How to Keep White Sheets White

After a long hard day at work or school, there’s nothing quite like climbing into a crisp, clean, bright, and white bed. If your sheets are turning yellow or gray, the feeling is never quite the same and certainly not as welcoming.

Keep reading if you want to know how to keep white sheets white. It’s easier than you think, but it’s more than following a set of washing instructions, though.    

Why White Sheets Turn Yellow?

It can be pretty disappointing to watch your pristine white sheets and bedding turn a not-so-attractive shade of yellow or gray over time. There are many reasons why this happens. Knowing what those reasons are will allow you to change your habits, understand how to keep sheets white, and enjoy your crisp, white bedding for longer. 

White sheets turn yellow because of:

  • A build-up of sweat and body oils
  • Skincare products containing benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids
  • Storing your bedding on wooden shelves or in cardboard boxes
  • Exposure to greasy cooking residue or nicotine smoke
  • Not using enough or using low-quality detergent and fabric softener
  • Overloading the washing machine
  • Not washing frequently enough
  • Using bleach

Certain fabrics, such as cotton, are also easier to keep clean than others. 

The 3 Secrets to Good Sheet Care at Home

How to Keep White Sheets White

If you’re worried about how to keep your top-quality Egyptian cotton sheets as white as the day you purchased them, the answer is a simple one. It’s also an inexpensive and environmentally friendly solution. You need a few basic items you’ve probably already got around your home: baking soda, vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and lemon juice.

Regular Wash

For every regular wash, you can safely use vinegar and baking soda. These two ingredients will help keep your sheets bright and white. Not only that, but they’ll also soften your sheets and not damage the fibers. 

Make up a mix of 1/4 cup baking soda together with a small amount of mild liquid detergent. Wash in cool to warm water, preferably on a gentle cycle. You add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. Put the vinegar in the fabric softener compartment of the washing machine.

If your washing machine doesn’t have a fabric softener compartment, add it directly to the wash as soon as the wash cycle is over before the rinse cycle starts. 

Intensive Wash

If your bedding is already yellowed, a different course of action is necessary. Dissolve 1 cup of vinegar, the juice of one lemon, and two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in a tub of warm water. Soak the bedding for at least half an hour. When the time is up, remove the bedding and do a regular cool water machine wash.

You might also be able to bring your dingy sheets back to life by soaking them overnight in a borax solution. 

One final tip, possibly the oldest in the book, is to add a little bluing to the wash. You’ll find bluing in the laundry aisle of your local supermarket. The blue gives the optical illusion of bright white because it counteracts the yellow hue.

Sun Drying

Drying your newly washed bedding outside in the sun is recommended. The sun’s UV rays have a bleaching effect, which helps to keep your white sheets white. An added bonus is that they’ll smell incredibly fresh and clean. 

The Pros and Cons of Using Bleach

Bleach is one of the most popular methods for lightening fabric but is not the ideal whitening solution for your bedding. It contains chlorine which reacts to protein stains such as body oils, vomit, and sweat. The reaction creates a yellow and dingy stain. It will also make your cotton sheets lose their softness and make them feel hard.

Ways to Remove Stains From White Sheets

Stained bedsheets are not a pleasant sight. While some stains can be removed easily by washing your white sheets in detergent and water, others require extra effort. 

Should stains happen, the easiest way to respond is to grab a clean sponge or rag. Get it wet, and apply a small amount of dish soap. Then wring it out well before you use it to spot treat the stain.

If the stain still doesn’t budge, try soaking it in white vinegar for around half an hour. Then wash on a cold wash cycle and line-dry. Repeat the process straight away if the stain hasn’t disappeared completely.

For oil-based stains, you’ll need lots of hot water and detergent. Use regular laundry detergent along with three squirts of dishwashing liquid and 1/4 cup of Borax. Borax is a white powder that is well known for its ability to remove stains and odors. It is one of the best ways to keep bed sheets white.

How Do Hotels Keep Sheets White?

How to Keep White Sheets White

One aspect of staying in a hotel that’s always very refreshing is how a room is kept spotless with freshly laundered towels and crisp, white bed sheets. How amazing would it be if you could emulate this experience in your own home? Believe it or not, it is possible, and we’re about to share some closely guarded secrets. 

You might not have the staff to take care of your cleaning, but you can achieve that hotel bedding look by following some simple cleaning tips.

  • Use cold water unless you have really heavy stains.
  • Don’t overload your machine.
  • Hang your sheets in the sun to dry.
  • Consider using gentler products such as natural whiteners like baking soda during a wash cycle or white vinegar during a rinse cycle.
  • Add a protector that goes over your pillow and under your pillowcase to catch excess oils, dirt, and sweat. 

By incorporating these tips, you can keep your white sheets white for longer. 

Is it time you got a brand new set of white sheets for your bedroom? Check out our hotel sheet collection.