Unfortunately, I have learned that getting clothes clean requires individualized attention. I asked a friend (whose lack of stains on her children I admired) what she does and she said that every night she collects the clothes from her four children and inspects for stains. All stained clothes get a treatment of OxiClean for the night and then get washed later. I finally decided to try a stain remover and this approach thinking that using a chemical might be justifiable over throwing out perfectly good but stained clothes. It was magic! I think the biggest factor is simply soaking it right away, but the stuff worked great.
Since then I have been using OxiClean guiltily thinking it was probably nasty for the environment but possibly justifiable until I got around to a more Green alternative. I told myself that it was certainly better than using bleach. Writing this blog got me looking into the ingredients in my beloved stain remover.
The Good News: OxiClean is described by some as an "environmentally friendly, natural" product. I was thrilled to find that OxiClean contains two active ingredients: Sodium Percarbonate and Sodium Carbonate. The first is baking soda and the second is washing soda. This stuff is just what my grandma used! These substances form oxygen, hydrogen peroxide and soda ash when mixed with water. The oxygen is what cleans and brightens. There are no phosphates or bleach, which are two of the worst environmental offenders in most laundry products.
The Bad News: What is not clear is what other fragrances or other ingredients might also be in there, but I am assuming there is something as it smells like more than baking soda and works better too. The container doesn't say what else is in there so that is a bit concerning. They do sell a "free" product without the dyes and fragrances, so by default it must be in the original. There is also a newer version apparently with "little blue crystals". No idea what that is but it sends off some warning lights to me. It is also not clear if the product also contains surfactants, which have a negative environmental impact. The fact that I can't get an accurate ingredient list makes me more concerned than anything. Also it is sold in a plastic container that is not recyclable.
I am certainly no expert on this and my research involves a brief before-breakfast search so I'd love to hear from others if you know differently or if you know of a more green product that works well and especially where to buy it locally. Looks like lots of other green household products contain the two active soda ingredients. Do they work as well without the "mystery ingredients?