Sweaty Sheets: Dealing with Sweat Stains

Dear Home Ec 101,
I have been married now for two years and for two years I have had problems with my bed sheets coloring. I’m not sure if it is my husband perspiration or what, but the fitted sheet & pillow case on his side of the bed discolors. (ex: our sage green sheets have yellowed on his side).  I wash our bedding every Friday and alternate different sets so it is not a lack of cleaning them.  I have tried spraying stain lifters on the sheets before I wash them but they come out the same.  Do you have any prevention or stain treatment tips?
Sweety loves Sweaty
Dealing with Sweaty Sheets

Heather says:

It sounds as though the acids and salts from your husband’s sweat are reacting with the dyes of your sheets. Rest assured the stains you see aren’t lingering dirt, it’s a chemical change. Since cranking down the AC is an expensive and wasteful solution I highly recommend switching to white sheets and spraying his side of the bedding with a vinegar / water solution before laundering. Do not use chlorine bleach, but an oxygen bleach such as Oxiclean may be a product worth trying to keep your new white sheets from yellowing.

how to remove stains from clothes

Click the picture for more tips!

If you aren’t ready to shell out for new sheets simply make the bed and use pillow shams. If your husband tends to be a heavy sweater, make sure you use a high quality mattress pad to protect your mattress.  Good luck.

Send your household questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.


  1. Linda S. on October 24, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    My sweat makes my pjs and sheets yellow. I use Nature Clean’s Oxy Stain Remover (a natural bleach). It works beautifully and I’ve never had this remove colour from material, it just removes the yellow. I have used other natural bleaches and they all work well. I get them from health food stores.

  2. Vi on October 6, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I have a duvet set with metallic gold designs S on it. The gold designs on the pillowcase turned green since my boyfriend sleeps on it. What can I do to fix this or to remove the greeness? Or turn it back to gold? Any hep would be appreciated!

  3. LuAnn on April 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Only my husband’s pillowcase is affected, but I feel like such a horrible house keeper when I make the bed with a pillow case darkened by sweat/oil. I tried something new this morning to remove the stains. I brought a big pot of water to boil, put in some Shaklee dishwasher detergent and dissolved it, added a bit of dish soap, and then put the pillow case in to soak. The water got really murky. I could actually see that the oil and sweat releasing. I only let it soak for about 15 minutes. Then I dumped the whole thing into the washer and I laundered it in hot water. The stains are now gone! I don’t know if it would have to be Shaklee dishwasher detergent or whether any would work, but it is worth a try with your own brand.

  4. sammyBObammy on February 12, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Ok, I’m seeing several tricks, but have you tried each to evaluate which tricks work best? I really want to try lestoil.. also.. baking soda and vinegar react together.. I’m confused as to why some people are diluting it with water.. and also, would it be better to maybe put baking soda directly on stain and then add the vinegar? and could you add borax or salt or ammonia to the mix? Which of these chemicals can be mixed together to have more effect and which are dangerous when mixed together? I know Bleach should never be mixed with ammonia because it creates a toxic gas.. but beyond that I don’t know. I am not a chemist.. I also know that the surface of the skin should be acidic to prevent free radical damage, (internally, you do not want to be acidic.. most cancer patients have and acidic ph of 4.3, you should be 7.4 which is neutral), so using an alkaline soap would not be that great of a problem solver.. I’ve used, dawn, oxiclean, borax, blueing, bleach etc.. and for some reason, I don’t like that my clothes are adopting my natural odor.. when I clean them I expect them to not have any residue that would allow. Yes I do launder at a laundro mat.. and I noticed some machines make my clothes smell weird. I just want to maintain my clothes as best as possible. ALSO… WHY DOES TIDE WITH FEBREEZE TURN FROM BLUE TO ORANGE WHEN USED WITH BLEACH? DOES THIS ORANGE COLOR TRANSFER ONTO MY WHITES?

  5. Rob S NoVA on December 8, 2013 at 11:20 am

    If you have night sweats, please make sure that it isn’t sleep apnea and/or diabetes. Both are life threatening. If you or your spouse are heavy snorers, and in particular stop breathing for a few seconds, go get help.

