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How to keep your white sheets white

How do you keep your white sheets white? I LOVE white sheets. I sleep with them and have for years. Occasionally I change to a pattern or darker colour, but mostly I always come back to them.

If you also love white sheets you’ll know that over time they start to yellow…. ewwww.

Why do they yellow? Well it’s pretty obvious – sweat, body oils, makeup and not washing them every 7-10 days will turn them a funny colour.

Did you think I’d recommend bleaching them? NO, do not bleach your white sheets or pillowcases. Bleach will whiten them temporarily, but over time the bleach only adds to the yellowing. It will also degrade the lifetime of your sheets.

So what should you use for a regular cycle wash?

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar

When washing your whites, add half a cup of baking soda with your detergent at the beginning of the wash cycle. Then, at the start of the rinse cycle, pour in half a cup of white vinegar (don’t worry – that odour will rinse out). Or if your washing machine has separate compartments for the rinse, just add the vinegar in there at the beginning.

If you need an intense soaking session to really get rid of the yellow try:

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • lemon essential oil
  • 2tbsp dishwashing liquid

After about an hour of soaking do a regular cool water machine wash. Then follow again with the baking soda/vinegar wash above.

For an extra whitening boost, hang your linens to dry in the sun. Sunlight has natural bleaching capabilities plus they’ll smell amazingly fresh!

There you go! Bet you’re off to revive your old bedding now. ♥ KC.


  • Elisabeth

    Hi Katrina,

    Thanks for all that! Very helpful!

    Just reading about the sheets made me remember something I learned when I was researching my family tree, and I thought you might find this funny (if not revolting! Ha ha). My great, great grandmother lived in the mountains of Northern England, and was considered the best laundress in the region. She had a secret way of whiting the sheets……. 🙂 Every night, when everyone used the po, she’d save the urine and store it in a big drum, then soak people’s sheets in the urine for a day, then wash them in boiling water….. BINGO! Bright white sheets! So you’ll probably want to try that… or not! Ha ha ha.
    Cheers, Liz (who lived for 6 years in Wagga and would love to move back! I miss it so!).

  • Elisabeth

    PS Where’d you buy that lovely bedspread and throw???

  • Claire

    How much lemon essential oil do you use?

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