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.

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Oxiclean.  A Whiten Your Whites Experiment.


  1. Debbie says:

    Hi ran across this site, as I just bought “White” Bath towels, I know, how is the world do you keep them “WHITE”. Anyway reading this I’m going to wash mine in Oxy. How much Oxy in a top loader (old) won’t drain unless I tell it to…YAY for old washers!! Anyway could not find any comment that stated how much was used.

    Thank you in advance!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie! The bottle should give you an indication. It depends on which Oxiclean you bought. Some are super strength etc. etc. But probably a capful! ~ karen

  2. Yabut says:

    I got a sample of Oxyclean in my Sample Source box. The only thing that has been soiled enough for me to test it got washed by my hubby before I had a chance so I still have not tried it. But hey, I have been thinking of washing our pillows. They are as stained as your pillowcase at this point, so I’ll give that a try.

    • Karen says:

      It’ll work! And remember it’s hot water that activates it so use hot, hot water. And if it doesn’t come clean enough after one treatment, do it again. Multiple treatments work with Oxiclean. ~ karen!

  3. First lady of pittsville says:

    Karen, love your blog and the refreshed posts. I have returned to this one many times over the years for reassurance that all hope is not lost. On the theme, have you ever done a post about what to do when you wash your t-shirts and the pits still stink? Asking for a friend… ;)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I have not. But I wonder if it’s bacteria. A paste made of Oxiclean technically should help with that. Or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and a bit of Dawn. ~ karen!

      • Penny says:

        Spray t-shirt pit areas with regular old cooking vinegar, then wash normally. You can even do it days in advance and let it dry on the t-shirt. Old, set in smells that have withstood several washings may need a few vinegar/washing combos to bring them back to decent. (Don’t know why acid works when armpits are acidic, but it’s the only thing I’ve found after 10 years of smelly teens who like to sleep in the t-shirts they wore all day.)

  4. Jenny says:

    I scanned the comments but didn’t find one which says SODIUM PERCARBONATE is just plain old washing soda (which Karen pointed out, is the magic ingredient in OxiClean.) I have no idea where else it is available, but at my California grocery store it’s right next to the Borax and bleach. Google will explain why it is even better than baking soda or borax–and I’ll add that it’s cheaper than OxiClean, and no perfume. Softens the water, too, so your detergent will work even better.

  5. Dee says:

    Try swimming pool supply stores or http://www.chemistrystore.com for the Sodium percarbonate. The main ingredient in Oxyclean.

  6. Lynn says:

    All I can say is wow!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I didn’t read all the comments so I hope I’m not repeating here. My two cents and tips!
    I have used Oxiclean myself for years . I live rurally with hard water which does a number on whites. I found I use the powder ( quite a lot of it) in the bathtub with hot water and soak white sheets and whatever’s that need a refresh. The water turns brown! Then I wash it in the machine. I don’t ever put in the machine, it doesn’t seem to work as well.
    I use the spray for spot stains although it can leave a little lightening around the stain to some clothes.
    I ONLY buy the Oxiclean for BABIES because the other smells way too strong for me and I’m betting for some of you.
    Final tip, for Man Head on pillows: I get the white pillowcases ( actually a silk one) and the hunny gets an old coloured one.

  8. Kim says:

    I make a miracle paste of water and Oxiclean and leave it on my daughter’s white Van’s overnight. Miracle! They look brand new and her friends are amazed.

  9. Tricia Rose says:

    Can you get Biz in Canada Karen? I prefer it to Oxiclean because it has enzymes which dissolve proteins and fats, the real culprits.
    I agree with you, a long soak in a well dissolved solution does wonders. I have known some people apply such a concentrated paste they damage the color, be warned.
    Years ago my mother struck up a conversation with some sailors at a port because she admired how white their trousers were (that’s her story and she’s stuck to it). They used something called Nappy San.

    • Karen says:

      I just looked it up and it still exists! It’s Napisan (as in cleaning a baby’s napis). It doesn’t look like it’s easy to get at the moment but that could be because of Covid. ~ karen!

  10. Jenny Durling says:

    I love oxyclean and have used it for years. Unfortunately, my current washing machine thinks it is smarter than I am. It has all of these fancy settings and it’s not possible to soak anything for more than 20 minutes in that giant, agitator-free tub. Even if I fill it with hot water and turn it off, the machine “thinks” that I left it accidentally and will drain after 20 minutes. Really frustrating!!

  11. Ann Visco says:

    It’s also the only thing I’ve found that takes out the smell of cat pee. I love it and have used it for years. Have you ever tried bluing? Also works great but do not go over the recommended amount or else you’ll be trying to remove blue stains and yellow stsins.

  12. Ei Con says:

    Sodium Percarbonate is available from Amazon in the US.

    Sodium Percarbonate UNCOATED 99% Min. Purity 5lb https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010CEGS72/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apip_vNE2saQTcLR43

  13. Sara says:

    If you think this oxiclean is good the one for whitening is MIRACULOUS! No kidding… It is amazing!!

  14. Victoria Marsh says:


    Tried both and both 100% successful:
    1) dog pee stain on wood floor … brush on H2O2 (used regular H2O2 from drug store), being careful not to cover unstained floor, check every 5-10 minutes and remove once it’s lightened enough (I think my stain took about 20-30 minutes), no need to wash off.
    2) bedwetting pee stain on mattress … pour directly from bottle onto the stain and let set overnight … next day, mattress dried (heat was on in the house) & stain almost gone … applied again … day two all gone.

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