  6. Thisworks on September 12, 2013 at 6:37 am

    I have the same problem. What I’ve found that works…set up a top-loading washer with the yellowed sheets and pillowcases…whatever easily fits. Pour in a good bit of oxyclean or equivalent. I will sprinkle 2 cups over a bottom sheet and 2 pillowcases, for example. Then using as hot of water as possible I set it to soak level. I make sure the water level is over the sheets. I use a wooden paddle/paint stirrer kept just for this to stir up the sheets and make sure the yellowed parts are under the water. The hit water will dissolve both the oxyclean to make sure it’s evenly distributed and also help break up and remove the oils/yellowing. I will soak this overnight. Drain the washer and run as a new load the normal way. Note: with my new washer the deep water soak isn’t deep enough…I load buckets of hottest tap water to top it off. If I had a front loader, I’d plug a clean utility sink and use that or a large bucket like a clean garden trug. Hot water, oxyclean, and soaking works.

  7. Alison Martin on August 3, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Hi everyone, I’ve just got new sheets/pillowcases and they’re plum/purple coloured and yes on my husband’s side it’s all greasy and much darker!!! Help! What can I use to wash or soak before washing without bleaching the sheet and pillowcases? Thanks in advance.

    • Heather Solos on August 5, 2013 at 8:13 am

      I would simply dampen that area with a little bit of detergent as a pre-treatment. Long term- if you can, grab a couple more pillow cases in that color and change his more frequently. You’re getting a build up of oil. If he has acne, it’s likely that changing the pillow case frequently may even help with that.

    • LJo on August 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      Anything oily can be pre-treated with dish soap (the kind you hand-wash dishes with, like Palmolive). It’s designed to get grease and oil out. Just squirt some on the oily part and rub the fabric against itself to help break-up the spot. Throw in the washing machine & wash as normal. I have an HE washer, though, so I put it on extra rinse when I do this. You have to do this each time though, because if you dry the fabric with an oil stain, the heat will often set it.

    • Angela Elser on September 28, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      for those who’s husbands side of the bed has body residue – try having him bathe BEFORE bed. A quick rinse after a long day is refreshing and good sleep hygiene and a courtesy to the one having to deal with the linens!

      • Zoe on October 14, 2017 at 2:20 am

        It would be a mistake to assume poor hygiene is the problem. My husband always bathes before bed every single night (he’s a VERY clean and courteous guy.) Nevertheless, there is a dark, oily looking stain on his side of the fitted sheet. I’ll be trying the hot water/oxy-clean soak people have mentioned above to see if I can get it out of our new cream-colored sheets, as they are incredibly soft and comfortable and it drives me nuts seeing them stained this way. My courtesy to him is not making him feel like I think he’s gross or dirty, when the fact is he always gets in bed squeaky clean and smelling like…well, like a freshly washed man!

  8. mary on August 1, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I have sweat stains (from my husband) on my mattress, anyone no how to get them off? I have thought about hiring a steam cleaner, would that work?

  9. Guest on November 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    My husband and I have the same problem with his side turning yellow. We have beige sheets with a black bear pattern so bleach isn’t an option. However, I have found that Lestoil works to get out the stain. My mom had used it to get grease stains out of my dad’s work clothes, so I figured since the sweat/oil was a grease of some sort I might as well give it a try. Unfortunately, I didn’t get all the stain (I thought I had it pretty much covered), so I can tell what didn’t get touched with the Lestoil. I am thinking about soaking his side of the sheet, as well as his pillowcase, in a small amount of Lestoil the next time I wash them so I get the whole thing back to its original color.

  10. Cher on September 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap will get out the yellowness. I figured this out months after trying to wash out my husbands yellow pillowcase and it still worked. We have white sheets with a green pattern and it doesn’t bleach the pattern or anything, it just lifts off the yellow stain. I swear by this. I put the solution on and let it sit for about 30 minutes and then wash

  11. StaceyBull on August 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

     @steph4411 Thanks Steph!  I will give that a try.  I found that the Mr. Clean magic erasers to seem to help in the shower, but I go through like 3 of them every time I clean it, so it’s a very pricey solution.  I also tried oven cleaner spray (recommended by a friend who was a professional house cleaner) which seems to work really well!!  Just melts all the nasties off.  However, we just moved and are now in a bathroom with no window and no fan, and the oven spray is too toxic to be in the room without being able to air it out!!!  Vinegar and Dawn is my next try!

