Cleaning Bed Sheets

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 203 Posts
October 18, 2006

Washing Bed SheetsDon't forget to clean your bed linen at least once a month. Everyone sweats, whether it's through their head which will release oils, or their feet or any where else and this will leave odors. Your body also has dead hair and skin that falls anywhere including your bed. So maybe cleaning the linen once a month might not be often enough for some, I guess it depends on how active you are.


By LRP from Lowell, MA

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December 16, 2004

Tips and ideas for washing, drying and folding sheets. Post your ideas.


August 1, 2008

Mend small rips and tears in pillow cases and sheets before you throw them in the washer. This will prevent them from ripping more.



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

May 12, 2010

My husband leaves a yellow stain on the sheets, the full length of his body. It takes awhile to show up on new sheets but after awhile it is definitely there. It also shows up on the pillowcases and seeps into the pillow. Other women have told me they have the same problem.

It isn't an oil stain since he doesn't have oily skin. Does anyone know what it is or how to remove the stain? I have tried pure Javex and Borax, but that doesn't remove any of the stain. We would really appreciate knowing what the stains are and how to remove them. Thank you in advance.


By Emma Thebeau from Moncton, NB


May 13, 20102 found this helpful

Is it possible this is a nicotine stain? Does he smoke or chew tobacco? I have never heard of this.

May 14, 20100 found this helpful

My husband neither smokes nor chews tobacco and he does the same thing. I think it's sweat stains because he sweats at the least little thing. Also, I finally convinced him to use a washcloth when he showers and that has helped a little. As a last resort, I bought navy sheets.

May 14, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for the answers, yes he does smoke, but I also found three of my friends who's husband do the same and they don't smoke.


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May 14, 20100 found this helpful

I am not sure how to remove the stain other than safe non-chlorine bleach weekly but if DH showered (sloughing with a washcloth as already mentioned) before going to bed each night it would greatly help. If, after a couple of weeks this does not help at all it may be caused from medications he might take or foods he eats.


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May 14, 20100 found this helpful

I have heard of this. Not sure what it is, but I have always heard that a cup of Cascade dishwasher detergent in a hot wash along with your usual detergent works well. I have had several people tell me it worked for them. This may lighten light colored sheets. Probably not a good idea for dark colors. Good Luck!

May 14, 20100 found this helpful

These are probably sweat stains a lot like ring around the collar stains which can easily be removed by rubbing a cheap shampoo into the stain shampoo is designed to break down body oil and sweat. The cheap stuff that leaves your hair feeling really dry because it over strips your hair that is the best.


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May 14, 20100 found this helpful

Does he eat a lot of food containing turmeric--or take curcumin supplement capsules? Check this:

It mentions staining on sheets that sounds almost exactly like your post.

May 16, 20100 found this helpful

I have used a product called BIZ as a pre-treating method for yellowing on the underarms of my husband's white t-shirts. I soak for 2 hours, then throw in wash with regular detergent and more Biz and it gets them out.


Also, hang in the sun to dry. I'm thinking it's some type of perspiration stain on the sheets.


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May 16, 20100 found this helpful

I think his body is detoxing during the night.

While I have no solution for that, I would try Dawn dish washing detergent for the stains. I just used it to remove human urine stains from decorative rugs around the commode.

If it were my husband, and he would never do this mind you, I would take him to a holistic healer and find out what he's detoxing during the night. This is really important for his health.

Lots of luck!


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March 22, 20110 found this helpful

A lot of men don't use wash cloths when they shower. They need to. Also you might just have to give in and change the sheets every few days. If he showers in the morning maybe you can get him to change and shower at night instead.


This could just be dead skin cells that he isn't getting off because he doesn't use a washcloth.

March 22, 20110 found this helpful

If none of the soaps succeed in removing this from the sheets. I too agree with the poster about seeing what "toxins" are being released from his body.

About removing spots from the sheets. I'd put a half gallon of milk into a bowl or bucket, and soak the sheet for SEVERAL hours, then it wring out, and throw that into your washing machine. No need to
rinse it first, just wash normally after wringing out the milk.

Protein to protein adhesion occurs, and the milk proteins will adhere to the substance that is secreting from his body and break up the molecules enough to enable the washing afterward to remove this "protein secretion" in the fibers of the sheets.

July 26, 20130 found this helpful

Okay, this happens to ME all the time! I'm the stain-maker! But so is my son, age 23! I'm 54, menopausal, with night sweats sometimes. I have an olive-toned complexion. My son's skin is more fair and I don't know if he sweats at night. I use washcloths when I shower, but maybe I should scrub more?!


