What every best has:
Experts and users say that while OxiClean stain fighter can't quite live up to all of the promises made in its infomercials, it is an effective stain remover when used the right way and against the right kinds of stains. Among common stains, grease and tomato products are a weakness, but OxiClean works well against a variety of tough stains that challenge similar products, including grass, fruit juice and makeup. However, experts also warn that improper use -- such as leaving OxiClean stain remover on fabrics too long -- can cause damage.
OxiClean comes in a variety of forms and formulations to tackle everyday cleaning tasks. Those include spray-on stain removers (*est. $5 to $8), a carpet-cleaning formula (*est. $5), a dye and fragrance-free formula (*est. $7) and formulas designed for cleaning stains associated with babies and toddlers (*est. $5 to $10). The best-known version, OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover (*est. $8), is a powder that's used as a laundry additive and pretreatment. Though OxiClean has been on the market for many years, the formula for its Versatile Stain Remover was updated in 2005. Because of that, we only considered more recent reviews for this report.
While we didn't find any reviews that compared OxiClean to other stain removers, we did find lots of feedback on OxiClean itself. Experts, such as About.com's guide to housekeeping put different versions of OxiClean to the test and come away mostly to completely impressed. Two TV station reports find that the OxiClean works, but also find some shortfalls in the products they test. Bloggers across the Internet have also weighed in on the as-seen-on-TV OxiClean, spurred in part by a test initiated by The Parent Bloggers Network. Additional user ratings can be found at InfomercialRatings.com.
That OxiClean works reasonably well isn't a huge surprise as the science behind the product is fairly well understood. At its heart is sodium percarbonate, a white powder that releases hydrogen peroxide when mixed with water. Despite being a strong bleach, hydrogen peroxide is relatively eco-friendly. OxiClean stain remover also contains additional detergents and soil dispersing ingredients.
Professional organizer Betsy Kramer puts OxiClean stain remover to the test. The product is used as a laundry booster, to clean a spot on a carpet, to remove a tea stain on a countertop and to clean patio furniture. Kramer reports that some stains proved more difficult than others, requiring repeated treatment, but that OxiClean works. The site gives OxiClean its Clever Parents Seal of Approval.
The Parent Bloggers Network sends OxiClean samples to participating bloggers across the country who test OxiClean on a variety of stains and report their findings. Links lead to full posts about OxiClean stain remover on the bloggers' own sites. The Parent Bloggers Network concludes that OxiClean works.
Sarah Aguirre, About.com's guide to housekeeping, reports that in her test, "OxiClean got out grass stains from polyester baseball pants, koolaid from dresses, and at least a years worth of dirt and stains on upholstered dining chairs." She gives OxiClean a perfect five-star rating. In a separate review, Aguirre gives a qualified 3.5-star recommendation to OxiClean Free -- a dye- and fragrance-free version of OxiClean powder. Performance is fine overall, but OxiClean Free isn't suitable for all surfaces, and Aguirre says she had problems removing residue from the cleaner from a carpet, though it did take care of the stain. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
TV reporter Kristen Farley enlists the aid of a local family to evaluate OxiClean stain fighter. A toddler's shirt stained with grass, dirt and paint is tested, along with a grape-juice-stained carpet. OxiClean does a better job on the carpet, removing the stain completely, than on the shirt, where evidence of grass and paint could still be seen in a few spots. Overall, the family gives OxiClean an eight out of 10 rating.
Reporter Sandra Parker enlists the aid of Jenn Kronenburg, a wife, mother and waitress, to test the effectiveness of OxiClean Spray-A-Way Instant Stain Remover. Like other OxiClean products it struggles with a ketchup stain, only lightening it somewhat, leading Kronenburg to say that Spray-A-Way Instant Stain Remover does not work as advertised. However, the stain does disappear completely after washing. In another test, OxiClean Instant Stain Remover is more effective against another food stain of unknown origin.
OxiClean Powder is added to the water in a carpet cleaner in this review. The cleaner is tried against three different stains on a tan carpet with differing results. A marking-pen stain is completely removed, and a stain caused by varnish from the foot of a couch -- which had resisted all previous attempts at cleaning -- is partially removed. However, OxiClean stain remover proves ineffective against a cola stain.
More than 40 users give OxiClean products fairly high ratings. Not everyone is satisfied, and some say it works but doesn't quite live up to the promise of the commercials. Most, however, seem genuinely pleased.