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Exactly How to Get Yellow Stains Out of Crisp, White Sheets

white bedding



So you've officially invested in the all-white bedding look. With swoon-worthy Instagram shots of crisp, white bedrooms serving as your inspiration, you threw caution (and your morning coffee-in-bed habit) to the wind and purchased sheets, pillow shams, and a duvet cover in the refreshing hue. Mere weeks into this design experiment, perhaps you've realized one bleak reality: White sheets stain easily, and many stains are extremely difficult to get out; your regular wash cycle won't cut it.

"White sheets show every stain and will almost definitely take on a yellow cast over time, even with regular washing," writes Racked. "When you sleep, you transfer a whole lot of yourself onto your sheets, which leaves them full up with your sweat, body oils, dead skin, and so on, all of which will lend your bedding a yellow, dingy cast."

Don't fret, though. There are plenty of ways, including using distilled vinegar, bleach, or OxiClean, to not only restore your white sheets, but prevent them from yellowing in the first place. Ahead, find everything you need to know about cleaning and caring for white bedding.

How to Get Yellow Stains Out of Your Sheets
Michela Buttignol / MyDomaine 

To delay the inevitable, the publication outlined four rules for joining the White Bedding Club:

  • Never sleep in your makeup
  • Don't eat or drink anything in bed
  • Spot-clean any spills immediately
  • Regularly launder your white sheets

When your sheets do show signs of wear, whether from sweat stains, coffee spills, or both, the site recommends the following four cleaning options:

  • Soak the sheets overnight. Use either OxiClean or Borax, a natural laundry booster, and then launder them as usual. "The prolonged exposure to whitening products will help to reverse any dinginess the sheets have taken on," writes Racked.
  • Wash twice. "Wash the sheets once in regular detergent and then run them through the machine again with a cup of bleach—washing them first will remove any lingering protein stains, allowing you to leverage the whitening power of chlorine bleach."
  • Try bluing. "Adding trace amounts of blue to whites will counteract any yellowing that's occurred, making the whites appear whiter," Racked explains. "Two brands to look for are Bluette and Mrs. Stewart's, which can be found in grocery and home improvement stores or online."
  • Use distilled white vinegar. This tip comes courtesy of Den Garden: "Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of distilled white vinegar to your washing machine's fabric softener dispenser." It can be used as a natural fabric softener, but it's also "fantastic for neutralizing odors."

Don't worry about the strong vinegar smell because it dries "clean," leaving no lingering vinegar scent once the fabric is fully dry.