  12. momdoesthelaundry on June 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    It could also be an acne medication or cleanser that cause the color change.  If he uses any product with benzoyl peroxide, it woud discolor the sheet.

  13. Chloe on January 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    BLACK STAINS ON SHEETS & TOILET SEAT- I am a female and I frequentlly wear black pjs or black bra or black thong undies. I awake with BLACK stains on my sheets no matter what color my sheets are. All of my sheets are 100% egyptian cotton from 300 thread count to 800 thread count. Mostly I have white sheets. I am mostly concerned about what health condition may be causing this. If I wear just black bra and undies to bed, just where my bra was touching bed is stained. If I wear black pjs, then all of where I was laying is stained. Its is more prevelent after I shower and lotion up (use different creams and oils but notice more with oils or oily creams) right before bed but still happens if I showered that morning & didn’t shower right before bed . Now, a very confusing issue added to all this sheet staining is….. After I shower and lotion up, or after sun tanning or after sweating, I use the restroom and later on, not right away, maybe even the next day or so… I notice a blackish stain all over the toilet seat where I sit. NOW, obviously I am not wearing anything on my bottom when doing my business so…… WHERE IS ALL THIS BLACK COMING FROM??? Is it from my chemical composition? Am I acidic? Is there a serious health problem that I should be concerned about? By the way, I have tried everything to clean the toilet seat and it would not come out. It was like a charcoal stain. I just replaced toilet seat with a new one. Does ANYONE have any answers or direction for me? Thank you!

  14. AK on November 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I wish that I could blame my husband, but I am a woman who is responsible for the yellow sweat stains on our white sheets, pillow cases, and duvet covers. Thank you for the helpful tips. I’ve tried bleach and will now try to salvage our bedding with some better solutions.

  15. StBull on November 22, 2011 at 11:09 am

    So glad it’s not just me!! I’ve been married almost 2 years and we have gone through 3 sets of sheets!! For a while I was wondering if it was the soap he uses, or the shampoo, or something, but we switched all those out and it still happens!! We have had tan, beige and gold sheets and they all turn different colors (either bleach out, or turn kind of greenish and dirty looking). It drives me crazy! I never noticed it before we were married, but he always had really dark colored sheets–blue or gray, and they were the cheaper, not 100% cotton type. Since we have nicer sheets now, it seems like it happens very quickly!! I will have to try the Oxi-clean, baking soda route, and the next set of sheets might have to try white (although he does the same thing to white t-shirts, so that probably won’t help). So glad this isn’t just me!! As a side note–he also greases up the shower unbelievably quickly (Cleaning every week isn’t enough and it’s so thick and greasy it almost has to be scraped off–disgusting, I know). Any ideas on how to help that??

    • steph4411 on March 24, 2012 at 2:45 am

      i’m not sure if you found a sololution yet, but my miracle cleaner for the shower is 50/50 white vinegar and DAWN dishsoap. warm it in the microwave or on the stove till hott-ish, and put it into a spray bottle. spray and let sit for an hour. you may need to let it seit longer if it’s as bad as you say. this works and it’s cheap. good luck!

      • steph4411 on March 24, 2012 at 2:45 am

        oops, forgot to mention that this is for the shower, not sheets. however, you could try it 🙂 wouldnt’ hurt thats for sure

  16. Christen on November 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I am seeing a lot of people say that things get yellow, has anyone experienced cream sheets turning green? The sheets and mattress cover on my husbands side have started turning green. The stain does not come out no matter how much I wash. We’ve been married over three years and I don’t recall this being a problem until the last year. Could it be related to sweat and oil coming off on the sheets as well do you think?

  17. KellieScarbrough on September 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Has anyone tried yellow since that’s the offending color on all other colored sheets?

    • Alyson on June 23, 2012 at 12:14 am

      @KellieScarbrough Yes. I have tried a butter yellow color sheet in our house and it still turns a different color. They were really nice egyptian cotton ones too.

  18. alison_b on August 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    After soaking your sheets in OxiClean, do you then wash them normally? Or do you just rinse and dry? Thanks!

  19. alison_b on August 24, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    After soaking in oxyclean, do you then wash them? Or just rinse and dry? Thanks!!

