Oxiclean. A whiten your whites experiment.

Pillow Case

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

THAT was the fella’s pillow case.  A beautiful 100% handmade linen pillow case from Rough Linen.

And it’s stained with 2 years worth of head sweat, drool and nightmares.  After 2 years my pillow case on the other hand has remained clean and white.  Like the pillowcase of a angel.


I know it’s hard to believe judging by the picture above but believe me. That pillow case is a mess. 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.

That left me with quite a dilemma. So I did a little research and discovered that Oxiclean will whiten whites, but isn’t the same as bleach. It whitens by some kind of magical oxygenating thing. No idea how.

AND Oxiclean can apparently be used 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 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 in Oxiclean overnight, leaving the other half of the pillowcase out of the solution. That way I would know EXACTLY how much the product worked.


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. They’re a candidate for Oxiclean, so you too can look like the angel you are. Or even better, you can look like the angel you aren’t.


  1. Tanya says:

    I’m curious how much you used?… just the regular “formula” for stain treating? Thanks, Tanya

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya – If I remember correctly, I doubled up. Then chucked a bit more in. :) It was a really heavy stain. I’m STILL telling everyone I come across about how great this stuff is, lol. ~ karen!

  2. If you are going for most excellent contents like myself, just go to see this website all the time as
    it provides feature contents, thanks

    Here is my weblog :: locksmith nashville tennessee

  3. Suzanne says:

    I have had great results soaking items in a bucket of hot water with oxiclean. HOWEVER, do not dump a scoop directly on top of your laundry in a front load machine. It leaves a discolored yellowish, oily looking spot. I had been having such good luck with the soaking that i decided to start adding it to all sheet washings. It took me getting that spot on three separate sets of sheets to figure it out. So far, i have not been able to remove the spots – only lighten them.

  4. Gwen says:

    I don’t have any oxiclean stories to share but thought someone might have a solution to my delema. I bought a beautiful white bassinet for at Gramas house it has a top that detaches he’s from the bottom and both have layers if frills. I the bottoms have some sort of wood on them so putting them in the machine just cannot be done. It was poorly lit when I bought this and you could not see just how dirty the fabric was until I saw it in clear daylight. It is impossible to just take the pieces apart to soak them as they are stitched in places that make it impossible I’d have to totally disassemble both up and down pieces and then re sew them back on. That would be an awful lot of work. I’m going to try to ad a picture so you will get an idea what I’m talking about. I hope someone has any ideas I could try. Please someone ~~~~ Help ~~~ lol

  5. Suzanne says:

    I don’t bother with either Oxyclean or Biz in the washer (front loader). Not enough time in the water. Have a 5 gallon bucket under the laundry sink. Use it several times a month with one or the other, never both…soak at least a day, usually longer, because …fill half way with hottest water, + 1 to 2 scoops. Stir really well. Can leave as long as a week with no damage. Disgusting pillow cases, kitchen towels & napkins full of BBQ sauce. Once, my daughter’s $$$ riding britches full of RED mud. Every one else sent to cleaners, and didn’t work…Hers were spotless. Enzyme soak rocks, with some patience, and Hot water. Great stuff!

  6. Pam'a says:

    That reminds me of the bit about the sun whitening whites. Do you think this is true? I think it’d be worth another experiment, Science Girl! ;)

  7. Jill says:

    My MIL makes beautiful hand-crocheted blessing dresses. We came across one of the first ones she ever made and it was VERY yellowed and she said to just throw it away. It was a very detailed pattern and much longer than she now does(she’s simplified what she does since the requests keep coming). I took it home to see if my younger daughter wanted it. She did, but she wanted me to try and get it whiter. I rinsed it in water and then hung it outside overnight on a cool night. The next morning it was amazing! When whites get ‘frosted’ they whiten. The bonnet and shoes were still yellowed and it was unreal the difference. Not sure if it works as well if it’s not cotton. I’d heard this from my mom my whole life but never tried it till now. She did that with her cloth diapers back in the day!

