Pre-soak is effective on most stains
Cleans surfaces not just clothes
Pleasant (but strong) scent
Strong fumes during pre-soak
Lots of small-print instructions
We purchased the OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover so our expert reviewer could put it to the test on her laundry. Keep reading for our full product review.
Whether you’d call yourself clumsy or not, it’s likely that you’ve stained at least a couple pieces of clothing in recent weeks. Whether it was with red wine, ketchup, or dirty puddle water, it’s always a frustrating experience. Keeping a stain remover in your laundry room is one way to combat errant stains. OxiClean’s Versatile Stain Remover claims that it can handle not only clothes, but other surfaces, too. To see if the formula was as much of a powerhouse as advertising would lead us to believe, we picked up a box of the powder and got to testing. Read on to see if OxiClean was able to uphold its reputation.
Cleaning Power: Watch out stains
Versatile isn’t your average laundry stain remover. It’s called a stain remover powder for a reason—it works on more than laundry. The formula is designed for whites, colors, carpets, upholstery, and specific hard surfaces, so you get a lot of use out of a single cleaning product.
Versatile has two laundry washing applications, so we tested both. We started by staining two identical white t-shirts with five common staining agents: grass, mud, tomato sauce, mustard, and butter. While butter isn’t as notorious as the rest, we were curious to see how Versatile would respond to grease. We let the stains set in for a few hours, because let’s be real—no one washes a stained item right away—especially if the culprit is a toddler who’s definitely going to stain their shirt again before the hour is over.
Once the stains had time to set in, we put the first shirt through Versatile’s standard cleaning process. First, that meant rinsing the stains with cold water. Then, we added the appropriate amount of stain remover and regular detergent to our washing machine as the tub was still filling. Once the tub was full and the powder had time to dissolve, we added the shirt.
Without any pre-treatment—other than rinsing with cold water by hand—our results weren’t great. While the butter stain completely disappeared, the rest of the stains remained (though they were slightly lighter).
We had higher hopes for the second washing method which involved a pre-soak that was posed as a solution to tough stains. For this, we soaked our t-shirt in a 2.5-gallon bucket of water with the appropriate amount of Versatile (OxiClean says to fill the scoop to line 2 per 4 gallons of water) and let our shirt soak for six hours.
This time the results were far more impressive. Versatile completely knocked out the grass, tomato sauce, mustard, and butter stains. The only thing left behind was a faint mud stain. While the pre-soaking process takes a long time, it’s certainly worth it if you fight a fair amount of stains.
Formula and Scent: Pleasing but powerful
Most stain removers stop at clothing. Versatile is designed as a general stain remover, which means you can use it on more than clothes. It can be dissolved in water and used on water-washable upholstery, carpets, and hard surfaces like brickwork and tile. Carefully read and follow all directions as there are several sets on the box and honestly, it can get confusing. With some surfaces, you can rub the dissolved solution directly on the fabric, while with others, you can only use a white towel that’s been dipped in the solution.
Finally, there’s the scent. It’s a pleasant scent, but right out of the box, it’s strong. And, we highly recommend doing the pre-soak in a well-ventilated space. The powerful fumes began filling the house, so we closed our laundry room door. Interestingly, when it’s added to the wash water, it’s not bad at all. After the clothes dried, they definitely have a strong scent but not a bad one.
Ease of Use: Takes time to work
Versatile isn’t a set it and forget it stain remover, and since it comes in powder form rather than a spray bottle, you do have to measure out the appropriate dose. While it’s not hard to use, there are exact directions to follow based on what you’re using it on, so it’s important you follow them.
Price: Reasonable for a multipurpose cleaner
Versatile is reasonably priced considering its various applications and stain-fighting power. OxiClean sells the product in various sizes from 3 pounds to 7.22 pounds, so the more you buy, the more cost-effective it’ll be. The smallest box—which can handle 156 regular loads of laundry—retails for roughly $7.
Competition: Comparable OxiClean products
OxiClean Max Force Spray: All of OxiClean’s products are pretty powerful, but we love the convenience of Max Force which comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle. There’s no soaking or even adding the formula to the wash—you just spray it on, rub it, and wash like normal. Of course, it works best on small stains, so if you have a lot of items that require a pre-soak, it won’t work as well as Versatile.
White Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover: OxiClean’s Revive stain remover is very similar to Versatile. The main difference is that it’s not suitable for additional surfaces—just clothes. That said, it is safe to use on colored items, so if you’re looking for a laundry additive that can both brighten your whites and tackle stains, it’s a good choice.
- Product Name Versatile Stain Remover
- Product Brand OxiClean
- UPC 757037517918
- Price $6.99
- Weight 7.22 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 7 x 9 x 5 in.