Here's What You Can Substitute For OxiClean

To tackle tough stains on clothes, many reach for OxiClean. This liquid, pod, or powder product breaks down grease and oil stains and prevents soils in the washing machine from transferring to your clothes, per OxiClean. This product also brightens and freshens clothes — and it's safe for both white and colored loads. For over two decades, OxiClean has been a must-have in just about every laundry room.

However, some may be turned away from OxiClean because of its potentially harmful ingredients. According to Sustainable Baby Steps, some of these ingredients can cause various illnesses in humans and are toxic to aquatic life. It can also be irritating for those with sensitive skin. So it's understandable why some stay away from OxiClean. But, without OxiClean, consumers need an alternative ingredient that will lift stains and brighten clothes. Luckily, there are some more natural alternatives that also happen to be cheaper, too.

Three alternatives

The first alternative is sodium carbonate, also known as washing soda. This chemical naturally lifts stains from clothes. According to Arm and Hammer, add 1/2 a cup of washing soda directly to the washing machine drum before cleaning clothes. Or, if your clothes are extra stained, you can add 1 cup of washing soda. 

The second alternative ingredient is hydrogen peroxide. This chemical breaks down stains and brightens clothes, just like OxiClean. Stain Removal 101 suggests adding 8 ounces of a 3% solution to each load of laundry. You could also apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the affected area, per Apartment Therapy. Both sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide (mixed with sodium carbonate to make sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate) are found in OxiClean, per Sustainable Baby Steps. However, using these chemicals by themselves is safer than using OxiClean. They're also known to be just as effective — and they're cheaper, too.

There's one more alternative chemical that can lift stains and brighten clothes, and it's oxalic acid. This chemical is more natural than OxiClean, and it's an excellent option for clothes stained from iron water. Nelson describes how to use oxalic acid to remove stains. Seventy-five grams should be added to every liter of warm water in a plastic (not metal) tub. It should never be added to the washing machine. The stained clothes can then be submerged for up to five minutes.