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Created by Nick Baker

Is OxiClean Toxic? All You Need to Know

OxiClean is a provider of popular household cleaning products that include stain removers and other cleaning products. Some of their …

OxiClean is a provider of popular household cleaning products that include stain removers and other cleaning products. Some of their most popular products include the OxiClean versatile stain remover and the OxiClean Odor Blaster.

OxiClean is often marketed as being an environmentally friendly household cleaning solution. With that being said, further analysis of OxiClean products may suggest caustic chemical ingredients and has many consumers asking the question: Is OxiClean toxic?

is oxiclean toxic

What is OxiClean?

OxiClean is a versatile cleaning agent likened to that of a washing soda. The active ingredients in OxiClean allow it to be used in a variety of situations.

OxiClean can be used to:

  • Remove tough stains, organic stains, and deep stains to keep clothes clean
  • Clean dirty, hard surfaces
  • Remove wine stains and other stains from upholstery, furniture, and carpet
  • Other indoor and outdoor applications

OxiClean hasn’t been known to harm any of the surfaces or clothing items it is designed to clean. Generally speaking, it is regarded as an eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning solution, suitable for almost any situation.

Main ingredients in OxiClean

The two most important OxiClean ingredients are sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate (sodium carbonate peroxide). Other OxiClean ingredients include multiple polymers, surfactants, and C12-15 alcohol ethoxylated.

While certain opinions may suggest otherwise, the ingredients in OxiClean are largely naturally occurring minerals and include no harsh chemicals. It’s an effective stain remover made of mostly harmless compounds.

One of OxiClean’s most popular products is made of the compound, hydrogen peroxide. This is also known as oxygen bleach. In addition to having anti-inflammatory properties, hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach can also be used as an eco-friendly cleaning agent.

All of the compounds found within OxiClean are biodegradable, non-toxic, and regarded as environmentally friendly. Together, these compounds form a natural soda that won’t harm the environment during or after use.


How do sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate work?

We know the main ingredients in OxiClean work to remove stains and break down dirt and grime, but how exactly does that happen? The sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate are activated by water and penetrate the stain or dirt, loosening it from the surface of the object.

The surfactants within OxiClean act as detergents. These are low-sudsing and ion neutral, which means they can easily wash away the dirt and grime once the other ingredients loosen it. Similarly, the polymers found within OxiClean actually bond with the grease and grime on objects, lifting them away from the clothing, fabric, or surface they were attached to.


Is OxiClean the same as bleach?

Technically, OxiClean is an alternative to bleach. While they can be used to attack various stains in both fibrous and delicate fabrics, they are made of different ingredients.

Bleach, such as chlorine bleach or Clorox, is made out of water and sodium hydrochloride. These active ingredients work to break down only the color in both organic and inorganic stains. In comparison, the active ingredients in OxiClean (sodium carbonate, sodium percarbonate, and hydrogen peroxide) work to break down the actual compounds of stains and emulsify the oils found in the fabric.

While they are not technically the same thing, OxiClean and bleach both act as a washing soda that can be used in a variety of situations to remove stains, disinfect hard surfaces, and brighten certain fabrics.

Is OxiClean toxic if ingested?

There aren’t many household cleaning products that are safe to be ingested. OxiClean and other green certified cleaning agents all come with fair warnings on their packaging. If you or someone you know does ingest OxiClean, it is always advised to seek medical attention immediately.

While the ingredients, such as sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide do occur in nature, they are meant to be used as cleaning agents, not for ingestion. This is why it is always advised to keep OxiClean and other cleansers out of the reach of children.

It should be mentioned that while OxiClean is eco-friendly and non-toxic, it can still cause skin irritation in certain individuals. The surfactants within OxiClean products may cause irritation after prolonged skin contact. To avoid this, it is advised to wear gloves while using OxiClean.


Is it safe to breathe in OxiClean fumes?

OxiClean should not be ingested in any manner, whether it is through ingestion of the mouth or nose. With that being said, it is not generally considered to be a harmful product to breathe in for humans. In other animals, such as small mammals or birds, it may cause respiratory irritation. This is because birds and small mammals have smaller, more sensitive lungs.

Is OxiClean environmentally friendly?

OxiClean is by all measures environmentally friendly. In many instances, it is trusted over other cleaning solutions such as bleach for it’s consistent rating as a green certified household product.

Many consumers also have questions about whether or not OxiClean is safe for septic systems. The answer, in short, is yes. Because OxiClean is composed of eco-friendly ingredients like sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate, it can safely be used in all houses with septic tanks. For homeowners with tanks and septic systems, it is the cleaning agents with phosphates that cause real problems.

Does OxiClean Break Down?

If left alone for long enough, OxiClean would break down like any other organic material. When exposed to oxygen and water long enough, OxiClean products break down into H202 or hydrogen peroxide. All of OxiClean’s ingredients break down without leaving any toxic byproducts behind.

What are some eco-friendly OxiClean alternatives?

While OxiClean is already an eco-friendly cleaning solution, sometimes it helps to know what alternatives are available. The following list details the best household stain remover alternatives.

  1. Baking Soda: Baking soda has been used as an all-purpose cleaner for decades. It can be utilized in everything from scrubbing dishes to removing clothing stains or cleaning hard surfaces. Baking soda’s active ingredient is sodium bicarbonate, which is a non-toxic and completely eco-friendly. Baking soda is often mixed with vinegar to create effective cleaning pastes.
  2. Vinegar: It should come as no surprise that vinegar is one of the most highly rated household cleaning solutions. Vinegar is a natural cleanser that can be used to remove stains, clean hard surfaces, remove muck and dust from windows, and more. Vinegar is arguable as effective on food and drink stains as OxiClean or bleach products. The best vinegars to use for cleaning purposes include white distilled vinegar and apple cider vinegar. (
  3. Lemon Juice: Like many bleach products, lemon has acidic properties that allow it to be used as an effective stain remover. It’s “bleaching” effect is actually capable of completely changing the color of certain fabrics or even human hair.

Final Thoughts on OxiClean

While there has often been speculation around whether or not OxiClean is toxic, it is truly an eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning solution. OxiClean, as a company, has made tremendous efforts to uphold their environmentally friendly standing by reducing waste and improving their manufacturing process.

OxiClean uses the properties of some of the most powerful eco-friendly compounds to produce an all-in-one cleaning solution, capable of tackling any project. It can be used for removing hard stains, cleaning hard surfaces, and more.

If you have any doubts about OxiClean’s safety, just remember to keep it out of the reach of children and pets. Also, don’t forget about the other natural cleaning solutions that are at your disposal, such as lemon juice and vinegar.


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Nick Baker
I'm extremely passionate about all things outdoors and have an active involvement in a conservation group in my local community.

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