  20. Nusch on May 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    After reading all these comments I don't know what to do about my sheets. I don't know if the stain on my husband's side of the bed is actually due to sweat or oil. He takes a shower every night right before going to bed. He sleeps with only his underwear on, and there is a HUGE stain on the fitted sheet. We had white sheets and he turned them pink! Then we switched to dark red sheets and he's turning them black! I am not sure it is an oil problem, because if it were, I'm assuming he'd suffer from acne and he has never ever suffered from acne, not even during high school. So I can only think it's sweat… He gets mad at me because I don't stain the sheets, but he says it's because I wear pajamas and he doesn't. I ALWAYS add Oxi-Clean to my laundry loads, and I wash the sheets with hot water. I don't care if the color becomes dull, I just want the freaking stain to go away! I don't know what to do anymore! We have a memory foam mattress topper and on his side it has become orange! My side is white as it was when we first bought it. This is driving me crazy!

    • caryncaltrider on November 10, 2011 at 10:48 pm

      I know how you feel! My situation is the same. I use white sheets and can only keep them for 6 months until they look so yellow I have to get rid of them. I wish I could get them white again on his side, as mine is just as white as the day I purchased them.

  21. nomorepitstains on May 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I have a problem with yellowing armpits on my white t-shirts and, to a lesser extent, bedsheets. I'm not sure if these problems are the same or associated but the solution I've found works in both cases: Oxi-Clean. Mix the recommended amount of the powder in water for soaking and let it soak in the bathtub or other container at least overnight, if not 24 hours. Whites come out bright white again. I haven't had a problem with odor or oily residue but purely as far as stains go, I can assure you this works when nothing else has. I would imagine it works for the other cases as well as I haven't found much this stuff doesn't work on.

    *A word of caution though: like many of you, I assumed that since my whites were stained, a natural solution was to use bleach. When that didn't work, I added MORE bleach in the next load. I could have swore it was actually coming out of the laundry machine WORSE! At least I had enough sense not to throw the clothes in the dryer after and really set the stains. What I learned more recently is that bleach actually reacts with proteins in our bodily fluids like sweat and oils to cause DISCOLORATION (those yellow stains on your whites will actually come out DARKER and more discolored after bleaching). Now it made sense why my armpit stains were actually coming out worse and since I've STOPPED using bleach and STARTED using Oxi-Clean, no more yellow stains on my whites!

  22. Dustin on May 11, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Man oh man….I'm a 26 year old male and I have this problem. It is TERRIBLE, I have some amazing Egyptian Cotton sheets and they are RUINED after a few weeks. I can't get the stains out and I have to buy new sheets at least twice a year if not more. It's very annoying and embarrassing when my lady friend makes surprise visits.

  23. Anna on April 20, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I discovered something that I am super excited about, and maybe it can help someone else as well. My husband really stinks up his pillowcases (and sometimes t-shirts as well). I guess it's hair/body oil. I have tried so many things to try to get the smell out, and have even thrown away some items due to the smell. Now I tried soaking a pillowcase in straight ammonia, then laundered it as usual, and it WORKED!

    • HeatherSolos on April 20, 2011 at 9:51 am

      I'm glad you've found something that works, please just be sure to run at least a load or two of clothes in your washer before you decide to bleach a load of whites.

  24. Sioux on April 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Try soaking your sheets and pillowcases in lemon juice and salt (sea salt works best) and then letting them sit out in the sun for a few hours. You can water it down for really large stains. Then launder as you would normally. This also works if you have any rust or blood stains to remove but if you have bleached prior to trying this, it won't work, the stain will be set for life.
    I'm glad my hubby isn't the only stain leaver- I thought it was weird!!

    • Karen on April 6, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      OMGosh!!! who has all this time to soak, pre-soak, spray, lay giant sheets out in the sun, wash them etc.!!! I am lucky I can yank them off the bed every 7-10 days throw them in wash and get a bed remade before collapsing in it at night!!!

      I love the comments but I don’t know how you’all have time for this!

  25. Kay on March 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    My husband has very oily skin, but I never had a problem with the sheets being stained until we added a memory foam mattress topper to our bed. He also sleeps on a memory foam pillow. Now the sheets and pillowcase on his side of the bed are darkened by body oils. I read somewhere that memory foam doesn't absorb oils, which is why they stain your linens, instead of being absorbed into your mattress. I guess its better to have stained sheets that can be easily replaced than to have a stained, oily mattress.

