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Top tips to keep white sheets looking bright and white

Sinking into a freshly laundered bed can make a long day feel a whole lot better. Overtime however your white sheets can start to dull or turn a yellowish colour which is disappointing and incredibly frustrating.

Things that can dull your whites or make them take on a yellow tone overtime:

  • build up of body oils, dead skin cells and sweat
  • discolouration caused by skin care products containing benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids
  • not removing your make up before bed
  • nicotine smoke
  • not washing your sheets frequently enough (every 1-2 weeks is recommended)
  • using too much detergent and fabric softener
  • overloading the washing machine
  • bleach
  • improper storage over time such as in plastic boxes or storage bags

We look at some of these in more detail and offer tips below to keep your white sheets looking white:

Reduce build-up of body oils and sweat

Showering before bed helps to reduce the amount of oils/sebum your body will transfer onto your sheets at night as a clean body will transfer less oils than an unwashed body. Wearing pyjamas will also help as less skin comes into direct contact with your white sheets.

Keeping your pets off your bed will help to reduce marks and yellowing as they also produce body sebum. If you can’t avoid them jumping up then try using a pet throw over your bed where they are permitted to rest.

Let your skin care products dry thoroughly

If you apply moisturisers or other skin care products or medications before bed these can transfer onto your sheets while you sleep, and overtime can create a build-up of product. Ensuring that they are well dried in before getting into bed will help to reduce their transfer to your sheets. Wearing pyjamas will also greatly reduce transfer.

Some skin medications containing benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids may even stain or bleach bedding. Wearing older pyjamas and socks that you don’t mind getting stained or bleached will help to create a barrier between you and your sheets while you are using these medications.

Remember to remove any make up from your face and neck before bed.

Make up and skincare products can stick to your bedding leaving them quite unsightly and overtime can discolour your sheets with a yellow hue.

Miram 540TC Luxury Cotton Striped White Bedding Collection

Treat stains straight away

The cardinal rule of white sheets is to avoid eating or drinking in bed as spills can happen. It may not be possible to wash the bedding straight away but treating the stain as quickly as possible is best to avoid staining and more work trying to remove it later. Use a cloth and a small amount of detergent to gently dab the stain until removed, follow up by blotting the area with a clean damp cloth to remove any residual marks or detergent.

There are some really effective spot-on stain removal treatments available to buy, simply follow their instructions. For white bedding ensure these spot-on treatments do not contain any bleach.

Wash your sheets as frequently as possible

Every 1-2 weeks is recommended to remove the build-up of oils, dead skin and sweat. Left for any longer periods of time between washes and these will stick to the fibres of the sheets more stubbornly, leading to a quicker yellowing over time.

Too much detergent and fabric softener

You may think adding more detergent and fabric softener than is recommended will give your garments a better clean, but the opposite occurs when using too much. Garments or bedding can feel stiff, soapy and traces of detergent residue can remain on the items. If in doubt you can always use the extra rinse function on your washing machine (not all models may have this function).

Overloading the washing machine

Garments especially bedding need room to move around when being washed to ensure the water and detergent penetrate and reach all areas of the bedding. You should be able to fit your whole hand in the top of the drum once your load is in.

Wash as per the garments recommendations, water that is too hot can strip the fibres and dye the product. Correctly separate your washing – no rogue dark socks that may give your whites a grey tinge or red garments to dye them pink! Make sure your washing machine drum is clean first, if it has a drum clean cycle use this regularly.

Hadar 200TC Egyptian Cotton White Bedding Collection

Pictured: Hadar 200TC Egyptian Cotton White Bedding Collection

Avoid bleach

Step away from the bleach! It is actually quite harsh on fabrics and while it may seem a good idea in the short term, over time bleach can cause your white sheets to turn yellow.

A great alternative is to add bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to the wash (as well as your detergent), these are both natural brighteners, these are much more environmentally friendly. Add the bicarb of sofa in with your detergent and add the vinegar to your rinse/fabric softener compartment. Lemon juice added to your wash along with your normal detergent can help to remove stubborn stains.

If you prefer to use ready to use products from your local shop or supermarket, look out for

Air dry where possible

Sunshine is a strong natural whitener. Where possible it is best to line dry your white sheets which is better for the fibres than tumble drying. The most cost-effective way and they’ll smell great!

If you can’t avoid the tumble dryer, drying on a low setting is best to preserve the lifespan of your white bedding in the long run.

SlumberSlumber Atik Egyptian Cotton 400TC Oxford Duvet Cover

Atik Egypt. Cotton 400TC Oxford Duvet Cover

Atik Egyptian Cotton 400 Thread Count Oxford Duvet Cover

The 400 Egyptian Cotton Oxford Duvet Cover from SlumberSlumber will add classic elegance to any bedroom. Wonderfully smooth and soft to the touch, this oxford style duvet cover is a truly luxurious addition to your bed that will give you a comfortable, peaceful sleep.

Offering unparalleled durability and quality, this 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sateen duvet cover will stand the test of time. The sateen weave will feel wonderfully soft and smooth against your skin.

  • 400 thread count 100% Egyptian Cotton
  • Oxford style border: 10cm
  • Natural and breathable
  • 7 year guarantee
  • Certified Egyptian cotton
  • Woven sateen for a lustrous sheen and silky feel
  • Washable at 40°C
  • Available in white
SlumberSlumber Rigel Cotton Sateen 600TC Deep Fitted Sheet

Rigel Cotton Sateen 600TC Deep Fitted Sheet

Rigel Cotton Sateen 600 Thread Count Extra Deep Fitted Sheet

This truly luxurious Cotton Sateen Fitted Sheet from SlumberSlumber will add luxurious comfort to any bedroom. Wonderfully smooth and with a soft silk-like feel, this 600 thread count 100% cotton sateen offers beautiful drape and will turn your bedroom into a luxury five star hotel room.

Stitched with a smart pin tuck detail for a timeless design and supreme quality.

This fitted sheet is extra deep with a depth of 38cm. As mattresses get deeper with the addition of mattress toppers and mattress protectors, mattresses need deep fitted sheets to allow for a good snug fit and to avoid the common problem of your sheets coming off during the night. We recommend you buy your fitted sheet to sit 2-3 inches (8cm) deeper than your mattress.

  • Available in white
  • Extra deep fitted sheet, depth: 38cm
  • 600 thread count 100% cotton
  • Natural and breathable
  • 7 year guarantee
  • Smart pin tuck detail
  • Woven sateen for a lustrous sheen and silky feel
  • Machine washable at 40°C
SlumberSlumber Miram Luxury Cotton 540TC Duvet Cover Set

Miram Luxury Cotton 540TC Duvet Cover Set

Miram Hotel Suite Luxury Cotton 540 Thread Count Duvet Cover Set

Enjoy a luxury hotel experience at home with this beautiful satin stripe luxury Egyptian cotton 540 thread count duvet cover set. A timeless classic, the sateen weave will feel wonderfully soft and smooth against your skin.

This luxurious 100% cotton bed linen gets softer with every wash so you’ll fall in love with it time and time again.

  • Available in white
  • Duvet cover set includes 1 duvet cover and 2 matching pillowcases (1 pillowcase with single size)
  • 540 thread count 100% cotton
  • Natural & breathable
  • 7 year guarantee
  • Certified Egyptian cotton
  • Satin stripe for a luxury hotel look
  • Machine washable at 40°C


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