The Ultimate Guide to Whitening Yellowed Sheets

The Ultimate Guide to Whitening Yellowed Sheets

Ever wake up to once-crisp white sheets that now sport a suspicious yellow tinge? You're not alone! 

While it may seem like a hygiene issue, this common problem has a variety of surprising culprits, and the good news is, restoration is possible!

Read on to unveil the secrets to sparkling white sheets. (Plus, we'll unveil a secret weapon to combat yellowing in the long run…)

Why Do Bed Sheets Turn Yellow?

It might be startling to see your crisp white sheets starting to yellow. But don’t despair!

While yellowing can be a common occurrence, understanding the culprits behind it can help restore your sheets to their former glory. 

Several factors contribute to yellowing sheets, and it’s not always hygiene-related:

  • Sweat & Body Oils: As we sleep, our bodies naturally release sweat and oils. Over time, these tend to build up in the fabric, resulting in a yellowish residue. Skincare products, such as oils, creams, and lotions can also play a role in yellowing your sheets.
  • Hard Water Minerals: Minerals present in hard water can interact with laundry detergent, leading to a film that builds up on sheets and contributes to yellowing. 
  • Environmental Factors: Dust, pollutants, smoke, and more can settle on sheets, causing discolouration and a dingy appearance. 

And seeing as we spend a third of our lives in bed, some wear and discolouration is inevitable. Luckily, there are ways you can save your beautiful bed sheets!

Natural Cleaning Methods for Whitening Sheets

Did you know that you can use items you probably already have on hand to help whiten your sheets? Embrace the power of nature! Here are some options:

Baking Soda

This kitchen staple is a multi-purpose powerhouse, and a double-threat when it comes to combating odours and stains on your sheets.

How to Use: 

  • Pre-wash your sheets by sprinkling half a cup of baking soda directly on them and letting it sit for 30 minutes before washing.
  • For an extra boost, add another half cup directly to your washing machine with your regular detergent. 

Lemon Juice

A yellow fruit treating yellow stains may sound crazy, right? But lemon juice has a surprising amount of uses in everyday cleaning. In terms of your sheets, the natural bleaching properties of lemon juice can help lighten yellowed sheets.

How to Use:

  • Dilute half a cup of lemon juice in a gallon of warm water and soak your sheets for 1-2 hours. Rinse thoroughly before washing as usual.
  • For stubborn stains, apply diluted lemon juice directly and let it sit for 15 minutes before washing. 

It’s important to note, however, that this method is not suitable for delicate fabrics such as silk.


Vinegar is another cleaning powerhouse, and this versatile ingredient is a lifesaver for sheets plagued by hard water stains. 

How to Use:

  • Add half a cup of white vinegar to your washing machine’s rinse cycle. 
  • For stubborn hard water stains, pre-soak your sheets in a diluted vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water) for 30 minutes before washing.

Vinegar can help break down mineral deposits and brighten fabrics, leaving your sheets feeling soft and clean.


Embrace the power of the sun and harness its natural bleaching powers! The sun’s UV rays can effectively lighten stains and leave your sheets smelling fresh.

How to Use:

  • After washing your sheets, hang them outside on a clothesline on a sunny day (easy peasy!)

However, be mindful of strong sunlight, which can damage fabrics.

Additional Laundry Tips

Beyond the natural cleaning methods, a few additional steps can bolster your fight against yellowing:

  • Pre-treat Stains Immediately: Don't let stains linger! The longer they sit, the harder they become to remove. Promptly address spills and stains with a gentle stain remover or a paste of baking soda and water. This reduces the chances of permanent yellowing.
  • Opt for Hot Water: Hot water is generally more effective at dissolving stains and body oils than cold water. Use the hottest water setting suitable for your sheets' fabric.
  • Avoid Overloading the Washing Machine: Give your sheets ample room in the wash to ensure they get the thorough cleaning they need. Overcrowding can lead to detergent and stain residue being left behind.
  • Skip the Dryer When Possible:  While convenient, tumble drying on high heat can set stains and contribute to yellowing. Whenever you can, air dry your sheets outside in the sun for the best whitening and refreshing effect.

Prevention is Key

To further bolster your white sheet defence, incorporate these preventative measures into your routine: 

  • Wash sheets weekly (unless care instructions state otherwise!)
  • Shower before bed to remove sweat and body oils
  • Avoid eating in bed
  • Use a mattress protector for ultimate sleep hygiene
  • Avoid harsh chemicals, bleach, and fabric softeners that can damage the fabric

And our top tip? Invest in high-quality sheets with good colourfastness!

While all of these tips and tricks can significantly help fight yellowing, sometimes choosing the right bedding is the best preventative measure. If you find yourself constantly battling yellow stains, consider investing in high-quality bed sheets.

Combat Yellowing with Quality Bedding

That’s where we come in! Cosy House’s Luxury Bed Sheets are made with premium materials that are not only silky soft, but offer incredible benefits:

  • Moisture-Wicking: They draw moisture away from your body, keeping you cool and minimising sweat stains.
  • Temperature Regulating: They help regulate body temperature for comfortable sleep, further reducing those pesky night sweats.
  • Breathable: Increased airflow helps fight the buildup of odours and promotes a cleaner sleeping environment.

Upgrade your bedroom experience with Cosy House Collection Luxury Bed Sheets for a brighter, healthier sleep sanctuary.

We've gone ahead & enclosed a 10% off coupon below for you to use if you'd like to take the plunge and try out our sheets for yourself! To shop our collection & get 10% OFF Use the code 'BLOG10' at checkout.

Product Research

Written by Product Research