How to get yellow stains out of white sheets

Nothing ruins the crisp, clean look of freshly laundered white sheets quite like pesky yellow stains. Whether it’s from body oils, sweat, or some other substance, those stubborn discolored spots can be frustrating to deal with. But don’t despair – there are several proven methods you can use to effectively remove yellow stains from your white bedding and get your sheets looking bright and fresh again.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the top techniques for tackling yellow stains, from simple home remedies to more heavy-duty commercial products. We’ll also share tips on how to prevent yellow staining in the first place, so you can keep your white sheets pristine for longer. By the end, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge and tools you need to banish those unsightly yellow marks for good. Let’s get started!

What Causes Yellow Stains on White Sheets?

Before we dive into the stain removal methods, it’s helpful to understand what’s causing those unsightly yellow spots in the first place. There are a few common culprits behind yellow stains on white sheets:

Body Oils and Sweat

One of the most frequent causes of yellow stains is the natural oils and sweat produced by our bodies. As we sleep, these substances can transfer from our skin onto the sheets, creating discoloured areas over time.

Skin Care Products

Certain skin care products, like face creams, lotions, and ointments, can also leave yellow stains on sheets if they’re not fully absorbed before hitting the bedding.


Makeup, especially foundations and powders, can seep into the fabric and lead to yellow staining if not properly removed before bedtime.

Food and Drink Spills

Accidental spills of foods, sauces, juices, or other drinks can stain sheets yellow if not treated promptly.


Some medications, like certain antibiotics or iron supplements, can cause perspiration to have a yellowish tint, leading to staining.


For those who smoke, the nicotine and tar in cigarette smoke can get absorbed into sheets over time, causing gradual yellowing.

While these are some of the most common culprits, it’s worth noting that any substance that leaves behind a yellowish residue has the potential to stain white sheets. The key is to address stains as soon as possible before they have a chance to set in and become more difficult to remove.

How to Remove Yellow Stains from Sheets

Now that we’ve identified the typical causes of yellow staining, let’s explore the various methods you can use to get your sheets looking bright and fresh again. From simple home remedies to targeted commercial products, here are some of the most effective stain-removal techniques:

1. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

One of the most affordable and accessible options for removing yellow stains is a simple solution of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. To use this method:

  • Mix 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and enough warm water to create a spreadable paste.
  • Apply the paste directly to the yellow stain, making sure to cover the entire affected area.
  • Let the paste sit for 30 minutes to an hour, then launder the sheet as usual.
  • The baking soda and peroxide work together to lift and break down the stain, leaving your sheets looking bright and clean.

2. Lemon Juice and Salt

Another natural stain remover you likely have on hand is lemon juice combined with salt. The acidic lemon juice helps dissolve the stain, while the abrasive salt acts as a gentle scrubbing agent.

  • Make a paste by mixing the juice of one lemon with 1-2 tablespoons of salt.
  • Gently rub the paste into the yellow stain using a soft-bristle brush or your fingers.
  • Allow the paste to sit for 30 minutes before washing the sheet as normal.
  • The lemon and salt should lift the stain, leaving your sheet looking fresh and bright.

3. Oxygen Bleach

For tougher yellow stains, an oxygen-based bleach product can be highly effective. Unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is gentler on fabrics and won’t cause discolouration. Look for products containing ingredients like sodium percarbonate or hydrogen peroxide.

  • Pre-treat the stain by applying the oxygen bleach directly to the affected area. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Wash the sheet in the hottest water recommended for the fabric, adding an extra scoop of the oxygen bleach to the wash.
  • The bleaching agents will help break down and lift the stain, restoring the sheet’s original white colour.

One popular oxygen bleach product is OxiClean White Revive Laundry Stain Remover. It contains a blend of hydrogen peroxide and other cleaning agents to effectively remove tough stains and whiten fabrics.

OxiClean White Revive Laundry Stain Remover$9.99

4. Enzyme Cleaners

Enzyme cleaners are another powerful tool for removing stubborn yellow stains. These specialized products contain active enzymes that break down and digest the proteins, oils, and other organic matter that cause the staining.

