How to Clean White Sheets

This article is for you if you are looking for ideas on how to clean white sheets. There’s nothing better than slipping into a bed with fresh, clean sheets. Unfortunately, keeping your sheets looking white and bright can be a daunting task.

This blog post will share tips on cleaning white sheets, so they always look their best. Follow these simple tips, and you won’t have to worry about your white sheets turning yellow again.

The Best Whitening Products for Your Sheets

White sheets usually start turning yellow and looking shabby after a few months. These changes are generally a result of sweat, body oils, and other fluids released while you sleep. You can use a range of whitening ingredients to remove yellowing or discolored patches and extend your bedsheets’ lifespan.

With proper washing and whitening, you can expect your sheets to last up to five years, depending on the fabric quality. Read on to learn how to get white sheets white again with various whitening ingredients:

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is one of the most readily available whitening products. The juice contains citric acid, a natural bleaching agent that effectively whitens your sheets. You won’t have to worry about the adverse effects of chemicals on your fabric.

Lemon juice will also leave a pleasant citrus smell on your bedsheets. Here’s how to whiten sheets with lemon  juice:

  • Squeeze out the juice from one lemon and pour it into the washing machine alongside your usual detergent.
  • Wash your sheets normally

Alternatively, mix a half cup of lemon juice with a gallon of hot water. Leave your sheets to soak in the solution for at least 60 minutes and up to a day.

Next, remove your sheets and machine wash them normally. You should not use this alternative method with silk sheets.


Borax is a versatile cleaning agent, and one of its common uses is to eliminate stains and whiten sheets. Here’s how to clean white sheets with borax:

  • Mix a half cup of borax with a gallon of water
  • Leave your sheets to soak in the solution overnight
  • Wash your sheets normally.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Vinegar is another versatile household product, and you can use it to meet numerous cleaning needs. On the other hand, baking soda is popular for its powerful odor-neutralizing properties. Washing sheets with vinegar and baking powder delivers sparkling results.

Simply follow the steps below:

  • Add a half cup of baking soda to your washing machine’s drum.
  • Add white vinegar to the line in the fabric softener dispenser. Ensure the baking soda and vinegar do not mix.
  • Wash your sheets as usual

Alternatively, add a half cup of vinegar to one gallon of hot water and soak your sheets in the solution for at least one hour. Then machine wash the sheets normally.


Bleach is a universal whitener. It can even whiten your colored fabric if it accidentally spills on the fabric. Bleach contains chlorine, which chemically reacts with proteins in your sweat, body oil, and other body fluids, causing yellow spots on your fabric.

Bleach is not the best whitening ingredient because of this chlorine reaction. Nonetheless, you can still use tiny amounts of bleach to eliminate yellow stains from your sheets. Here’s how to bleach white sheets:

  • Start by machine washing your sheets with regular laundry detergent.
  • Add a half cup of bleach to the machine’s drum before running a regular cycle.
  • Consider running a second cycle with regular detergent and hydrogen peroxide if the sheets still have a bleach smell.

You can also whiten your bedsheets with non-chlorine oxygen bleach. Using this bleach with every wash and cleaning your sheets every fortnight will keep them looking new and fresh.

Liquid Bluing

If you are still wondering how to clean white sheets, you cannot go wrong with liquid bluing. The blue color counteracts the yellow shade, restoring your sheets’ bright white color. Fabric manufacturers even use liquid bluing in the white fabrics’ finishing process.

However, the bluing effect usually wears off gradually with every wash. Here’s how to wash white sheets with liquid bluing:

  • Mix a teaspoon of liquid bluing with a gallon of water. Avoid adding this whitening ingredient directly to your fabric. You don’t want the potent chemical to stain your fabric.
  • Add the solution and your detergent to your washing machine’s drum.
  • Machine wash your sheets normally.

You should not use bluing in your machine’s automatic dispenser, as the product may stain it. It is also not advisable to use liquid bluing with fabric softener, bleach, or other laundry products except laundry detergent. Most laundry products adversely react with liquid bluing, resulting in stains.

