How to keep your bed sheets white

Jonathan Warren

Author: Jonathan Warren



How to keep your bed sheets white

Are you wondering how to get sheets white again? Aren’t we all! After all, there’s nothing more inviting in this world than a set of crisp, freshly washed white bed sheets. 

In this blog, we’ve done all the hard work for you to uncover the best naturally occurring products to keep your white sheets white! From uncovering discolouration causes to highlighting the most recommended stain prevention methods and how best to wash your white bedding, read on for everything you need to know about how best to care for your white bed sheets.

Why does white bedding turn yellow?

Before you panic that you’re doing something wrong, let us set your mind at ease. It’s totally normal for white bed sheets to naturally turn slightly yellow over time. This can happen due to a number of reasons, including body oils, sweat, dead skin cells, sebum and even moisturiser or lotion used post-shower.
But all is not lost! While sheets may have a tendency to age and discolour, there are many steps you can take to stop your sheets losing their whiteness.

What can you do to prevent white bed sheets from staining and discolouring?

Let’s kick off with an obvious one – you need to wash your sheets regularly. As explained above, one of the main reasons white sheet discolour is due to our natural bodily oils and fluids so you need to clean them away before they take hold. Just because you can’t see a stain doesn’t mean your sheets aren’t fresh. Make sure you’re cleaning your bed sheets at least every two weeks, but every week is best!

Another top tip would be to make sure you are drying and storing your sheets properly. Air drying your white sheets in natural sunlight is always the best course of action as the sun has a natural bleaching effect to keep them looking sharp! Once your sheets are bone dry, be sure to store them neatly in an area that is airy and free from any humidity.

In terms of what you can do yourself to prevent white bed sheets from yellowing, we would recommend showering before bed and wearing pyjamas. This will ensure you are rinsing away any dead skin cells and excess oils before you climb under your duvet and then placing a cosy barrier between you and your sheets to lessen any transfer from your skin.

What natural products are available for whitening bed sheets?


Never overlook the cleaning power of the humble lemon! A fantastic natural detergent, lemon juice not only leaves your bed sheets smelling delightfully citrusy but it also contains citric acid which kills bacteria and is well known for its bleaching abilities. 

Simply add the juice of one lemon into your washing machine along with your chosen washing detergent. Or alternatively, for a more intensive clean, soak your sheets in a solution of 120ml of lemon juice and a gallon (4.5 litres) of hot water for a few hours or overnight before commencing with your usual washing routine.

Baking soda and vinegar

Much like lemon juice, vinegar also contains citric acid and bleaching qualities. It is also a fantastic stain remover as it can dissolve tough grease and oil stains. And when combined with baking soda, which is a naturally strong odour neutraliser, these natural products make for a formidable cleaning pairing!

Proceed with caution, however, as these products should never be mixed together as they will simply cancel each other out. Instead, add half a cup (136g) of baking soda into the drum of your washing machine and then add some vinegar into your fabric softener compartment before washing as usual for best results. 


While it may have an intimidating name, borax is simply a naturally occurring mineral and a common cleaning product. A brilliant stain remover and odour destroyer, borax also yields excellent sheet whitening results. 

All you need to do is add half a cup of borax with a gallon (4.5 litres) of water and soak your sheets in the mix overnight before washing as usual in your machine.

How should you wash white bedding to keep it white?

Cold Rinse

Before you undergo your new sheet washing routine, it’s crucial you subject your white bed sheets to cold water treatment at first – especially if they are displaying visible stains. This is because warm water can make stains caused by bodily oils and fluids even further, while cold water helps to stop them in their tracks and gives your bedding the best possible chance of revival.


If you’re ready to go all-in on your sheet whitening crusade, a pre-soak is a great place to start. After reading the care label on your sheets, soak them with warm or hot water for at least an hour or overnight with either lemon juice, vinegar or borax as detailed above.


It’s time to nominate your whitening warrior! For your first spin, choose between the juice of a lemon or baking soda in the drum of your machine and white vinegar in your fabric softener dispenser.


While not always possible, air drying your bed sheets is by far the most recommended option for keeping them fresh, crisp and clean. Not only will drying your sheets outside help to remove any odours, but it will also prevent them from fading or becoming dull as the sun will naturally whiten them. 

After more trusty cleaning tips?

If you want to learn more about how to care for your bedding and bedroom furniture, why not have a read of our Fabric & Furniture Care Guide?