  26. Kairbear on February 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    OMG…My husband's oily skin has destroyed our green sheets and our comfy white down comforter, and the pillows. I googled this problem and am relieved to find he is not the only one. Now for the solution! I will attempt the ideas shared on this site and let you know if anything works. Will start with a bar of Zest and a shower that ends with cold water for my hubby tonight!

  27. Carole Langston on February 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I'm so glad I read all of this! I was afraid my husband had some horrible disease and was nearly afraid to ask a professional. I can deal with stained yellow sheets now much more easily. He also will be much relieved to find out it's a common problem. Why men???

  28. Anabelle on November 8, 2010 at 10:48 am

    It's not only a man's problem… I'm a woman, and my side of the bed is always more stained than my boyfriend's. I suppose I have acidic sweat!

  29. Mary on October 22, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I was recently able to get my son's white sheets white again. After many attempts at getting the yellow sweat stains out I recently put 3 cups of white vinegar and 2 cups of bleach into the wash with his sheets and mattress pad. I then let them sit in the washer for about an hour soaking. To my surprise the sheets came out of the wash white with not any yellow stains at all.

    I hope that this will also help you.

  30. Sophia on September 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Have a very hot shower before bed, then just before you get out turn the water cold or nearly all the way down this process will open and clean the pores and the cold will close them preventing oil or bacteria to get in. This also helps reduce acne.

  31. AndreaNdenver on August 2, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I asked my doctor why my husband was so oily and my skin is so dry (we have the same problem with oil-stained sheets on his side). My doctor said higher levels of testosterone makes the skin produce more oil, and that is why women use more lotions since our skin tends to be dry.

    My husband showers at least twice to three times a day to combat the sweat/oil skin problem. Unfortunately, his pillow case still looks like a used french fry pouch. I a about ready to try kitty litter.

    • Enfuego774 on August 17, 2010 at 8:56 am

      I am a 32 year old male who has the same type of sheet yellowing problem. Rest assured that it is indeed an oil based problem and not a sweating problem. I almost never sweat. I was recently in Phoenix. I barely perspired when it was 115 degrees outside. I have been yellowing sheets since I was a little boy. My mom would buy me black sheets or sheets with characters (mickey mouse, star wars) so that the yellowing was less noticable. Somehow my wife is having a hard time finding Star Wars Sheets for our queen bed…haha. We have tried everything (changing my shower time, changing what I eat, using bleach, oxyclean, dish soap) and it doesn't matter. I have resided to the fact that it is futile. My side of the bed will seemingly always look like I poured olive oil on it. Frustrating but true.

  32. RandomCreativity on June 29, 2010 at 9:17 am

    In college I worked in the kitchen at a fast food restaurant, and my uniform would always end up greasy. I would wash it separate from my other laundry, with hot water, and add a generous amount of liquid dish soap (like joy or dawn) to the washer. If there were chunks of grease on it, I would scrub those out with a dry wash cloth before washing. It really helps.
    Now, my husband has an incredibly oily head, so his pillow gets oily in 2 days. I put a protector over the pillow under the pillowcase, and on the mattress. I wash our blue sheets separate from other laundry in hot water, and add dish soap and borax to each load. I also wash his pillows every other week.
    The oil also somehow leeches the blue dye out of the pillowcases and onto the white wall behind the bed (we don’t have a headboard) so I try to scrub the wall down when I do the sheets every week.

  33. Tonya on May 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Are men the only ones with this awful problem? I noticed that my sheets and pillow cases were yellowing about 3 years ago but only on my husband's side of the bed. He showers before he goes to bed so I'm not sure what the cause of this staining is. I accidentally found out from one of his co-workers that he used dip while away in GA for training for about 3 months. I'm not sure if he is still using dip but this could explain why his drool is yellow and is staining my sheets. Ladies— it could either be oily sweat or your husband could be using dip without you knowing. 🙂

  34. lotsofopinions on May 12, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Oily sheets! I am so glad I'm not the only one dealing with this. My husband has oily skin, and even though he wears a clean t-shirt to bed each night, the sheets/mattress covers/pillowcases/pillows still get yellowed (and smelly?) after a time.