Weird. I only know that this happens with my son when he stayed at an apartment I owned in the city last year. He moved, and I took the sheets off his bed later and saw that they looked like mine!

January 4, 20180 found this helpful

My husband sweats profusely at the drop of a hat. My new mattress is stained because his sweat goes through his t-shirt, the sheets and a mattress pad to permanently stain my mattress. Of course all of those things are permanently stained yellow but I can't afford to buy a new mattress every few months. This drives me crazy !!!! He drinks alcohol excessively and has used tobacco in the past. He gets up to urinate several times per night. We have been married 25 years and this has always been a problem.

June 10, 20180 found this helpful

The same happens to me - its a light primrose yellow colour - I have night sweats - often wondered what it is - I don't smoke - I'm female. Wish someone knew what it about, anyone I've told just dismisses it.

August 31, 20180 found this helpful

Excessive alcohol intake will cause this Your liver is trying to tell you something ...

December 3, 20180 found this helpful

Some people seem to release the melanin pigment from their skin into their sheets and some clothing. My husband does, and I would see this regularly back years ago when I worked for a while as a maid in a hotel. I've found it almost impossible to remove, actually.


I'm going to see if dry cleaning a bedspread will help---it's up around the top where his neck rubs a bit. I'll also try some of the suggestions here. Thanks much for those!

July 11, 20191 found this helpful

A Very common problem caused by sweat.
Baking soda with the soap powder then white vinegar with the rinse.

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May 3, 2010

How often do you change or wash your bed sheets and mattress pads?

By Maryeileen from Brooklyn, OH


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May 3, 20100 found this helpful

I've always changed my sheets weekly, no matter what. I change the mattress pad about every 3 months except in the summer when I do it about every other month.


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May 3, 20100 found this helpful

Wash sheets weekly or biweekly. Keep your sheets and mattress pad clean by washing them often. Once a week or every other week should be enough for regular cleaning but stains should be treated immediately. The mattress pad should be washed often as well. Good luck.

May 4, 20100 found this helpful

I have always wondered what others do on this too. I think weekly on sheets is close to the norm. Mattress pads can go longer in between washings. I suppose it depends on a lot of variables like climate, how much a person sweats or if you have hot flashes, or if you have oily skin or use oily body lotions, if you have dust mite allergies (I do), if you wear PJ's or sleep in the buff etc. I saw Oprah say on her show once that she does them every other day. But she is Oprah and can do that. LOL. Or have that done, I should say. When I was younger, I had oily skin on my face so I would change out the pillowcases more often to prevent breakouts.

Here is an article about it:

Martha Stewart says:


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May 4, 20100 found this helpful

I change my sheets once a week and wash the pad once a month. I change the pillow cases twice a week because of hairspray and cosmetics.

May 5, 20100 found this helpful

It depends on if you suffer from dust allergies. If you do, a minimum of once a week for both is recommended. Otherwise, 1x a month for the mattress pad and every two weeks for the sheets will probably do.


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May 7, 20100 found this helpful

I do my sheets and quilts/blankets once a week and the mattress pads once a month--sometimes more often if that darned, big, sloppy, slobbering dog of ours sneaks up onto my bed and wreaks havoc.


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May 24, 20100 found this helpful

I change the bed sheets every week. Every month I wash the blankets, pillows, and mattress cover.


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May 24, 20100 found this helpful

I believe on Oprah the cleaning expert said that once a week for sheets and pillow cases was the norm.

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July 14, 2008

Does anyone know how to get body oils out of sheets and towels? My husband has very oily skin and the oils seems to set in our white sheets and towels. I have tried soaking and bleach to no avail. They still have a noticeable yellow cast to them. I don't want to change sheets twice a week or buy dark towels. His latex pillow is also a nightmare! I would appreciate any help, thanks!

Nancy from Michigan


By suzin (Guest Post)
July 14, 20080 found this helpful

Not sure about body oil, but when we have oil stains on our clothes I use regular Dawn dishwashing soap on them, and they come out. I wet the garment area, use a toothbrush to apply full strength Dawn on the area, scrub it some, and put it in the washer.

By kerry (Guest Post)
July 14, 20080 found this helpful

Try washing with inexpensive (Suave or VO5) shampoo for oily hair. Add a cup of vinegar to the rinse water.

