Marina asked: How do I clean bed sheets? I am not sure whether I am using the incorrect product or water temperature, as my cotton bed sheets are still stained yellow from body oils and sweat after a hot wash with liquid detergent. There is also a waxy texture to the sheets in the soiled areas. Thanks so much!
The yellowing of bed sheets is, unfortunately, rather common. It happens when sweat or body oils accumulate in the fabric and can be made worse when the wash water isn’t hot enough. Your success in removing these stains will vary somewhat depending on the type of linens you use, any dyes present, and whether your water is hard or not. But in every case, you should see a great deal of improvement by following these steps.
You Will Need:
- White vinegar
- Clean spray bottle
- Laundry detergent
Steps to Clean the Sheets:
- Before you wash the sheets, spray the affected areas down with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. This pretreatment will begin to work on the stains before the wash.
- Load the washing machine as you normally would, adding a quality laundry detergent. You don’t necessarily need the most expensive one, but try a proven name with a great detergent concentration or proven stain power if you’ve been using discount brands.
- Add OxiClean to the load, using the amount indicated on the label.
- Allow them to soak in the hottest water possible for a few minutes if your washer allows. If not, set your washer to the longest wash cycle.
- Before the water begins to cool, begin the wash cycle. In the end, hot water is the key to removing these oily, waxy, yellowish buildups.
- Dry as usual. If the stains are not gone, you should see a vast improvement in their appearance – especially as you continue to wash them following these steps.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Never use fabric softener if you have problems with yellowing. Both liquid softener and dryer sheets will add to the build-up and make the problem worse.
- If possible, hang the wet sheets out in the sun to dry. The sun acts as a natural bleaching agent.
- Stains tend to be worse on synthetic fabrics. Consider 100% cotton sheets next time you buy, and you’ll find they’re less likely to stain.
- If your linens are white, Bluing has a time-honored tradition of making whites their whitest. It’s worth a try!
- If grease and oil stains are a problem, try replacing your laundry detergent with a grease-fighting dish detergent for a wash cycle. Just a squirt or teaspoon should sufice for a large load. Dish liquid creates a lot of suds, so you don’t want to use too much.