  8. Shana says:

    !. I went out and got some oxyclean asap to do all our white T-shirts and soaked some of my cotton and linen summer tunics and blouses that had some nasty yellow neck rings (sorry if that’s TMI) and it was fantastic – thank you!
    2. I’ve just spend an hour surfing the internet reading about and price checking linen bedding, I’ve ordered a fabric sample from Rough Linen and went by Pottery Barn to look at their linen duvet covers – I have a new obsession now!

    • Karen says:

      That’s great Shana! I can’t say I’ve tried a lot of linen sheets, but I swear by the Rough Linen ones and the duvet cover. This sounds dorky but they make me feel special every time I go to bed! I have the smooth white linen sheets and the rough linen duvet cover. Somehow they’re great in both the winter and the summer. ~ karen!

  9. Barbie says:

    You’ve SOLD me! I’m going out to buy some today….I have lots of white shirts that I would LOVE to wear again! Thx Karen!!!

  10. marg says:

    I was also a fan of oxiclean but the stuff is expensive. I found for stains, yellowing, pretty much everything oxiclean does hydrogen peroxide, some dishwashing liquid (and baking soda if scrubbing in needed) does just as well and in some cases better than Oxyclean. I used plain HO2 on it’s own on red wine on white shirt stains and stain completely, i mean completely gone. :)

  11. Hmmm we bought that stuff to sterilize our brewing equipment….not cauldron stuff but beer making stuff. Then we found an easier product so I have a big bucket of OxyClean left over. Maybe I will buy some white pillow cases now as I was always leary of the old head sweat stains!!

  12. LW says:

    OxyClean and very hot water. Soak, and hour or two rinse, more Oxy, same thing, rinse. Then do one final soak over night. Amazing. I did two old, age-yellowed linen shirts and they are snow white.

  13. Nancy says:

    Well glad to know about soaking cause I can’t see that it helps at all dumping some in the washer. We have bamboo sheets. Men are so sweaty and turn everything dingy.

    I did use some cleaning some crummy apartment carpet. I made a paste and rubbed it into some weird black spots on the beige carpet. I didn’t really expect it to work so I just left it for several days. Cleaned the stuff up and left whitish blotches. Yikes.

  14. Anna Starner says:

    Somebody asked about on tan etc. I used Oxi a natural linen skirt and it removed the color, now I have a yucky yellowish skirt. So please test it unless like me you figure that the item is ruined and you were going to threw it away anyway. Mine had a spot.

  15. Nadine says:

    Why wouldn’t you be able to use bleach in a front loader? Just pour it in through the detergent drawer and rinse the drawer with another liter of water right after it. Never had a problem. And people who have mold in their front loaders probably don’t let the machine dry thoroughly by keeping either door or detergent drawer a little bit ajar. In Germany you don’t get top loaders. And we still use bleach and the washing machines don’t stink.

    • Karen says:

      Nadine – Many front loaders specify you cannot use bleach. Part of the reason is it deteriorates the rubber. The newer ones seem to have dealt with this issue and you can use bleach in them, but my Bosch doesn’t allow for it. ~ karen

  16. Donna says:

    When my son was in first grade he wrote on the shirt of the child sitting in front of him in black SHARPIE! The child was understandably upset. It was a new shirt and bright orange in color. I soaked the shirt in cold water and oxyclean for 30 minutes then washed in the washer. The shirt came out perfect! It saved me buying a new shirt!
    The wonders of oxyclean.

    • Karen says:

      My first thought is, how did you end up with the shirt, LOL?~ karen!

      • Donna says:

        I do see your point! I am a teacher at the school. So I borrowed a shirt for the child from the school nurse. I sent him home with a note of apology from me and my son. Yep, I learned that it is better for me, and my children, to attend different schools! At least I know which one of us is in trouble when the principal calls!