July 14, 20080 found this helpful

My husband has oily skin also. The only thing that has helped (and it certainly isn't much) is to convince him to clean his neck each night with cotton balls soaked in astringent. It's sold for teenage acne. That has saved his new pillow but not much help with yellow-cast sheets. Will follow your posting for solution(s).


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July 14, 20080 found this helpful

My soon to be X was like that due to medications. Sometimes in middle of night I would have to get up and change sheets as they were soaked. I would wash with reg laundry soap and add 1 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup to 1 cup of baking soda. I learned to wrap a large white bath towel around his pillow and use 2 to 3 pillow cases and place 2 oversize white bath towels directly under his side under the fitted bed sheets. Good luck.

By Linda (Guest Post)
July 15, 20080 found this helpful

I have used a cup of ammonia added to the normal amount of detergent when my husband had been working with motor oil and wiped his hands on his jeans. Ammonia is a grease cutter and deodorizer. The jeans would come out completely clean and freshened. Vinegar is a grease cutter also, but not quite heavy duty enough to handle motor oil. If adding vinegar doesn't do the trick, you might be happy trying the cup of ammonia.


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July 18, 20080 found this helpful

Bleach is not a grease cutter, ammonia is. Just don't ever mix them!

By Tina (Guest Post)
July 21, 20080 found this helpful

Arm & Hammer in the yellow box. Add it to your detergent, filll the washer with warm water for a medium sized load and allow to agitate a couple minutes to mix, add the clothes and turn off washer for about an hour. After soaking set level to high and continue filling with warm water and allow it to complete the cycle.

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August 22, 2005

I have a small closet where I keep bed linens. The closet smells okay, but the linens smell musty or moldy after just a few days, and I must wash them (again) before use.

Any ideas, please?
Linda, FL


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August 24, 20050 found this helpful

Hi Linda! I'm certainly no expert on this..heehee...but are you sure your linens are absolutely dry when you fold them and put them away? Also those little sachet packets are excellent. You could also try placing dryer sheets (new or used) in between your linen. Just a few thoughts. Hope you find a solution :)

By Claudia (Guest Post)
August 24, 20050 found this helpful

I agree, you need to be sure everything is bone dry before you stack it up and put away. However if you live in Lousiana or some other humid place, that might not fix the problem. I also use dryer sheets in my drawers and closets, but I think that will not 'cure' your mold/mildew problem but will just mask the smell. Sorry I can't offer anything else.

August 24, 20050 found this helpful

There are dehumidifying agents out there, some reusable (you bake it when it gets moist), some not--like Damp Rid. (It turns into liquid, then you dump it out.) Clay cat litter absorbs moisture, and it's cheap. Baking soda absorbs odors. If you don't already have cat litter, you could try getting some that has baking soda already in it. You could put it in an open box, bowl, or cloth bag (like a pillow case, knotted) in the closet while it's empty overnight to absorb moisture, then put the linens in the next day. (Hmm, sounds like it'd work.) If you use a box or bowl, it should be wide, so it has more litter exposed to the air. The cloth bag would be best, I think.

By Carol (Guest Post)
August 24, 20050 found this helpful

I use Charcoal brickets to get rid of the humidity in my closets. Then To rid the musty smell you might figure out a way to safely set an open cup (it doesn't take much vinegar)of vinegar, it will rid your closet of the musty smell.

By Shanna (Guest Post)
August 31, 20050 found this helpful

It may not help the humidity, but as a general deoderizer, baking soda works great. Dry it into a mold and hang it, or put it in a small container that is open, or has openings in the lid. The baking soda actually absorbs odors, so it will need to be chages periodically. Use this trick anywhere you have an odor problem, litter box, bathroom, refridgerator etc.

February 19, 20110 found this helpful

Go to Lowes and buy some odor gel. It is under $4.00 And works great in my linen closet and also in the laundry room where my kitty litter pan is. There is no overpowering aroma to this gel like sprays and it's easier to use. Just lift off the top. Keeps out the bad odors.

Works for me,

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May 12, 2009

Any suggestions on how to get massage oil out of sheets?

By Candace Kowal from Scottsdale, AZ


May 13, 20090 found this helpful

Try washing them in hot water, with ammonia added to your regular detergent.
Ammonia is a great grease dissolver.

May 21, 20091 found this helpful

You need something to dissolve the grease. Try spraying them down with Mean Green (it's approved as a laundry pre-treatment) and let them sit, then wash in warm water with a strong detergent.

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