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Laundry

These hacks will keep your white sheets white—for good

Keep your sheets looking like the day you got them

A person taking white sheets out of a drying machine. Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Rossella De Berti

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There’s something especially inviting about white bed sheets. Perhaps it's their crisp, clean appearance or the fact that they blend with nearly every room décor. However, many people shy away from the idea of white sheets because they are nervous that they won’t be able to keep those white sheets white.

Fair point. When white sheets have spots, stains, or an overall dingy appearance, they are anything but inviting. As the former longtime owner of a successful home cleaning company, I know all the secrets on how to keep white sheets white, and I’m happy to share them with you.

Here’s how to keep white sheets white.

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Take a shower before bed

I hate to break it to you, but you’re dirty. From deodorant to makeup to self-tanners, hair spray, sweat, body oil, and actual dirt, humans get dirty during the day and you’re no exception. When you take all of that residue and wrap it in a white sheet, you can probably guess what is going to happen.

Do your white sheets (and yourself) a favor and take a cleansing shower before bed so that your white sheets don’t begin to look like they took that subway ride with you. Because keeping white sheets clean, starts with not getting them dirty.

Only wash with other white items

Folded sheets with some dark stains on them.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Liudmila Chernetska

You definitely don't want unwanted colors to get on your white sheets.

If you’ve ever thrown a new pair of jeans or a red sock into the washing machine with clothing items that were a completely different color, you may have had the unfortunate experience of seeing everything you were washing turn a shade of blue or red. That happens because water and stain fighting detergents can actually loosen some of the dyes that give fabric its color, which can then settle into the other fabrics in the washing machine and stain them.

Keeping that in mind, washing white sheets with only white items is key in keeping them white and was a strict rule I kept when cleaning client’s sheets. You never know which fabrics may bleed their dye, so better safe than sorry.

Get Fido his own bed

A Syberian Husky tucked underneath some white sheets.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Sergeeva

Our fur babies can make those white sheets even dirtier.

Your pets may be cute, but unless they followed after you and took a shower before bed, they probably have some daytime dirt and natural oils clinging to fur; that is, the fur they aren’t shedding in your sheets. So, grab your pup his own bed or throw a blanket onto your cat’s favorite side if you just can’t bear to sleep without them. Pet dirt can be difficult to remove from white surfaces.

If neither of these are options, I have seen some pretty cute pet pajamas that may help provide an adorable barrier between your pet and your white sheets.

Don’t forget where your kitchen table is

I know, I know, this one is a total bummer, but I can’t tell you how many times I have stained my white sheets by spilling my dessert on them (don’t judge me). Snacking is my favorite, but so are white sheets, so I can’t be greedy and neither can you.

When white sheets are involved, you’re going to want to leave snacking in the kitchen.

Use a quality natural laundry detergent

A pair of hands pouring detergent into a cup for a washing machine.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Aleksandr Zyablitskiy

Always remember to use the right detergent for the right colors.

As a big fan of natural products, my cleaning company relied on them heavily to keep chemicals out of homes and off of skin; a huge consideration when you are sleeping in whatever you wash your sheets in.

When it comes to white sheets, having less detergent residue on them helps keep them bright, which is why eco-friendly laundry detergents often work so well—less chemical residue left behind. Natural is where it’s at when keeping white sheets white.

Strip your sheets (and not just off the bed)

A basket full of white sheets.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Ktmophoto

This is the best option to trying to remove any unwanted stains.

Laundry stripping is a process that involves soaking laundry in a tub along with a mixture of borax, washing soda, and laundry detergent. Laundry stripping actually strips deep-rooted dirt and oils from fabrics, therefore removing the film that makes them look dingy and bringing new life back to their shine.

Don’t be afraid of bleach

Bleach gets a bad rap, but as long as you aren’t using it too often or using too much of it, it’s not going to make your sheets fall apart. A tried-and-true method used often by cleaning professionals to bring that hotel-clean-look to white bed sheets, bleach can remove stains and brighten whites. Just toss in the appropriate amount once the washing machine is full (helps to avoid bleach stains) or use your washing machine’s bleach dispensing feature, and your white sheets should come out sparkling clean.

As a professional cleaner, this is my go-to method when my sheets start looking a little less-than-new.

Wash your sheets weekly

A woman holding some white sheets from a bed.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Prostock-Studio

Depending on your hygiene habits, you might have to wash them twice sometimes.

You really should be washing your sheets on a weekly basis just based on hygiene reasons alone, but when you have white sheets you really need to stick to washing weekly rules or your natural body oils can begin to build up, and then they become more difficult to remove during washing. It can be gross to think about, but there’s no need to wash sheets more than once a week—just don’t wait longer or you might need to wash them twice.

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