It is critical to read the liquid bluing manufacturer’s instructions before using the product. Diluting instructions usually differ between brands.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another versatile whitening ingredient. Besides using it to white and brighten clothes, it is also excellent for disinfecting laundry and removing stains. It is an oxygen-based, chlorine-free bleach.

While it is not as potent as chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide is a safer option for humans and the environment as it breaks down into water and oxygen. If you want to brighten your soiled white sheets, you can’t go wrong with hydrogen peroxide.

This whitening ingredient works best with another cleaning agent, such as baking soda. However, you should not mix hydrogen peroxide with bleach and vinegar. Instead, start washing with your active cleaning solution and do the second load with hydrogen peroxide to neutralize the odors or buildup.

Here’s how to bleach sheets in a washer with hydrogen peroxide:

  • Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your washing machine’s drum before adding the sheets. You can also place this whitening ingredient in the bleach dispenser if you’ve placed the sheets in the washer.
  • Machine wash your sheets normally. 

Tips to Make Your Sheets White Again

You may not achieve the best results if you don’t know how to clean white sheets with bleach or other whitening solutions. You need to do the right thing at each stage of the washing process to ensure the desired outcome:

Pre-soak Your Sheets

Pre-soaking your sheets in warm water for about one hour will help keep your bedsheets white and crisp. Add a half cup of white vinegar for every gallon of hot water. Alternatively, mix a cup of lemon juice or a half cup of borax with one gallon of hot water. Next, pre-soak your bedsheets in the solution for at least 60 minutes.

First Cycle

Avoid using a fabric softener when using a whitener in the first cycle. Lemon juice or vinegar can serve as a fabric softener. During this cycle, you can use a half cup of baking soda, half a cup of bleach, or the juice of one lemon. You may also use a teaspoon of liquid bluing added to a gallon of water or white vinegar added to the line in the fabric softener dispenser.

Second Cycle

If the first cycle leaves your fabric with residual odors or buildup, use a hydrogen peroxide rinse before running a detergent-free second cycle. Diluted liquid bluing can also do an excellent job at this phase.

Line Drying

Line dry your sheets in the sun if possible. Sunlight has natural bleaching properties, and it will help enhance your white sheets’ brightness. However, you should not leave your sheets in the sun for over two hours, as excess heat can compromise the fabric’s quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the answers to the common questions people ask about washing white sheets:

Can I use bleach on white sheets?

While you can use bleach to brighten your white sheets, ensure you use it only on washed white sheets. Unwashed sheets may have sweat, body oil, and other body fluids with protein. Bleach reacts with protein, resulting in yellow patches on your fabric.

What causes yellowing on my white sheets?

White sheets turn yellow over time due to the build-up of sweat and body oils. Washing them regularly with detergent may not eliminate the build-ups effectively. So, it is important to learn how to clean sheets with whitening ingredients such as bleach, baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and liquid bluing to restore their brightness.

Should I wash bedsheets with cold or hot water?

You don’t have to worry about damaging your white or light-colored cotton sheets when you wash them in warm or hot water. The high temperature helps kill allergens.

However, you should read the manufacturer’s care instructions before cleaning your sheets. The cleaning process may vary depending on the material of the fabric.

Related: What Temperature To Wash White Clothes

Will hydrogen peroxide stain my sheets?

Hydrogen peroxide is generally safe for fabric. However, it may not deliver the best results for some fibers. Synthetic fibers react poorly with hydrogen peroxide, usually resulting in a yellow tinge or stain.

How often should I wash my bedsheets?

White sheets need cleaning more frequently than other sheets. If possible, wash them every four to five days because stains set in faster on white sheets. Ensure you rinse your sheets properly to prevent a yellow, unsightly patch.

Bottom Line

Cleaning your white sheets may seem daunting, but with these simple tips, it can be straightforward. Follow these tips to keep your white sheets looking bright and clean.

Get Help from Professional Dry Cleaners

You may have learned how to clean white sheets with various whitening ingredients, but you still cannot achieve the desired results. In that case, you should consider leaving the task to a professional dry cleaner.

Martinizing Dry Cleaners is your go-to dry cleaner for all your dry cleaning needs in East Bay. If you need more information about washing white sheets and are in the East Bay Area, call us at (925) 528-4688 for a free consultation, and we will help you make your sheets white again.