How to get the yellow out of my sheets

Updated April 17, 2017

Sheets can accumulate unsightly yellow stains for various reasons, especially from oil and sweat released from the body at night, although washing powder and hard water can contribute as well. If your sheets are white, these stains can be especially apparent. Thankfully, there are some effective products on the market for getting the yellow out of your sheets. Because it takes time for sheets to become yellow, it may take some before the yellow is gone. The process is one of trial and error, testing products one at a time until you find one that makes the most powerful difference.

Add baking soda in the wash cycle and a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle as natural home remedies in your laundry routine. Inspect your sheets to see if the yellow is disappearing. If you aren't seeing the results you'd like, continue onto more powerful store-bought products.

Pre-treat your sheets by soaking them in a powdered oxygen bleaching product combined with water for 24 hours.

Wash sheets with less detergent than is called for, with cold water, as hot water can set stains. Add a powdered oxygen bleaching product according to the manufacturer's instructions. Don't add fabric softener or other chemical products. Add an extra rinse cycle.

Dry sheets on low heat without using dryer sheets.

Examine your sheets to see if the yellow stains are gone. If they are dramatically better, repeat the process again the next time you wash your sheets. If they are not better, use a more powerful product the next time around, such as a rust-removing laundry additive or bluing, a laundry product containing a trace amount of blue dye.

Rewash the sheets using a more powerful product, such as a bluing or rust-removing additive, during the rinse cycle. Use one product at a time, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Inspect the sheets again for yellow stains. If the yellow isn't gone, but there is a marked improvement, continue the successful product in the future until the yellow is completely gone.

Rewash the sheets using bleach, if other products aren't working, making sure to use colour-safe bleach for coloured sheets. Add bleach when the washing machine is filled with water, using about half the amount called for in the manufacturer's directions.

Inspect the sheets once again, noting if there is an improvement in the yellow stains. If there is, continue to use bleach on a regular basis until the yellow is completely out of the sheets.


Always separate whites from darks so that your sheets are washed with like colours. If you have hard water, invest in a water softener to help reduce yellowing of sheets.


Don't mix products, especially ones with powerful chemicals, as they may cause damage to your sheets or have other dangerous effects. Instead, test them separately one at a time for their effectiveness.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Powdered oxygen bleaching
  • Washing powder
  • Colour-safe bleach
  • Bluing
  • Rust-removing additive
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About the Author

Based in Florida, Anne Boynton has been writing nonfiction articles since 2008. Her articles appear on various websites. Boynton has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2006.