Pre-soak is effective on most stains
Pleasant (but strong) scent
Takes a lot of product
Long pre-treatment time
Open air fumes
We purchased the OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover so our expert reviewer could put it to the test with her laundry. Keep reading for our full product review.
No matter how careful we are with our white clothing, it almost always attracts stains. This is what makes a whitener/stain remover combo like OxiClean Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover a popular option. The brand markets its formula as a chlorine bleach alternative that’s able to brighten and whiten without harsh chemicals or fumes. While that sounds great, many products make claims they can’t deliver on, so we decided to pick some up and try it ourselves. Read on to see if OxiClean was really able to spiff up our whites and get rid of pesky stains.
Cleaning Power: Not bad, but not perfect
OxiClean has a good reputation in the world of laundry products, so we wanted to really put Revive under a microscope with a classic white t-shirt test. Revive can be used in two ways: You can add it to a load of laundry just as you would regular laundry detergent, or you can use it as a soak. If you go with the first method, you add the powder before your clothes so it can fully dissolve. If you go with the latter, you mix one scoop of Revive per gallon of water you’re using and you soak your clothes for one to six hours (depending on how soiled they are) before transferring them to the wash.
We tested both ways with two different shirts which we soiled with common staining agents like grass, mud, pasta sauce, mustard, and butter. While butter isn’t necessarily known for its staining power, we wanted to test how well Revive worked on grease, and it seemed like a foolproof option.
To test the simplest cleaning method, we stained one of the white shirts and let the stains settle in for several hours. Per OxiClean’s instructions, we then rinsed the stains with cold water before adding the shirt to the wash with a scoop (filled to line 2) of dissolved Revive. The formula is meant to be used with the hottest water temperature your clothing can handle, so we set ours to warm.
After a run through the washer and dryer, Revive significantly lightened all of the stains but only completely removed the butter stain. While the grass, mud, pasta sauce, and mustard were mostly eradicated, they were still visible, so we wouldn’t call the first method a complete success.
The next test was a six-hour pre-soak. We used a 2.5-gallon bucket and filled it with 2 gallons of warm water and two scoops of Revive. After stirring with a wooden spoon to fully dissolve the formula, we put in our second soiled shirt. Occasionally we had to push the shirt down into the water as parts would float to the top, but it was otherwise left untouched. After the six hours were up, we put the shirt directly into the washing machine which already had water plus a dose of Revive and our regular laundry detergent.
Turns out that pre-soaking the stains made a huge difference. While you can pre-soak for one to six hours depending on how bad your stains are, we went for the full six to see how Revive performed under optimal conditions. Turns out that worked, as the streaks of grass, mustard, and butter were completely gone and while there was a hint of mud and pasta sauce left behind, you really had to know it was there in the first place and see it in just the right light. Needless to say, we were impressed.
The directions also claim that Revive is safe on colors. Whiteners typically aren’t color-friendly, so we definitely tested this with some trepidation. We followed the directions to a tee and our load came out just fine. We’d say that no matter what kind of clothing you wash—be it whites or colors—following the directions is the best way to protect your items.
Formula and Scent: Strong on both accounts
OxiClean markets Revive as an alternative to chlorine bleach, so what exactly is in their formula? After doing some further research—as OxiClean’s product listing doesn’t say what’s in Revive—we found it’s made with sodium carbonate, sodium carbonate peroxide, acrylic acid homopolymer, protease, disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate, and amylase—AKA a combination of chemicals and enzymes that disperse soil and target the proteins and starches in stains.
Though Revive isn’t made with bleach, it still has a powerful (albeit pleasant) scent.
Though Revive isn’t made with bleach, it still has a powerful (albeit pleasant) scent. While the scent somewhat dissipated after we washed and dried our clothes, the fumes were pretty intense when we completed the pre-soak. We ended up closing our laundry room door to prevent the fumes from permeating our whole home.
Ease of Use: Long pre-soak and simple add-on
The pre-soak process may have been effective, but it does add time and work to the washing process. We suggest starting the soak early in the day in a location with good ventilation.
Ultimately, Revive is much easier to use when you’re only adding it to the wash water. It’s just not as effective that way. Make sure to rinse your stains in cold water beforehand to maximize the benefits. The directions also suggest washing clothes in the hottest water the fabric can tolerate. Water temperature can make a big difference in whether or not Revive dissolves and works at its full power. The directions also state that if you need to soak or wash clothes in cold water that you should pre-dissolve the Revive in warm water before adding it to the cold wash water. Overall, Revive is not the easiest stain remover to use, but it’s worth the extra effort if you’ve got a lot of tough stains coming your way.
Price: Cost-effective but you use a lot of product
Revive is reasonably priced with a 3-pound tub of powder going for $7. The pre-soak method does use considerably more product than the regular wash does, though. If you’re soaking a lot of whites like sports uniforms or dress shirts, you can go through the container pretty quick. We suggest soaking as many items as possible at once or investing in a larger, more cost-effective 5-pound tub.
Competition: Other OxiClean options
OxiClean Max Force Spray: Max Force comes in a spray bottle (a 12-ounce bottle goes for $4) so it offers convenience that Revive lacks. That said, it won’t work as well on big, ground-in stains. So, if you’re particularly prone to stains or have little ones who make a mess, it likely won’t cut it as well as Revive.
OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover: OxiClean Versatile is nearly identical—in results and application—as Revive. The major difference is that it can be used on other items like tile or upholstery. If you’re looking for a multipurpose cleaner, it will likely work better.
- Product Name White Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover
- Product Brand OxiClean
- UPC 757037515859
- Price $7.88
- Weight 3 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 6 x 5.25 x 4.75 in.