OxiClean's infomercials boast of incredible stain-fighting power, but the product may have other practical uses as well. OxiClean is a natural, powdered bleaching agent that becomes active when added to water — pre-diluted liquid versions also exist. Ironically, mildew spores also require water for activation, but you may find that OxiClean takes care of your mildew problem better than some fungicides.
OxiClean may not have the fungicidal power of sodium hypochlorite, quaternary ammonium compounds or isopropyl alcohol, some of the chemicals used by mold removal specialists. However, for household mildew, it has great effectiveness. Furthermore, a report by the University of Missouri Extension specifically recommends using oxygen bleach products for mildewed fabrics. Oxygen is a powerful mold and mildew killer. OxiClean disinfects surfaces by releasing oxygen ions. Hydrogen peroxide, a chemical compound used by mold removal specialists, disinfects in the same manner; further demonstrating the effectiveness of oxygen in killing fungal spores.
OxiClean is natural, safe, contains no harsh chemicals, fumes or volatile compounds. Unlike other household bleach agents, OxiClean has minimal environmental impact because it consists only of naturally occurring chemicals. OxiClean is safe for most household surfaces, including wood, tiles, grout, upholstery, fabrics, flooring, painted walls, carpets, decks and vinyl siding. Unlike other natural fungicides such as vinegar and ammonia, OxiClean has no lingering odors.
The amount of dilution will depend on the type of solution that you want to attack. Church & Dwight, the company behind OxiClean, recommends using 1/4 scoop per 2 cups of hot (not boiled) water for indoor surfaces, 1/2 scoop per gallon of hot water for fabrics and 1 scoop per gallon of hot water for outdoor surfaces. Apply the solution directly to the mildew and wait 10 to 15 minutes for disinfection. Blot with warm water and dry to prevent the mildew from recurring.
Not on Everything
OxiClean is not recommended for wool, wool blends, silk, silk blends, leather or on fabrics labeled dry clean only. Do not use it on jewelry, latex paints, woven baskets, unpainted wicker, jute, teak, or finished woods. Metals must not be soaked and must be rinsed immediately and thoroughly. Always test OxiClean in an inconspicuous area when using it on a new material for the first time.
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Chris Anzalone has been writing professionally since 2001. He is a former staff writer and associate editor for Opposing Views, a popular news media website that tackles issues of the day from multiple perspectives. Anzalone holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California at Riverside.