Save for a glass of wine, nothing beckons like a bed of crisp white linens at day’s end. But the invitation falters when your sheets have seen better, brighter days. Sweat, body oils and skin care products can stick to the threads of linens, lending a yellow hue as they accumulate over time. We show you how to keep your bed sheets first-use fresh.
Problem: Yellowing bed linens
Put down the bleach, sister. Even though chlorine bleach is likely your go-to for heavy duty whitening, it can react with body oils to make whites more, not less, yellow. Instead, turn to eco-friendly household cleaners that are safe to use on a regular basis.
When laundering your bed linens, add half a cup of baking soda with your detergent at the beginning of the wash cycle. Then, at the start of the rinse cycle, pour in half a cup of white vinegar (don’t worry; that distinct odour will rinse out). These two natural whiteners also have a softening effect, so you can skip the fabric softener.
For an extra whitening boost, hang your linens to dry in the sun. Sunlight has bleaching capabilities and won’t set stains like the dryer does. Just be sure to bring in the laundry after it dries, since the sun can rot the fibres.
(From left to right)
1 20 Mule Team Borax Nature’s Freshener deodorizer. walmart.ca, $5.
2 Oxygen brightener . nelliesallnatural.com, $11.
3 Pre-treater Strip It! . thelaundrytarts.com, $11.
For serious whitening jobs, try these bleach alternatives. Harnessing the power of various sodium compounds, these fresh powders get the job done without harsh chemicals. They’re great to add in your washing machine or for pre-soaking.