  • Apply the enzyme cleaner directly to the yellow stain, following the product’s instructions.
  • Let the cleaner sit for the recommended amount of time, then launder the sheet as usual.
  • The enzymes will penetrate deep into the fabric to lift the stain, leaving your sheets looking bright and fresh.

One highly rated enzyme cleaner for removing yellow stains is Persil ProClean Liquid Laundry Detergent. It contains a powerful enzyme formula that targets and eliminates tough stains.

Persil ProClean Liquid Laundry Detergent$15.99

5. Commercial Stain Removers

If you’ve tried the home remedies and are still struggling with persistent yellow stains, you may want to turn to a commercial stain remover specifically formulated for this purpose.

Look for products that contain ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, oxalic acid, or sodium percarbonate – all of which are effective at breaking down and lifting yellow stains. Apply the remover directly to the stain, let it sit according to the product instructions, and then wash the sheet as normal.

One popular commercial stain remover is Biz Advanced Stain Remover. It uses a combination of enzymes and oxygen bleach to tackle tough stains, including yellow discolouration.

Biz Advanced Stain Remover$5.99

Be sure to test any commercial stain remover on a small, inconspicuous area of the sheet first to ensure it doesn’t cause any unwanted discolouration or damage to the fabric.

6. Sunlight

Believe it or not, one of the most natural and eco-friendly ways to remove yellow stains is by utilizing the power of the sun. The ultraviolet rays in sunlight can help break down and lift stains, restoring the sheet’s original white colour.

  • Take the stained sheet outside and lay it flat in direct sunlight, making sure the stained area is fully exposed.
  • Let the sheet soak up the sun’s rays for several hours, or even all day if possible.
  • The sun’s natural bleaching properties will help fade and lift the stain.
  • Launder the sheet as usual after sun-treating.

Repeat this process as needed until the yellow stain is fully removed.

Preventing Future Yellow Stains

Of course, the best way to deal with yellow stains is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some proactive steps you can take to keep your white sheets looking pristine for longer:

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Make sure to thoroughly wash your face, remove all makeup, and moisturize before climbing into bed. This will help minimize the amount of oils, sweat, and cosmetic residue that gets transferred to the sheets.

Use Mattress Pads and Protectors

Investing in a high-quality mattress pad or protector can create a barrier between your body and the sheets, preventing stains from setting in over time. The Linenspa Hypoallergenic Mattress Pad is a popular option that can help guard against yellow stains.

Linenspa Hypoallergenic Mattress Pad$29.99

Wash Sheets Regularly

Aim to wash your white sheets at least once a week, or more frequently if they see a lot of use. This will help prevent stains from having the chance to set in.

Be Mindful of Eating and Drinking in Bed

Try to avoid consuming foods and beverages in bed, as spills can easily lead to stubborn stains. If you do indulge, be sure to clean up any messes right away.

Choose the Right Laundry Products

When washing your sheets, opt for a gentle, bleach-free detergent and avoid using fabric softeners, which can set in stains over time. You may also want to incorporate an oxygen-based bleach or whitening agent into your laundry routine, like this option from Mrs Meyer’s.

Mrs. Meyer’s Laundry Detergent with Oxygen Bleach$11.99

Properly Store Sheets

When not in use, make sure to store your white sheets in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Exposure to heat and UV rays can cause gradual yellowing over time.

With these prevention tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your white sheets looking fresh, clean, and stain-free for years to come. And if the dreaded yellow spots do happen to sneak their way in, you now have a whole arsenal of stain-busting methods at your disposal.


Dealing with yellow stains on white sheets can be a real headache, but it doesn’t have to be. By understanding the common causes of these stubborn discolourations and employing the right removal techniques, you can successfully banish those unsightly spots and restore your bedding to its crisp, clean glory.

From simple home remedies like baking soda and lemon juice to more heavy-duty commercial products, we’ve covered a wide range of effective stain-removal methods in this guide. And remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – by incorporating good sleep and laundry habits into your routine, you can help stop yellow stains from forming in the first place.

So don’t let those pesky yellow marks ruin the peaceful sanctuary of your bedroom. Arm yourself with the knowledge and tools in this comprehensive guide, and say goodbye to yellow stains for good. Sweet dreams await on your freshly restored, brilliantly white sheets.

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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.