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This is Exactly How to Make Your Sheets White Again

This is Exactly How to Make Your Sheets White Again

Posted by The Canningvale Team on 10th Jul 2023

We’ve always had a thing for white sheets and bedding, there’s just something about it, like sleeping on a cloud! But if you don’t look after them properly, your once-bright dream sheets can become a dull yellowed nightmare.

Fear not weary sleeper, we’re here to breathe new life into your white linens and reclaim their once dazzling whiteness! Say goodbye to yellow and hello to bright white with our super simple guide on how to make your white sheets bright again.

A Dull Nightmare:
Why Are Your White Sheets Turning Yellow?

Why do white sheets turn yellow in the first place? Well, it’s a combination of factors - your natural body oils, sweat, tan and moisturisers, product build-up and even the water you use to wash them! But no worries, we have the antidote!

Calling in Reinforcements: The Secret Weapon for Whiter Sheets

📸 by @whitewickerabode featuring Vintage Softwash Cotton Quilt Cover Set and Sheet Set

If you think bleach is the answer for the whitest of white sheets, hold your horses! Turns out, reaching for bleach is actually one of the worst things you can do to keep your sheets white and bright. Bleach contains chlorine, which chemically reacts to protein stains like sweat, body oils, etc, creating more of the yellow and dinge that you’re trying to avoid. Bleach can also make your cotton sheets lose their softness and feel stiff and hard.

So let’s save bleach for emergencies and explore some better (and more eco-friendly) alternatives for your white bedding.

The (Not So Usual Suspects)

Baking Soda: can be used to whiten clothes and bedding. It can neutralise many common stains and tints on your sheets

White Vinegar: is another great option for whitening. Brew your own pre-soak formula that can be used on its own, or alongside our other sheet whitening options

Lemon Juice: a powerful natural whitener with a fresh citrusy smell to boot!

Liquid Bluing: the blue counteracts the yellow hues to create a crisp white. But be careful, because this stuff stains. Be sure to follow the instructions very carefully because you’ll need to dilute it quite a bit

📸 by @ashleejayinteriors

The Power of Prepping: Pre-Treatment Techniques

📸 by @ashleejayinteriors


Before diving headfirst into the battle against yellow, it’s crucial to prep your sheets properly. Soak your white sheets in a solution of vinegar and warm water:

Pre-soak in warm water for 1 hour, use 1/2 cup of white vinegar, or
Pre-soak overnight in cold water, use 1/2 cup of white vinegar

This pre-treatment combo will loosen up stains and get your sheets ready for the next step!

The Art of Laundering: Washing Your Way to Brightness

Now that your sheets have undergone their pre-treatment ritual, it's time for the main event: the laundering extravaganza. But remember, bleach is not invited to this party! Instead, opt for warm water and a quality detergent specifically formulated for white fabrics.

📸 by @ashleejayinteriors


1st Wash Cycle

📸 by @ashleejayinteriors


Add 1/2 cup of baking soda with normal detergent at the beginning. Then, at the start of the rinse cycle, pour in half a cup of white vinegar or lemon juice. These two natural whiteners also have a softening effect, so you can skip the fabric softener.

2nd Wash Cycle

If you notice any odour or detergent buildup, just start the second cycle. No need to use any detergent, just rinse the odour away.

And remember, it is absolutely crucial to separate your whites from colours! Imagine they're rival soccer teams - no mingling on laundry day!

Conquer the Yellow: Tips to Maintain Whiteness

📸 by @whitewickerabode featuring Vintage Softwash Cotton Quilt Cover Set and Sheet Set

Congratulations White Sheet Warrior! You’ve now successfully revived your sheets to their former glory (and without resorting to bleach). But how do you ensure they stay radiant? Here are a few of our top tips to keep your whites white:

Regular Washing: don’t let the battle against yellow be a once-in-a-blue-moon affair. Wash your sheets regularly (at least once a week) to prevent the build-up of any nasties that cause yellowing in the first place. And if - god forbid - a stain happens, get those sheets in the wash ASAP!

Sunshine Therapy: Harness the power of the sun! Hang your freshly laundered whites outdoors to let the sun work its magic and further enhance the work of the soda and vinegar (plus - drying in fresh air just smells and feels good!). But make sure to avoid direct sunlight for extended periods - too much sun can damage the fibres of your linens.

Skip the fabric softener: as much as we love softness, fabric softeners can just leave residue and actually hinder whiteness. Opt for dryer balls or dryer sheets specifically designed for whitening if you’re tumble drying.

No eating in bed: we get it, late-night cravings can strike, not to mention the classic brekky-in-bed. But resist the temptation to eat in bed. Food stains are not your white sheets’ BFF. Keep the dining area separate from your precious bedding to avoid potential disasters.

With these methods up your sleeve, you’ll conquer the battle against yellowed sheets in no time and soon be waking up to the brilliance of bright white bedding!

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