to and soak with abandon. Wonderful on cloth diapers and stinky man gym shirts.

    • Chris says:

      Men don’t hold a patent on stink. Women stink, too.

      • Sunday says:


        • XP says:

          I love a good challenge so was working to renew a rag used to clean a grill. After numerous attempts and much soaking in various concoctions the rag was still sticky and smelly from grease. I’ve never used oxiclean but went for it. Soaked overnight and it blew my mind.. rag restored!

  5. Natika says:

    This is awesome! I don’t think they sell Oxiclean here though… but now I’m definitely going to be on the look-out for it!

  6. Elizabeth W. says:

    Oxyclean is the only thing I use in almost every load I do. I started using it on cotton flannel sheets as a massage therapist years ago. It did a good job of keeping the oily smell at bay.
    Now at home I even use it on very dark clothes most of the time (a very small amount, up to the first line on the scoop–is the normal amount for front-loaders) It’s great for dog bedding, keeps it nice and un-stinky, and my vet swears by it for cleaning grout in bathrooms. Who knew??
    Oh, and it will do a pretty good job on those vintage lace doilies we tend to collect. Since I’ve discovered that Oxyclean makes them presentable and fresh-looking, I use them as placemats on the table. The little ones work as coasters too. Better than letting them rot in the closet!

  7. christine says:

    Dear Angel,You kill me!:)

  8. shawna says:

    love OxyClean and have been using it for years to clean kid stains. Just be careful if soaking anything with a zipper. i have had it for”eat” through the material next to the zipper! Don’t let it sit too long.

  9. Tanya H. says:

    My guy did horrible things to his pillow cases, too. A friend has the same problem. Wonder what’s up with the male head. I know the male brain is hard to fathom, but why must the outer covering be a challenge, too?

    I love OxyClean. I have three boy kids. Enough said. Alternatively, a paste of peroxide, Dawn, and baking soda is a miracle on soiled pits.

    • Terri says:

      I had to comment on your paste recipe (peroxide, Dawn and baking soda…). This is the paste I used to rid my little dachshund of the skunk that sprayed him in the face a few weeks ago. Not only is this combo, apparently, good for stains, but it also worked wonders on getting that stench off him. Good to know!

    • Laura-Lee says:

      Borax to pre-soak in the laundry tub does wonderful as well. Then use oxyclean in your washing machine – will even make clothes that anyone that has been working around outside or tinkering with cars wearing, come out looking clean.
      Never knew you could get clothes that were too far gone to consider donating looking clean, and almost never worked in.

  10. Maggie V says:

    Have been using it since it was introduced to the world by some annoying commercial guy on TV. His voice drove me crazy but the product has been my salvation. Keep using it but you really do not need buckets full to get desired results or maybe you do.
    Just sayin

  11. Patti says:

    I had a huge tub of Oxiclean in my shopping cart yesterday and at the last minute put it back on the shelf. It was not the miracle worker for me but then I never soaked my dirty laundry. I’m definitely going back to get some and soak those dingy, pit-stained, sweat-stained clothes. Hope to have the same results as you!

  12. Jackie MacDougall says:

    I used Oxyclean to restore my mother’s wedding dress and had fantastic results; the dress was brightened and the rust stains disappeared! I also used it to clean my deck, again it worked like a charm. I love this stuff!

    • Gerri says:

      Hi Jackie…I am very interested: how much OxiClean did you use to do the deck? I have to scrub ours, and this might make it easier! Thanks, Gerri

  13. LeeAnne says:

    Thanks for this post Karen. I’ve always wondered if that stuff worked or not. I’ll be getting some soon and seeing if I too can be angelic in appearance. Are Angels ever drunk?

  14. Rebecca says:

    I have 5 children and buy it in BULK at Costco! Bed linens, towels, socks and sweaty Taekwondo gear all sing with a little scoop of OxiClean.

  15. Jody says:

    Well I know what I’m doing on this rainy day. I’m going to soak all my kitchen tea towels in Oxiclean to see if they’ll come out sparkly white. I hate when they get all grungy.

