Carpet/Rug/Upholstery Cleaning / Web Exclusive Features

Just Ask Jess: What is the Difference Between an Oxidizer and a Reducer?

Both oxidizers and reducers can be formulated as dye and pigment stain removers

August 29, 2013

Jessika, what is the difference between an ‘oxidizer’ and a ‘reducer’? Which product should I use for a blue Gatorade stain?

-Peyton T., Glitteratzi Floor Care, Las Vegas, NV


Great question, Peyton! In a nutshell, both oxidizers and reducers can be formulated as dye and pigment stain removers—they will focus on the colored part of the spot or spill, the dye molecules. The products alter the chemical make-up of the stain, so the dyes or pigments will go colorless. Reducers work great on most colors of synthetic dye: red, green, purple, or blue—colored dyes found in food and drinks like Kool-Aid, Gatorade drinks, cough medicine and mouthwash. Heat will activate this product, so make sure you have your iron or steamer and a clean terry cloth towel available! As always, read the product label for directions and safety precautions.

 An oxidizer is the product to use on natural or organic dyes such as those found in 100% juices, fruits, berries, wine, coffee, tea and urine. Heat can help here too, but extended dwell time - 1-6 hours - can sometimes give you better results. Remember – reducers for synthetic dyes, and oxidizers for organic dyes…if you use the wrong product you may set the stain.

Being the Education Manager for Prochem, I often get questions from cleaners regarding a variety of subjects. This often keeps me on my toes doing research, conferring with the chemists in the Prochem labs or the engineers in product development, and up to date with the occurrences in the carpet cleaning industry. If you have a question, please feel free to e-mail me at


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