How to get sweat stains out of sheets

Waking up to find sweat stains on your sheets can be a frustrating experience. Not only are these unsightly marks unpleasant to look at, but they can also be difficult to remove, especially if they have had time to set in. Sweat stains on sheets are a common problem, but the good news is that there are several effective methods you can use to get your sheets to look fresh and clean again.

In this article, we’ll explore the causes of sweat stains on sheets, and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to remove them using a variety of household products and techniques. Whether you’re dealing with new stains or stubborn, set-in marks, we’ve got you covered.

get sweat stains out of sheets

Sweat Stains on Sheets

Sweat stains on sheets are caused by a combination of perspiration, body oils, and minerals found in sweat. When we sleep, our bodies naturally release moisture in the form of sweat, which can soak into the fabric of our sheets. As the sweat dries, it can leave behind yellowish or brownish stains that can be difficult to remove.

In addition to the sweat itself, the salts and minerals present in perspiration can also contribute to the formation of these unsightly marks. Over time, these stains can become more difficult to treat, as the salts and oils can break down the fibres of the sheet fabric, making it harder to lift the stain.

Factors that Contribute to Sweat Stains

Several factors can contribute to the development of sweat stains on your sheets, including:

  1. Body Chemistry: Some people naturally produce more sweat or have a higher concentration of minerals in their perspiration, which can lead to more pronounced staining.
  2. Sleep Position: Individuals who tend to sleep on their side or stomach may be more prone to sweat stains, as these positions can cause more direct contact between the body and the sheet fabric.
  3. Room Temperature: Sleeping in a warm or humid environment can increase the amount of perspiration, leading to more staining.
  4. Laundry Habits: Failing to properly clean and care for sheets can allow sweat stains to set in and become more difficult to remove over time.

Removing Sweat Stains from Sheets

Now that we’ve explored the causes of sweat stains on sheets, let’s dive into the various methods you can use to remove them. From simple home remedies to more specialized cleaning products, there are several effective options to try.

1. Pre-treat the Stain

The first step in removing a sweat stain is to pre-treat the affected area as soon as possible. This helps to break down the stain and make it easier to remove during the washing process. Here are a few effective pre-treatment options:

  • Baking Soda and Water: Create a paste by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of water. Gently rub the paste into the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing.
  • Vinegar: Soak the stained area in undiluted white vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour before washing. The acidity in the vinegar can help break down the sweat and oils.
  • Enzyme Cleaner: Apply a small amount of an enzyme-based stain remover directly to the stain and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before washing. One highly recommended enzyme cleaner is OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover.

2. Wash with Warm Water and Detergent

Once you’ve pre-treated the stain, it’s time to wash the sheets. Use the warmest water recommended for the fabric, as hot water can help to lift the stain. Be sure to use a high-quality laundry detergent, as this will help to break down and remove the sweat and oils.

If the stain is particularly stubborn, you can try adding a cup of baking soda or washing soda to the wash cycle. These alkaline ingredients can help to further break down the stain.

3. Soak in Oxygenated Bleach

If the sweat stain persists after washing, you can try soaking the sheets in a solution of oxygenated bleach. This type of bleach, also known as hydrogen peroxide bleach, is gentler on fabrics than chlorine-based bleach and can be effective in removing set-in sweat stains.

To use this method, fill a sink or large bucket with warm water and add the recommended amount of oxygenated bleach according to the product instructions. Submerge the stained sheets and let them soak for 30 minutes to an hour, agitating the fabric occasionally. Rinse the sheets thoroughly and then wash them as usual. A popular oxygenated bleach product is Clorox Oxygen Bleach Crystals.

4. Use a Stain Remover Spray

For particularly stubborn sweat stains, you may need to turn to a specialized stain remover spray. These products are designed to target and lift tough stains, including those caused by perspiration.

To use a stain remover spray, simply apply it directly to the affected area, following the instructions on the product label. Allow the spray to work for the recommended time before washing the sheets as usual. One effective stain remover spray is Shout Advanced Stain Remover.

5. Hang Sheets in Direct Sunlight

If you’re looking for a natural way to help remove sweat stains, try hanging your sheets outside in direct sunlight. The UV rays from the sun can help to break down and fade the stains, making them easier to remove in the washing machine.

Simply hang your sheets outside, ensuring that the stained areas are exposed to as much sunlight as possible. Let them stay out for a few hours, or even overnight, before bringing them back inside and washing them as usual.

6. Try Enzyme-Based Detergent

Another effective option for removing sweat stains from sheets is to use an enzyme-based laundry detergent. These specialized detergents contain enzymes that are designed to break down and lift organic stains, including those caused by perspiration.

When using an enzyme-based detergent, be sure to follow the instructions on the product label carefully. Some of these detergents may require a longer wash cycle or a pre-soak to be most effective. A popular enzyme-based detergent is Persil ProClean Stain Fighter.

7. Consider Professional Cleaning

If you’ve tried all of the above methods and are still struggling to remove stubborn sweat stains from your sheets, it may be time to consider professional cleaning. Dry cleaners and specialized laundry services have access to more powerful cleaning agents and techniques that can often remove even the most persistent stains.

Keep in mind that professional cleaning may come with an additional cost, but it can be worth it if you’re unable to get your sheets looking their best using at-home methods. Some top-rated professional cleaning services include Chem-Dry and Stanley Steemer.

Preventing Sweat Stains on Sheets

In addition to removing existing sweat stains, it’s also important to take steps to prevent these unsightly marks from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips to help keep your sheets stain-free:

1. Use Moisture-Wicking Sheets

Investing in high-quality, moisture-wicking sheets can help to reduce the amount of sweat that soaks into the fabric. Look for sheets made from natural fibres like cotton or linen, as these materials are more breathable and better able to wick away moisture. Some highly rated moisture-wicking sheet sets include Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set and Cariloha Resort Bamboo Sheets.

2. Change Sheets Regularly

Aim to change your sheets at least once a week, or more often if you tend to sweat heavily during the night. Letting sheets go too long between washings can allow sweat stains to set in and become more difficult to remove.

3. Consider a Mattress Protector

Using a waterproof mattress protector can help prevent sweat from seeping through to your sheets, reducing the likelihood of stains. A popular option is the Linenspa Waterproof Mattress Protector.

4. Maintain a Comfortable Sleep Environment

Keeping your bedroom cool and well-ventilated can help to minimize the amount of perspiration you experience during the night. Aim for a temperature between 65-70°F (18-21°C) for optimal sleep.

5. Practice Good Hygiene

Showering before bed and wearing clean, breathable sleepwear can also help to reduce the amount of sweat that ends up on your sheets. Consider investing in moisture-wicking sleepwear like Icebreaker Merino Wool Base Layers.

By following these preventative measures, you can help to keep your sheets looking fresh and stain-free for longer.


Sweat stains on sheets can be a frustrating problem, but with the right techniques and products, you can effectively remove even the most stubborn marks. From pre-treating stains to using specialized cleaning methods, there are a variety of strategies you can try to get your sheets looking their best.

Remember to act quickly when dealing with sweat stains, as the longer they are allowed to set, the more difficult they can be to remove. Additionally, taking preventative measures, such as using moisture-wicking sheets and maintaining a comfortable sleep environment, can help to minimize the occurrence of these unsightly marks in the first place.

With a little bit of effort and the right cleaning techniques, you can keep your sheets looking clean, fresh, and free of those pesky sweat stains. Happy sleeping!

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.