    I also have a problem with fabrics (especially t-shirts, sheets, and pillowcases) retaining or developing a certain odor as they are stored in the closet. I believe this is connected to the oil problem.I have had some luck with the recently released Febreze laundry additive with this odor. In the past I had tried vinegar and baking soda, with no luck.

  35. Some Greaseball on April 18, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Some of you have mentioned Proactiv/acne treatments – benzoyl peroxide is a strong oxidant and will bleach almost any fabric. This was the bane of my adolescence, because I assumed it was the salicylic acid pads, and didn't figure it out until many years and ruined shirts and towels later. BP *is* also very effective as an exfoliant/antibacterial, so follow the Acne.org advice (apply a thin layer over a large area), and use white shirts, white towels, white sheets… Don't even touch anything colored until you've washed your hands thrice.

    As to oil / sweat stains, my observations:
    Vinegar can add some major kick to detergent just by virtue of lowering the pH if you have hard water.
    It's also rather deodorizing and fabric-softening when used as a fabric softener – pick a highly-distilled not-too-stinky variety (the *cheapest* brand at the local store is actually best; Heinz et al. seem to have more 'flavor' left in), and the vinegar scent vanishes in the dryer. Vinegar isn't an oxidant, and it doesn't seem to bother most dyes (good for black T-shirts).

    Bleach can sometimes help by virtue of its high pH, saponifying the stains. But you have to deal with the general yellowing caused by its strong oxidation – this is what 'bluing' was invented for but I haven't seen it on sale since I learned what it was good for.

    Borax or OxyClean can help add a little bit of 'brightening' oxidation to the wash, and also help deodorize/etc. They seem useful for prevention on whites – a little oxidation each wash keeps gunk from building up…

    Shout works pretty well (appears to have switched from an enzyme to detergent formula recently, both have worked equally well), but I'm still getting that effect from the old 'Wisk' ads on my greasy pillowcases – the sprayed area is clean, but any spots missed stay dark. Eww. It's not easy to spray 100% of the fabric without using half a bottle each.

    UV (hanging to dry) would probably help break down the oils, but I'm not equipped for that here, so still looking for tips.

  36. Zach Smith on April 13, 2010 at 3:50 am

    This might have been mentioned already but use a mattress protector. It repels moisture so you can easily clean your mattress. Having a mattress pad that can regulate temperature also helps. Some mattresses do not have inner vents. As a result, night sweats happen.

  37. Cheesus on March 4, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Why don't women contribute to this bedtime-sweat-stain phenomenon?

    • JB on October 28, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Ok I’m embarrassed to say… I’m the culprit here, not my husband. I have night sweats, and regardless of the air conditioner being on it still happens. It used to be so bad that in the middle of the night I would have to get a towel to lay over my damp sheet in order to continue sleeping and not wake my husband. As a result, my mattress cover is sorely discolored on my side. Since we use detergent with OxyClean, our sheets are Ok.

  38. Wanda on February 16, 2010 at 12:16 am

    My boyfriend also ruins my bed sheets. The colored sheets look like someone threw clorox on them or have yellowed spots on them. Thanks for your comments, I thought he had a real bad disorder of some kind. I'm just glad he does not have a bad illness. I can put up with the sweating. I will buy only white sheets and save the nice color and decorative sheets fore company. Great – problem now solved…….

  39. Anj on January 6, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    My boyfriend had a set of pale blue cotton sheets that were really sweaty and then sat forgotten in a laundry basket for a few months… during this time the sweat oxidized into a gross dark beige-brown. I washed them twice and even soaked in 1/3 water, 2/3 vinegar for twelve hours with no results. Regular bleach didn't work either. The one thing that worked was concentrated chlorine pool shock! I dissolved 1 teaspoon in a bucket of warm water, and soaked for 3 hours (do this outside or keep a window open cause it's strong). The sheets are now completely white, but that's much better than the disgusting blue-brown-yellow they were before… use this technique at your own risk though since it's quite harsh and could ruin your material.

    • Ella on August 15, 2015 at 5:23 pm

      That was mold, which is why the bleach took care of it. My son packed up his sheets and towels in a bag when he came home from college, and left it there over the summer – ew – luckily I recognized mold and it bleached out quite well. However, his sheets (from home) stink and his pillowcase cover is yellowed and gummy. I tried many of the ideas above, I think pouring shampoo directly on the fabric was the best, but there are still traces left.

