How to Keep Your Sheets White

Let’s set the record straight - white bedsheets are the absolute best. Now we may be biased, seeing as our brand literally has “white” in the name, and we craft a full line of white 100% organic cotton sheet sets and duvet covers, but we think many would agree with us. There is something that is just so timeless about white bedsheets. They look as good on a modern platform bed as they do on a Victorian four-poster bed. Plus, they work with nearly every room design, colour, and pattern. 
Really, there is only one potential issue with owning white sheets… keeping them clean! White sheets look best when they actually stay white. Thankfully, we’ve learned all the tips and tricks for keeping our 100% organic white cotton sheets clean, and we’re happy to pass along this knowledge to you!
Let’s look at what it takes to keep your white sheets and white duvet covers are bright as the day you purchased them.
Preventative Care
Now this may go without saying, but the easiest way to keep your sheets white is to prevent stains and discolouring in the first place. This means that those of you who wear makeup will have to be extra diligent about removing it before bed, as even the slightest leftover mascara is likely to rub off and stain (though let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a little extra incentive to actually take off their makeup!). This also means that for those of you that love to eat and drink in bed, you’re going to have to be extra cautious. Though your morning latte only lasts for minutes, the stains it can leave on your sheets will last forever. 
Dealing with Stains
That said, we understand there will be accidents, so it’s important to know what to do when they happen. For small stains, a natural organic dish soap is your best go-to. Just put a small amount onto a clean rag or sponge, run it under water, and then wring it out. Proceed to rub it over the stain vigorously until it disappears. Then make sure to use a clean wet rag to rub out the remaining soap residue (or strip your sheets and prepare to wash them). In lieu of dish soap, a stain treater like Nellies WOW Stick works well too. Just apply and rub into the stain with your fingers until it disappears. As with the dish soap, be sure to get any of the extra residue out with a clean wet rag. 
Washing Your Sheets
Of course, even with preventative care and stain treating superpowers, you’ll still need to wash your sheets regularly. The human body leaves quite a bit of itself on bedsheets - things like skin cells, oil, sweat, and more - all of which can dull and yellow your sheets. White sheets should be laundered every one to two weeks in order to maintain their brightness. This is why it’s extra important that you purchase quality bedsheets, as cheap ones will often wear down over time with frequent washing. A White Terry Home bonus? Our sheets get softer and softer with every wash.
There are a few extra steps you’ll want to take when it comes to laundering your white bedsheets. First off, make sure to run your sheets and duvets covers separately from all your other laundry. The nice thing about pure white sheets is that you can treat them with some special techniques…however these same techniques can ruin any coloured fabrics, so it’s important to only use them on the white sheets. 
The first technique when it comes to washing your white sheets is to include a “white booster”. Many brands make them, and they do wonders to keep your white fabric nice and bright. Just pop it in with your load and you’re good to go. 
The second technique is ensuring that the water you’re using is not discolouring your sheets. For those that are receiving water from a well, you need to be extra careful about the iron in your water, as it can have yellowing effects on the fabric you wash. A good filter can really help with this, so be sure to check the one you currently have to see if you need an upgrade. 
The third technique is actually about reversing old behaviours. Many of us grew up learning that bleach was the best way to keep white sheets and other fabrics clean. However bleach has been shown to have an adverse effect on white sheets. Because the bleach chemical can have an interaction with bodily fluids (such as sweat stains) that turns them yellow, you can actually make your sheets worse by washing with bleach. Instead, opt for regular detergent and the white booster mentioned above. 
Here at White Terry Home, we recommend using natural products like Nellie’s. We’re big believers in the power of organic, which is why our sheets and duvet covers are made with 100% organic cotton. And what good is 100% organic cotton if you’re pumping it full of a bunch of unnatural chemicals?
Reversing Long-Term Discolouring
Even with diligent care of your white sheets, there will eventually come a time where they begin to dull and even yellow. This is incredibly common, but thankfully, it’s also incredibly reversible!
There are a few options for reversing long-term discolouration of your white sheets. Your best bet is to experiment until you find the method that works best for you. Here are some of our most trusted:
  1. Soak your sheets and duvet covers overnight in a solution of water and OxiClean or Borax. Once they’ve had a chance to soak for at least 12 hours, remove the sheets and then run them through a normal laundry cycle with your white booster. This should knock discolouration right out!
  2. Break your no-bleach rule. While yes, we do recommend staying away from bleach most of the time, there is an exception for those occasions when you really need to bring some life back into your white sheets. However before you use bleach, you’ll want to run a full wash cycle first to ensure you remove all the stains that could cause a chemical reaction. After the first cycle is complete, run a second cycle using only bleach. This will give you all the benefits of the bleach whitening power without the potential for accidental staining.
  3. Use a special whitener such as Rit White Wash.
  4. Use a laundry “bluing” solution such as Bluette. While this may sound strange, adding trace amounts of blue to your white fabrics will actually brighten them and return their colour to their natural white state. Crazy, we know, but it totally works!