        I really enjoy your blog and I’m feeling pretty star struck that you commented on a comment of mine. Thanks! You made my day!

  17. Kim from 3 peanuts says:

    Hello. I am Kim and I am an Oxi clean addict. I put a big honking scoop in every single load of laundry. I LOVE the stuff. And yuck….I cannot believe how gross that pillowcase was. I was so sad to hear about you and the fella but things are really looking up if you discovered Oxiclean out of the break-up!!!

  18. theresa says:

    I toss a little oxyclean in with the DH hockey stuff–only way to get that smell out of the clothes.
    My folks love oxyclean so much it is like talking to the Greek dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding movie who swears by windex

  19. Carol says:

    Interesting comments. I used the method described in the following link to bring my grandmother’s embroidered cotton pillowcases back to bright white. It uses Oxiclean AND Biz. The results were spectacular. http://www.euro-linens.com/euro-linens/Euro_Shams.html

  20. My epiphany with oxyclean came when I pulled out baby clothes I had saved from my kids….22yrs later and rewashed them all in oxyclean. I honestly remember thinking way back when we couldn’t get certain stains out that maybe someday in the future there’d be something I could use. All the clothes turned out like brand new! Amazing stuff you are correct! And…men are gross with their pillows….especially the ones who work hard in their garages. Bah! xo

  21. Valerie says:

    This reply doesn’t have to do with Oxi clean but rather front loading washing machines. One poster mentioned that she was reluctant to have one as she had heard that they stink of mould. While this information did not come with my front loader I discovered that it is important to wipe right around and in between the circular two rubber door casings with a paper towel soaked in either vinegar or a product like pinesol as far around as your hand can reach. I try to remember to do this every month or so. It is surprising how much grime comes off those rubber casings.

  22. Lisa M says:

    Oxi clean is the bomb diggity! Also, if you have a particularly greasy stain you can make a paste of it with some Dawn dish washing liquid. It took out a chocolate ice cream stain on my daughter’s brand new white t shirt. This was a dried chocolate stain!

  23. Mindy says:

    I always send my children’s horribly stained clothing to my mom and she oxicleans the crap out of them. Sends ’em back good as new. I have some, and I use it in my washer sometimes, but I don’t have the patience for soaking. I know, that probably says a lot about me. The fact that I’m pushing 40 and I still send stained clothing to my mother.

  24. Bols says:

    I am quite surprised. I bought Oxiclean when it first came out, years ago, and I had a distinct feeling it was money well wasted. It never made anything whiter for me.
    But I am willing to give another try, thanks to Karen.

  25. Berry says:

    I love Oxiclean too. As a side note, with linen, you can lay it in the sun on something green (like a shrubbery) and let the sun bleach it white. (It’s the combo of sun and chlorophyll that does it. Lavender bushes are just amazing for scent too.)

  26. Heather says:

    God bless all of you. I thought I was the only one with a drooly head sweating pillow killer. Color me delighted to have compatriots and a solution!!!

  27. Lyn says:

    Been using it for years and it’s great. I like to mix up a half scoop with hot water and pour on the cat barf on the carpet. Works like a charm, however, you need to always mix your batches as you need it, for some reason it doesn’t last and loses it’s effectiveness if left sitting around.
    Also, I wasn’t ever going to buy a front loading washing machine because I’m cheap but now my decision is solidified, I’ve had friends say they mold and stink, now I find out you can’t use bleach and if you want to soak you have to use the bathtub, bleeech! what’s the point of the front load?

  28. So each time you washed them Karen, you made sure the increasingly yellow one went back on his side, and the angelic one remained on your side?
    I just had a customer ask if the acid she put on her face each night would affect the linen. Nightmare time.

    • Karen says:

      I did! I didn’t want to ruin both pillow cases. His side of the flat sheet was also a mess, but I think I got that all straightened out. Re: acid woman, if she were to wrap her face in a plastic bag at night it would save the linen. And I bet her skin would be super-hydrated and moisty in the morning. ~ karen

  29. Tara says:

    Did your homemade enzyme cleaner with the citrus peels ever work out?

