Why Do Pillows Turn Yellow?

Ever wondered why your pillows start to become yellow? Pillows turn yellow because of sweat. Other causes also include sleeping with wet hair, lotions, and oils on the skin and thus, the color of your white pillows will eventually change if moisture, natural body oil, or sweat is being absorbed or left on them for an extended period of time.

Disadvantages of keeping a pillow with yellow stains

If your pillow has a few yellow stains, you can still keep using it unless it has developed some brown stains because with time these bed pillows will also grow dust mites, allergens, and other bacteria with time, so it’s better to replace them.

How To Prevent Yellow Stains?

You can prevent a lot of yellowing by using a pillow protector that works as an extra layer between your pillowcase and your pillow and can help catch some of your sweat before it reaches your pillow. This is especially important for those who sweat a lot while sleeping. In addition to using a pillow protector and washing your bedding regularly, going to bed with dry hair and a few hours after you after you’ve applied your nighttime skincare products can also help control yellowing.

How To Wash Pillows?

Most pillows made from feathers, cotton, polyfill, or synthetic materials can be laundered in the washing machine. You can also check whether your pillows can be machine washed by simply looking at the care instructions attached at the seam. Here we have a few suggestions you should try to whiten your yellowed fabrics or pillows.


 It’s best to use bleach as it can almost whiten every fabric. To whiten your sheets or pillows, simply toss them into the washer and place them on a cold cycle. Next, add approximately 1/4 cup of bleach to the wash and let it continue on the cycle. Be sure to add the bleach once the drum is filled up.


 Lemon works as a natural bleaching agent as it contains citric acid. Simply add around 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice to your ash cycle after placing your linens. Lemon juice is also excellent for eliminating odors from clothing. Later, either let them air dry or put them in the dryer.


Baking soda is another all-natural odor-neutralizing ingredient, has more whitening abilities, and is safer to use than bleach. You can add about 1/3 cup of baking soda to the washing machine to give your sheets a quick and easy brightening. This will also boost the cleaning power during the laundry cycle.


You can use vinegar to remove stains on your bed pillows or other linens. As with soapy buildup, dirt and food particles can become loosened when they come into contact with vinegar, allowing the water to carry them away. Mix a gallon of water with one cup of vinegar. Pour the solution directly onto the stain or work it into the stain with a clean cloth. Then, wash your clothing as usual.

How To Wash Sweat Stains?

 When you see sweat stains on a shirt or any other home linen, it is tempting to throw them out. Odds are you have a jug or bottle of white vinegar at your home and that’s all you should need to rid your clothes of these unappealing stains.

Mix Vinegar with Water 

To keep your linens away from sweat blemishes, start by mixing vinegar and water in a small bowl. One-quarter cup of vinegar with one cup of water will be enough.

Soak the stain in the mixture

Pour your vinegar and water over the stain or dip it in the mixture. Make sure the stain is fully coated, then allow it to soak for 30 minutes.

Rinse & Wash

Once the mixture did its magic, rinse the area with water. If the stain is gone, you can move the particular linen into the washer. However, make sure it has completely vanished before you move your cloth to the dryer. 

How to remove sweat stains from pillow cases

  1. Check the care label: Before attempting any stain removal method, read the care label on the pillowcase to ensure you don't use any methods or products that could damage the fabric.

  2. Pre-treat the stains: Start by pre-treating the sweat stains. Mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Apply this solution directly to the stained areas on the pillowcase. Gently rub the solution into the fabric using a clean cloth or sponge. Let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow the vinegar to break down the stains.

  3. Wash the pillowcases: After pre-treating the stains, wash the pillowcases according to the care instructions. Use the hottest water setting allowed for the fabric. Add laundry detergent and an oxygen-based bleach, such as hydrogen peroxide or OxiClean, to the wash. These products can help remove sweat stains effectively.

  4. Check before drying: Before drying the pillowcases, check if the stains are completely gone. If any stains remain, avoid drying them as the heat can set the stains permanently. Repeat the pre-treatment and washing steps until the stains are gone.

  5. Dry the pillowcases: Once the stains are removed, you can dry the pillowcases as recommended on the care label. If possible, line drying is preferable to prevent any remaining traces of stains from setting.

  6. Iron if necessary: If there are still faint traces of sweat stains after washing and drying, you can try ironing the pillowcases. Place a clean cloth or paper towel over the stained areas and iron over them on a low to medium heat setting. The heat and pressure may help lift the remaining stains.

Remember, it's important to act promptly when dealing with sweat stains to prevent them from becoming more stubborn over time.

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