      Of course, you need to be careful with the bleach, it will weaken the fabric, even if used as directed, and I’ve had sheets fall apart over time (it works great on female stains, but it’s hard on sheets!). And only on white sheets, cause it’ll pull out the colors unevenly on colored sheets. (Those cute little flowers turned an odd greenish color) BUT no blood stains!

  40. HeatherSolos on December 9, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Whatever you do, be sure you use a pillow protector to keep the drool out of the filling. 🙂

  41. guest on September 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I have the same question — about removing perspiration stains from the mattress itself. Has anyone used a product and had success with it for this?

    • Some Greaseball on April 18, 2010 at 7:38 am

      I've used an enzymatic product for pet stains to deodorize my cloth-over-urethane-foam mattress cover (washable, but a pain to remove). It didn't do anything noticeable immediately, but now that I have the sheets off and in the wash, some of the most-yellowed spots look less yellowed.

      The silver-citrate "Germ Control 24" from Home Depot is pretty good for keeping fabrics fresh, but doesn't prevent yellowing. And the citric acid component can sting the eyes if used on a pillow/pillowcase. (I now sack my pillows in waterproof cotton-over-urethane 'protectors' available on Amazon or from WalMart, with "bamboo" flannel pillowcases over that, followed by the actual pillowcase… the "bamboo" rayon seems to let go of grease relatively easily, and provides some felting/air so it doesn't feel like sleeping on plastic.)

  42. Guest on August 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    how do i get sweat stains out of a pillow top mattress

  43. Carpet Cleaning NY on May 3, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Yes. A good oxidation agent will definately help rid yourself of yellowing from sweat. OxiClean and Clorox II are the most popular oxidizers.

  44. The Chatty Housewife on March 7, 2009 at 2:59 am

    We get this and it’s from spot treatments like Oxy10 or Clearasil Acne Cream. It’s like your body absorbs it and it’s excreted in your sweat and drool. I combat it with white white white and bleach!

  45. Jennifer on March 5, 2009 at 6:43 am

    My husband has a very oily complexion and I’ve never been able to get the stains out. I suspect my daughter has the same complexion. Maybe I’ll save this and print it out for when she sets up her own housekeeping. I simply gave in and bought separate sets of sheets. I have a pristine set for houseguests. And the clean but stained ones are for us.

  46. Keter on March 3, 2009 at 1:05 am

    I have the same issue with my husband. White sheets turn yellow, too, and I’ve tried everything. An experiment with hydrogen peroxide – a powerful oxidant (as is OxyClean) – made the yellowing worse, revealing that this is a true oxidation reaction, the sheets are “rusting” – only with cotton it manifests as yellowing, like papers can yellow over time. Acids from the skin are at issue. Here’s an approach that will help:

    1. Ask hubby to shower before coming to bed. Buy him an alkaline detergent bath bar to use, like Zest. Soap, moisturizing bars or washes make the problem worse.

    2. Dust the sheets daily with cornstarch-based powder – these are sold as deodorants/sweat absorbers. Don’t use talcum powder near where you’re going to breathe – talc and lungs are a bad combination. Read the label. Many of these powders also contain baking soda – that’s even better.

    3. Definitely use a quilted mattress cover, one that will breathe so moisture won’t build up, but also thick enough to soak up any sweat before it reaches the mattress.

    I was able to slow down the process this way but not stop it entirely. White and green sheet seem to be the most affected by this condition, browns/oranges/reds seem to be the least affected. Of course, yellowing will show up least on really dark colors.

    If sheets are really, really oily, normal detergents won’t get it out after a certain point. If yours have passed that point and you want to try to salvage them, try soaking the sheets in a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water. Use a “degreasing” dilution – read the box it comes in. TSP is a serious chemical and can cause burns – be sure to wear gloves (and an apron or old clothes) and keep kids and pets away. It probably won’t strip the dye in your sheets, but it could – be aware of that before you start. Pretesting may not reveal this, because you are dealing with a piece of damaged fabric, and not all parts of it may react the same way. After soaking (20 mins – 1 hr.), rinse thoroughly in a deep sink or bathtub (wear gloves) and then wash twice in the washer without detergent to remove any residue. (I learned this trick years ago, when dealing with a very elderly relative’s laundry.)