  30. Toronto Boy says:

    Holy moly! I was about to throw 14 white T-shirts and vests the bin in preparation of tomorrow’s pickup simply because they had faint sweat stains!

    Well it looks like I’m going to pick up a box of Oxiclean and see if it does the trick! Thanks for the info Karen!

  31. Melissa says:

    With 3 kids, we should have purchased stock in Oxiclean. We use it on EVERYTHING. It truly is amazing – if I can wrangle something into the bathtub, it gets soaked. I also throw a scoop in the front-loader with most loads and it seems to help with spots I don’t pretreat. Also, we spray it on our (admittedly old and worn anyway) carpet wherever something gets dropped, and voila! No stains.

  32. Marian says:

    I use it to clean my faux wood and standard metal mini blinds, soak in a tub for 1 hr and after 10 yrs they still look new!

    • Karen says:

      Marina – That gave me a great idea!!!! I have cloth blinds on all the windows, you know, the accordion kind … I tried washing them in the bathtub but nothing happened. I should try to soak them in Oxiclean! ~ karen

  33. Susan says:

    I started using Borax awhile ago with my whites, and find I don’t really need to bleach them anymore. I’ll also throw some in if colored clothes have gotten particularly dirty. It does need at least warm water to break it down, and I haven’t noticed that clothing is wearing out any faster as a result of using it. It’s quite an economical option for those of us who don’t have sweaty fellas. I remember trying Oxyclean over a decade ago, and not seeing much difference, but I’m going to get some more and try it on an older, stained tablecloth and see what happens. That will be my experiement!

  34. Jenny says:

    The timing is ironic. I did some whitening myself this weekend. And since my washer is older than I am, I poured in a cupful of bleach whilst lamenting that my washer isn’t beautiful and picture worthy. But now that I know these new fangled machines have rules, I’ll stick to the ancient Maytag.

  35. amy watson says:

    Yep…I am an OxiClean kinda gal myself…My hubby gets really dirty at work….I make homemade laundry detergent, and a whole 5 lb. container of OxiClean goes in it….It is awesome white whites and bright colors..I am a new follower and I really am sorry you had to go through a really bad break up….That sucks, but what i have read in your blogs so far, you are one tough cookie and you are taking it like a true champ…You make us all proud to be WOMEN…because yea…We can do it ALL…BTW…Everyday I read another reason why I don’t want to get rid of my old Kenmore top loading washer and dryer for the new fron loaders, besides them being outrageously priced, sometimes I like to fill mine up with hot water and bleach the hell out of something….But that’s just me :)

  36. stephanie says:

    I’ve used oxyclean for years and love it, but discovered that soaking clothes for too long (a couple of days or more) caused the thread to disintegrate causing seams to come apart and buttons to fall off. For spot cleaning I use one part hydrogen peroxide, one part water, and three drops regular sunlight dish soap. Don’t soak the spot just use the foam and it works like magic.

  37. jan says:

    I was a full time housewife so truly white, whites were a pre-occupation for me. I’ve always used BIZ which is an additive like Oxyclean but recently bought some Oxyclean at Costco and it seems to be maintaining status quo-white whites! (Throw some vinegar in also)

  38. Allison says:

    Somehow you managed to work in a literal airing of dirty laundry AND a look at the brighter side in one post. This is one of the many reasons I read your blog. Thanks for the multiple metaphors. I love your brain. <3

  39. Harlewkin says:

    Years ago I decided to wash my tired looking market umbrella in OxyClean and ended up with a big mess. The canvas disintegrated in the washing machine leaving me a pulpy disaster to deal with and a market umbrella to replace.

    I haven’t been courageous enough to use that product again. I’m glad your results were more successful!

