OxiClean 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 mould removal specialists -- but for household mildew, it can have great effectiveness. The Notre Dame Observer tested OxiClean along with other household products for removing mildew, and found OxiClean to work the most effectively. Furthermore, a report by the University of Missouri Extension specifically recommends using oxygen bleach products for mildewed fabrics.
Why it Works
Oxygen is a powerful mould and mildew killer. OxiClean disinfects surfaces by releasing oxygen ions. Hydrogen peroxide, a chemical compound used by mould 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 odours.
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 five to 10 minutes for disinfection. Blot with warm water and dry to prevent the mildew from recurring.