  16. Ann says:

    I will not be getting a front loader next time out. The one I have now is not my favorite household appliance. Wish I had not gone with the newest and best technology when we were picking this set out to put in our new house.

    I love Oxiclean also but don’t use it all that much. Maybe I have just learned to live with dingy. And I don’t mean my DH!!

  17. Vanessa M says:

    Kismet! I was just wondering this morning as I dressed for work what to do about a yellowish stain on my white cargo vest! “Pillowcase of an angel”…HA HA :)

  18. Nancy says:

    I usually have Oxiclean on hand. When we painted our daughter’s bedroom and got a few splatters on the carpet, I sprayed it with a solution of Oxiclean and it got most of it out. The solutions was one scope in a quart of water and it got the small spots of paint out. Bigger ones, say the size of a pencil eraser or larger, did not come completely out put the others did. It is great stuff.

  19. Jodi says:

    I use it on my laundry too. However, my favorite use for Oxiclean is to make a cleaning solution for my carpet. I rent a carpet cleaner and use Oxiclean instead of the cleaner from the store. Whoever built my home decided that cream colored carpet is cute. It is not.

  20. Maureen Locke says:

    How exciting. My work shirts are white.. or they’re supposed to be white. I’ve never tried the presoak thing, just put it in the washer. And my hubbies pillowcase is always nasty too so I’ll try this on that too. Can’t wait to see the results. :) Thanks Karen.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I have had good results with it by soaking only, it made no difference in the regular wash. However, I did find it yellowed when I spot cleaned a white shirt and sun-dried it out on the clothesline, so caution!

  22. Sandy says:

    It works!! I use it all the time.

  23. Beth says:

    I’ve actually read that it’s an amazing grout cleaner too…. so this might be a solution for the tiled kitchen countertop.

    Make a paste, leave it on overnight, voila?

  24. Antonia says:

    Karen, I’ll go out today to buy some for sure…I love that stuff! I was looking for a link to buy it on Amazon from your post! :)

  25. Su says:

    Love Oxiclean! Yes like the other posters, I find it does work best as a soak…. it’s also great to fill a white tub, pour some in and let it soak to remove soap scum and water deposits…. :)

  26. marilyn says:

    i have a head sweater too, at least he doesnt drool..lol

  27. Lynn Rollins says:

    Something called “White Brite” is also fabulous/better?? I use both but “stupid fella pillows” are all over the world, so there needs to be lots of choices for washing that man right out of our pillow cases. I buy it at Walmart, container shaped more like the narrow upright Murphy’s Oil bottle, but white. Green label. Good stuff!! Glad you have one less reminder of “the fella”.

  28. Natalie says:

    Can you use this safely on cream and beige colored sheets?

    • Karen says:

      Natalie – Yes. Although, I say that with the warning that I’ve never done it myself. But Oxiclean is made for colours as well, so if you follow the recommended treatment amounts it should just lift the stains and not the fabric colour. ~ karen!

  29. RosieW says:


    I buy a knockoff at Dollar Tree called LA’s Totally Awesome Oxygen base cleaner. 16 oz. container. Half of the time I don’t even use any detergent.

    Think you would have had the same results using a couple of scoops in the tub.


  30. Zoe says:

    oooh how exciting? Not very lady-like but my work shirts have taken some serious underarm beatings and this may be the cure vs replacing them all!! Thanks Karen :)

  31. Suzan says:

    I once used Oxyclean (as an experiment because I was too cheap to buy new lampshades) on at least 20 years worth of nicotine and dust on two linen lampshades that came from my boyfriend’s auntie’s estate. I soaked them in the washtub for about half a day each. To my amazement, they came out absolutely spotless. I have been an Oxyclean fanatic ever since.

  32. Laura Bee says:

    Wierd – I’m a member of a frugal mommy group on FB & someone posted about Oxiclean last night. That’s a double endorsement! Now I really need some – I have a sweater & some old handmade sheets from my nana that are getting icky. That’s why I left them in the closet for 8 years before finally using them. Thanks!