    • Pam'a says:

      I’ll bet it had more to do with putting the sun-weakened canvas in the washer than using Oxy. I use it on antique linens (Why do they call them linens when they’re cotton??) all the time with no damage. I agree that it’s most effective as a soak vs. tossing it in the washer.

  40. Carolyn says:

    The dry cleaners’ I use for my antique lace collection just revealed to me that their secret weapon-method is to soak tablecloths in a big vat of Oxyclean for a *week*, changing the water and Oxyclean every couple of days. I’ve had several gorgeous antique, somewhat stained banquet-size tablecloths come back looking brand new, and the nonwhite-white ones, the ones that are ecru/tan/whatever you want to call them are still that color, just with the stains removed.

  41. Tina says:

    I used oxyclean on my outdoor furniture cushions. They had stains from the eucalyptus leaves which sat on them all winter plus the usual outdoor & big city grime that settles. It did a great job. Next time I’ll soak it overnight to get the last few stubborn stains.

  42. Jcrn says:

    Does heat affect Oxycean when stored? We had a bunch stored in an attic. It is 100 degrees up there! Can I
    probably still use my Oxyclean? I guess I am lucky it didn’t spontaneously combust!

  43. Christina says:

    I used to use Oxy Clean all the time, and I loved it but I ran out. Since I shop at Costco, I had a ton of Baking soda and I had read once or twice that it brightened laundry, I decided to try it and slowly deplete my super supply! Well it seems to me, my unscientific general laundry washing with baking soda has done at least the same as Oxy Clean. In fact, i feel it has brightened my whites better than Oxy.
    Although I have not had to treat my kids laundry for major spots and stains in recent times, and I have not tried it on my fella’s pillow I do not know if it is a reliable substitute. I am off to try a baking soda experiment and I will let you know what I find out.

  44. Carolyn Boyd says:

    I have also used OxyClean on old linens with mystery stains. It works really well. I can (and do) use bleach in my front loader (it has a bleach dispenser) however this is tough on fabrics and can’t be done with colours. Glad you’re back Karen. Wish you many happy days and snore-free nights.

  45. Erika says:

    I love Oxyclean! I collect vintage linens and it will really take the stains out. But it isn’t suitable for all fabrics, like silk, and if the item is really stained, like decades-old stains, it may need to soak for a really long time. It will even take red hair color out of a white cotton pillowcase. Eventually.

  46. Kathleen Kauffman says:

    FYI – Oxyclean Baby works just as well, and is “supposedly” a little more irritant free. I discovered it when I had children and subsequently started buying it up to give out as holiday gifts to all my new mom friends. You think sweat stains are bad?? Heh. Wait till you have children.

  47. taria says:

    we are enjoying the ‘pillowcase of an angel’ part of this post. lol bet your mama laughed at that too. Biz and oxiclean are both great. I collect old linens and have had good luck with both. Biz shouldn’t be used on all fibers though.

  48. Kristina says:

    Also love Oxy-clean and use it all the time. For the super gross pit-stained shirts, I use warm water and a bucket and a couple of scoops. Leave it a few days, then add more oxyclean and replace the water with warm water again. It takes about a week, but it makes them nice and white again!

  49. sue says:

    Elizabeth W. has already mentioned that it works on embroidered pieces and just wanted to echo her endorsement. I had bought some pieces at a yard sale and one lovely piece had a very dark brown stain on it. I soaked it for days in Oxiclean and while there is a tiny discolorations still, that experience made a believer out of me.

  50. Hope says:

    38 years of sheet owning….and I am only now on my first set of white sheets. (Always colored, stripes,florals,wild prints).
    I didn’t think of the stains when I bought them this spring just the lovely photoshoots of stylish bedrooms. Will not get too graphic (TMI) but I have to stand over our bed before I strip it with spraybottle of Oxiclean Maxforce Stainer Remove and spray all those little spots of blood, blue ink, foot cream residue etc.This would also be a good addition to anyone’s laundry room.My 30 yr old daughter gave me the headsup on this product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Art of Doing Stuff