13 Things You Should Never Do with OxiClean

published Dec 5, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

OxiClean was developed in 1992, and since then has made its way into household laundry arsenals all over the world. While the ubiquitous cleaner can be used in many more applications than just laundry, OxiClean isn’t a cure-all.

Here are some things you shouldn’t do with your beloved oxygen stain-buster.

1. Don’t store OxiClean in a humid environment.

If moisture gets into your container of OxiClean, you’ll end up with a brick of powder, which is definitely not conducive to being scooped. This is especially common when you’re storing OxiClean that came packaged in a cardboard box. To avoid the hassle of having to break your OxiClean up into a usable form, be sure to store it in a sealed container. Transfer it from the cardboard if you have to.

2. Don’t use it without spot-testing first.

OxiClean can lift stains from carpets and upholstery, but it can work a little too well. If you’re spot-cleaning a generally dirty carpet or upholstered piece, the area you cleaned could end up looking different than the surrounding area. Testing in an inconspicuous area is also important for making sure OxiClean won’t react negatively with the fabric composition of your carpet or upholstery.

3. Don’t store it in a spray bottle.

OxiClean can be mixed and sprayed for certain cleaning applications, but don’t keep the solution around. According to the product page on Amazon: “Do not store solutions for more than six hours, as the pressure can build up and the container may rupture, causing injury.”

4. Do not mix OxiClean with other chemicals.

This includes ammonia, chlorine bleach, and other household chemicals. Good advice when it comes to mixing any cleaning chemicals: If you’re not 100% sure they can be mixed — as in, the label on the container says it’s OK — don’t mix.

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5. Don’t give up if your first soak in OxiClean isn’t completely successful.

It’s expected that “some stains require repeated or longer treatments.” So if at first you don’t succeed, then rinse your fabric or surface with clean water and try another OxiClean soak to see if the stain improves.

6. Don’t dry OxiClean-soaked garments without rinsing or washing first.

Don’t put garments or fabrics that have been soaked in OxiClean in the dryer without thoroughly rinsing them first. A run through the washer after soaking takes care of this issue.

7. Don’t soak metals in OxiClean.

You can use it to clean some metals, but if you do, rinse the item immediately. Soaking metal in an OxiClean solution could corrode or damage some metal materials. That also means you should avoid using metal bowls or containers to mix or apply OxiClean to other things. (Bar Keepers Friend is a great metal cleaner!)

8. Don’t use it to clean rust.

OxiClean is not recommended for use on rust. Oxygen is a major ingredient in OxiClean and an essential contributor to rust. Better to go with a product like Whink Rust Stain Remover to clean rust from metals and rust stains from fabrics.

Credit: Sarah Crowley/Apartment Therapy

9. Don’t use OxiClean without gloves on.

Wear gloves when cleaning with OxiClean to avoid prolonged skin contact. That’s a great tip for any cleaning solution, to be honest.

10. Don’t use more than directed.

Using more OxiClean than you need to could result in a color loss for your clothes and fabrics.

11. Don’t use OxiClean on wool, silk, or other off-limits fabrics.

OxiClean’s manufacturer suggests that it should not be used on the following fabrics: wool, wool blends, silk, silk blends, leather, or on fabrics labeled dry-clean only.

12. Don’t use it on jewelry, wicker, or other non-suggested materials and surfaces.

OxiClean should not be used to clean the following materials: jewelry, latex paints, woven baskets, unpainted wicker, jute, teak, or finished wood.

13. Don’t use OxiClean in your carpet cleaning machine without checking with the manufacturer of your unit.

The OxiClean’s website states that you should check your machine’s manufacturer first to see if it’s OK to use an oxygenated stain fighter. Rather than risk ruining your carpet cleaner or ineffectively using OxiClean, consider using OxiClean Large Area Carpet Cleaner or another carpet cleaner specifically designed for the task.