  33. mimiindublin says:

    when I read “NO hopes of it actually working”, then “this is NOT a paid post”, I got hopeful, cos it’s exactly the same story in this house, and our bed looks like the pillow cases are 1 white, 1 yellow/grey! cos hubby ready loads of newspapers, so add ink to the mix.
    Off to buy oxiclean! Hope they sell it here, Xx

  34. Alisha says:

    Ahhh Oxyclean. Also amazing for cleaning grout, it took blood stains out of my microfibre couch and it’s great for getting hard water stains out of the tub. I dont recommend however making a paste to soak small stains. The thermal reaction it causes will suck the color right out of the fabric, exactly like bleaching. Make sure you have a good water ratio for fabrics.

  35. Leena says:

    I’ve used bleach (chlorine) on linen and it has worked. It does not work as well for linen as for cotton but still it works. Why shouldn’t it been used? (but I’ve only used it once or twice, because I hate the smell)
    Anyway thanks for the info about the oxiclean.

  36. Just used Oxiclean today to remove a big grease stain from the back of my daughter’s khakis – worked fantastic! We usually keep it in the house at all times.

  37. Sally says:

    See? So good to know, because I would never believe the ads either. Now I’m convinced. Thanks!

  38. Stephanie Hobson says:

    I pinned this but the picture is not very pretty. You need to step up your Pinterest game girl. You’re supposed to make a very bright, attractive image specifically for Pinterest, you know? lol

    Oh, and I needed this information, not just for my husband but for me too. It’s not only men who sweat at night; it’s also “women of a certain age”.

  39. Jcrn says:

    I can verify Oxiclean works like magic. I raised 3 boys and would have spent a fortune on their clothes without Oxyclean. It has removed everything from ground-in grass stains to blood.

    Once, one of our kids even came in the house with a pair of brand new khakis covered in wet, soppy mud and some kind of oil. Those pants were part of a school uniform and he wasn’t even supposed to be playing outside in them.

    There was a bunch of yelling, partly because he broke the rules but also because I thought those new pants were history, pants that were the last ones in the store left in his size.

    But they looked fine after the Oxyclean. I did soak them for an hour in the Oxyclean and water before putting them through a complete laundry cycle.

  40. Christina says:

    P.S. Karen, thank you for sharing such a painful time in your life with such honesty, respect, and – now, just starting – humor. I think of you often, which is maybe odd since we’ve never met, but, well, maybe it will help to know you’re in my thoughts.

  41. Christina says:

    I’ve gotten similar exciting results with a homemade mixture of 2 parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part dish detergent. Scrub it in with an old toothbrush and watch the [sweat stain / grease spot / mysterious brown spot your pet probably left] disappear. Then rinse! Not that Oxyclean isn’t great; it’s just that I was able to do this with stuff I already had.

  42. Nancy says:

    I always use Dawn to get even my set-in stains out.

    That is a lot of Oxiclean you used, maybe I will try to whiten my whites again and not be so stingy.

  43. Cathy says:

    Muff, I, too have been humming that song!
    Karen, what is “rough linen” and does it require a bank loan?

    • Kara says:

      Cathy – I can’t speak for Karen, of course, but Rough Linen is just the most amazing linens company ever! :) http://roughlinen.com.

      The sheets are expensive, but I honestly don’t plan to ever buy another set. (ok, maybe some in natural as well as white, but not because I need to!)

      • Karen says:

        Its funny you say that Kara … I never thought of it that way, but you’re right. It never even occurred to me that I’d ever buy another set of sheets. This is it for me! Love them and REALLY love the duvet cover. ~ karen!

  44. Erin says:

    From what I’ve read it is solid hydrogen peroxide but there are more details at the link below. It works but I find it works best as a soak. Stupid modern washing machines between the he liquid detergent, lack of bleach and minimal water I am thinking doing so much hand washing I may as well return to a rock at the river method.


  45. Kara says:

    Oh and by the way, I’m already a big Oxyclean fan, so knowing that I can use it on my Rough Linen stuff makes me very very happy!~

  46. SeaDee says:

    Love that Oxiclean! It is a miracle! I’ve also use Dawn dish soap to get oily food stains out of clothes. I’m messy.

    • Leslie says:

      Yep! Dawn is great on food and oily stains!