  47. jag on March 2, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    We’ve got blue sheets and they kept bleaching out, both on the pillow case and on the fitted sheet. Then a friend who used Proactiv said that she has a hard time finding sheets that won’t bleach out (she wears it at night), and I’ve figured that my husband using a similar product may be doing it. We’ll be going with white next time too.

    • Lindsey on December 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm

      By boyfriend is such a drooler!!! I have white pillows though… and he still leaves yellow spots. So I don't want to get white sheets… I'm thinking yellow sheets. So the yellow stains will blend in better. Ill let you know how it works out.

  48. Lady on March 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    We have the same problem, only we have white sheets, so I’m not sure what kind of chemical reaction would be occurring. I’ve tried soaking them in vinegar, washing with baking soda, washing with bleach, etc. and nothing makes a difference. Is Oxy clean my only option now? Is it too late (have I permanently set the stain?)

    Please help. These sheets were wedding presents and we’ve only been married 6 months and they are ruined!!

    • Morrigan on June 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      It also depends on the temperature you set the washer to. Especially with whites because if you bleach them in warm or hot water, they’ll still be yellowy. But if you wash whites with bleach in cold water, they’ll be very white and clean.

  49. moonablaze on March 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I find that baking soda in the wash helps with the oilyness.

    • JasonAnderson on August 10, 2009 at 8:04 pm

      thanks for the informative responses from all of you,great info just in these comments.

    • Sarah on May 11, 2011 at 12:53 am

      Absolutely! My mother had to deal with my brother's ruined sheets and pillow cases for years. He decided to stay with her for a while and she complained that her beautifully crocheted (edges) pillow case was ruined. It was white so she bleached it. Didn't work. She washed it over and over again, not only was it yellow but it held a VERY strong odor. My brother showers daily and has always had a problem with acne. Head to toe.

      On chance she picked up Arm & Hammer for laundry. It's simply a huge box of baking soda. She washed his sheets and pillow cases in it ONCE. They came perfectly clean and the smell was GONE! I thought they were going to have to be thrown out, but BAKING SODA saved them!

  50. Melanie on March 2, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    *Grin* same here. I just shrig my shoulders, know that the sheets are clean when washed, they are under the covers, and I make sure the stained side stays on his side of the bed. >: )

  51. Nancy on March 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    My spouse also discolors the sheets, but I think it is oily skin more than anything. He does not wear shirts to bed, and to me, it looks like I have oil cloth sheets after a while. I still have no solution to it. The mattress cover also gets stained badly as well. Any recommended solution for oily sheets?

    • Gina Bridgewater on December 4, 2010 at 1:46 am

      try having then dry cleaned at a dry cleaners that still uses Perc. the perc will dissolve the oil. Most dry cleaners have a discounted rate for a just clean and fold item. I have my hubby's pillowcases done every month or so and it really helps. i've only gone to a perc using dry cleaner, not sure if any of the others would work as well.

      • Kristine on August 27, 2013 at 10:02 am

        My husband is black and he leaves a stain on all the furniture when it is hot out. The sheets in our bed are also discolored and there is that oily mark where he lies. I feel bad that I have to put towel on the new lazy boy double recliner, but if I do not, it will have a huge stain that does not come out.

        Why does this happen? He showers after playing tennis, but this has to be embarrassing to have your skin color rub off on all fabric you use.

        I have no idea what to do to mange this without bruising his ego.

        • SB on August 28, 2013 at 2:32 am

          Oh my goodness, lady it’s oil produced from pores in his skin, absolutely NOT his skin colour rubbing off on fabric!!

        • SB on August 28, 2013 at 2:51 am

          Oh my goodness Kristine, it’s oil produced from pores in his skin, absolutely NOT his skin colour rubbing off on fabric!! Men are a bit sensitive about being oily and leaving marks but sometimes it has to be done when you’re the one trying to get stains out, so insist he wears a shirt or always sits with a throw on the chair. Bed is different, I think white sheets, alternating good mattress protectors and oxiclean are the way to go there. I have the exact same problem with the oil from my husband’s skin (who is white, if that gives my earlier point more clarity).

  52. Dana on March 2, 2009 at 11:55 am

    We’ve had this same problem on pillowcases…I finally figured out that a drooling husband + whitening toothpaste = bleached out/discolored pillowcases.

    Next time we’re due for new sheets…I’m going to go the white route.

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