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How to Whiten Bed Linen - Sheets

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By linda

My Laundry Question

How do I get my sheets & pillow cases white again?

Share a Little Background Info

My white cotton pillow cases are yellowed from use, perspiration, hairspray, etc. I've tried bleach, it didn't work, just made holes in the pillow cases. What home remedy can I use to brighten them up without damaging the cotton?

Lessons Learned

I've tried soaking in bleach, but that made holes in the fabric.

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)


Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with chlorine bleach. It is quite powerful and can actually cause more yellowing from overuse. I'm afraid nothing can be done about the holes except a decorative patch.

For your linens that have yellowed from use, there are several things you can try - success depends on how badly the stains have set in. Begin by mixing a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach ) and water following the package directions. You'll need to have a large tub or use your bathtub or washer for soaking. Completely submerge your linens and allow them to soak for 24 hours. Then wash as usual. Hang your linens outside to allow the sun to help whiten them. The ultraviolet rays from the sun provide whitening/bleaching power.

It may take several treatments of the oxygen bleach and sunshine to restore the whiteness you desire. Another tip is to use a color remover. Rit (of dye fame) makes a color remover that will help to remove the yellow and brighten your linen.

I have put together some tips for new white linen or clothes that will help you keep them looking their best.

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