      • Robert says:

        I have a small spray bottle in which I have Dawn it. I used to use it as a spot remover. I would spray the spot let it stand a while then wash it. Worked very good. Now all I use is Oxiclean.

  47. Kara says:

    I’m really happy to see this. I just ordered my first set of sheets from Rough Linen and I love them. The only thing that has been slightly worrying me is that over the years all of my white sheets and pillow cases have become somewhat dingy and yellowed and I know you’re not supposed to use regular chlorine bleach on the linen sheets. I was kind of dreading the day when I realized my lovely, expensive, linen sheets were yellowed and icky.

    So exactly how much Oxyclean did you use and how long did you soak the case for?

    • Karen says:

      Kara – Since I did this post I did my whole sheet set! He was a really sweaty person. For this experiment I soaked the pillowcase overnight in my bathroom sink. I filled the sink halfway and put in around 3 scoops of Oxiclean. For the whole sheets I put them in the bathtub with just enough water to cover them and just dumped a bunch of Oxiclean in, LOL. Probably half a container! From hereon in, I’ll just add the Oxiclean every time I wash them so soaking won’t be necessary. ~ karen!

      • Patti says:


        I made the decision to go with nice pure, white, crisp bed linens last year and they’re looking dingy – I was panicking! I will be picking up Oxy Clean stat – seriously – thanks for sharing, Karen!

      • Lynne says:

        I have a big problem with my white linens (and clothes, if the truth be known) because my skin is very oily. I had the opposite experience to yours Karen. My ex’s pillow cover was practically pristine while my own was distressingly and increasingly yellowed. Blech. No amount of chlorine bleach would budge that stain.

        I’ve never tried the Oxyclean route – but recently I tried something I’d seen in a magazine. I added about a quarter cup of baking soda to my wash cycle (along with the washing powder) and about 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle (I don’t use softener since all my clothing and bed linen is cotton).

        You could have knocked me over with a feather – my previously horrendously yellow pillow protectors, pillow covers and duvet cover were restored to their original whiteness. I don’t know how much Oxyclean costs – but since the baking soda and vinegar are already pantry staples it was definitely a cheap and successful option.

      • Robert says:

        If I have material that is stained or dingy I put Tide and Oxiclean in the washer, as per instructions, turn it, on add my material. I let it agitate for a couple of minutes then turn it off, let it soak for a while then turn it on for a while, turn it off and let it soak depending on how dingy the material is.

        • SuzanneLH says:

          I do the same thing Robert. Gets disgusting kitchen towels spot free. Sometimes soak for as long as a day.

          However, I use Biz. Same contents plus enzymes. Been around forever, and cheaper.

  48. shauna says:

    Yup – Oxiclean is great. I think it uses “enzyme action” – the same thing your stomach uses to digest food (sort of). Anyway, glad you found it!
    They should pay you – or at least send you a year’s supply of OxiClean!

  49. Muff says:

    Could this be a new take on “Wash that man right out of my hair”? I have had similar results with oxiclean over the years – glad it worked on this one (it would be a great shame to have to chuck a perfectly good linen pillowcase because it was that icky.)

  50. Marti says:

    I waited up for pit laundry reports? Geez, I was hoping for a new soup recipe or something spectacular home cure involving homegrown scary tomato plants, outdated children’s toys and clothespins.

    On the upside, now I’m glad not to have met someone who let his pillowcase get so filthy!

    • JBB says:

      Mmm… OxyClean soup. So fizzy and delightfu…ACK! *thud*

    • sarah says:

      Hey Karen! Great post. I love Oxyclean. Fab stuff and am hoping to purchase a ‘rough linen’sheet in the very near future!! P.S. did you know that, that very cool Art store on Hamilton , Mixed Media, carries Linen Canvas!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sarah

      • Karen says:

        No, I didn’t know that! I’m actually just reading a book that a friend got me from that store! ~ karen

        • sarah says:

          Yup! The canvas is $14/yard ( I think) and when you wash it (with Oxyclean!) it goes all soft and lovely, Plus major shrinkage of course! Very wide, they have an entire bolt! Perhaps it would make a good flat sheet??!! Sarah

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