‘All-natural whitener’ to remove and prevent yellow stains from sheets

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White bedsheets are the easiest colour to stain so it won’t take long for your spotless white sheets to turn yellow after repeated use, spills and stains. With this in mind, bed specialists at Bestmattress-brand.org have shared the reason why white sheets turn yellow and how to remove yellow staining.

There are a plethora of ways to get stains out of your best sheets and make them bright as new.

The stain cleaning method you choose will depend on several factors, including your tolerance to chemicals, the delicacy of the sheets, the material of the sheets and the severity of the stains.

Mattress expert Amy Murphy said: “Sheets yellow over time because of the build-up of dead skin cells, sweat, and body oils.

“Washing your sheets frequently and showering before bed can help reduce the amount of oil and dirt in your sheets and delay yellowing.

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“The good thing is there are tons of ways to mellow the yellow and get your sheets looking brand new again.”

Bicarbonate of soda

Also known as baking soda, it is a great way to clean a plethora of different household items including memory foam mattresses, showers, bathroom drains, kitchen drains and carpets.

The solution works by not one lifting stains but lightening them too. The natural cleaning hack is gentle enough for most machine-washable fabrics, even the most delicate ones.

The expert added: “Just add half a cup of baking soda to your regular detergent and run the sheets through your normal wash cycle.”

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White vinegar

White vinegar is another natural cleaning solution that can lighten stains and remove unwanted colour from white bedding.

White vinegar is also often used to clean other household items such as kitchen sinks, floors, pans, grease, limescale, microwaves and coffee machines and kettles.

Mix a vinegar solution using the ratio of a half-cup of white vinegar to every gallon of water and soak your sheets for an hour before machine washing.

Liquid bluing

The expert explained: “The cool primary colour blue counters the warm primary colour yellow, so if your white sheets have a yellow tinge, rather than being stained with food or beverages, liquid bluing might be your best solution.

“Avoid directly adding the blue liquid to your sheets, as it could stain them. Rather, dilute it based on the instructions that come with the bottle and pour it into your washer along with your regular detergent.

“Never put liquid bluing in your washer’s dispenser because it can stain that as well.”

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is an “all-natural whitener” that contains citric acid.

Citric acid is a natural bleaching agent, so squeezing a lemon into your detergent before washing your sheets should help “remove yellow stains”.

Lemon juice also has the added benefit of eliminating odour and leaving your sheets with a pleasant citrus scent.

Borax

Borax is sold as a whitening laundry booster which can be found either online or in local supermarkets.

To whiten sheets using borax, mix half a cup of the white powder per gallon of water and then soak bed sheets in this solution for around eight hours. Then wash the sheets with a mild detergent.

Bleach

For really stubborn stains, it might be best to bring out the “big guns” – bleach.

However, homeowners need to be careful using chlorine bleach on white fabrics because it can react with body oils and dead skin cells and actually deepen the yellow staining on the sheets.

For that reason, it’s best to wash sheets with regular laundry detergent first. Then, run them through another wash cycle with half a cup of bleach.

Amy added: “Even if you can whiten your sheets, they may not feel as soft and supple as they once did. When they’re looking threadbare and feeling like a thin rag wrapped around your body, it’s time to look for a new sheet set.

“It’s usually best to wash your sheets about once a week, and this is especially true for white bed sheets. Any buildup of skin, oil, and dirt can sap their whiteness and leave them looking dull and yellowish.”

How to prevent white sheets from yellowing

  • Avoid eating in bed to keep spills from staining sheets
  • Launder white sheets separately from colours
  • Remove makeup before bed
  • Don’t use fabric softeners because they can deposit colour.

Warm and hot water does a better job of lifting stains from white and light-coloured linen or cotton sheets. It also has the added benefit of killing allergens.

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