Removing Stubborn Body Oil and Odors from Beddings

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Tired of dealing with oil stains on your pillow or body odors emanating from the sheets? Our bodies generate musky body odor and oils when we sleep and these compounds will stain any sheet and pillow. Pillows and pillow cases are usually the first to stain from our natural oils — the same oil that stains undershirts and the underarm area of clothing. This is why when you remove dirty pillow cases, you see light or dark yellow stains on the fabric.

Sometimes, washing the pillowcases and the pillow itself will take care of the problem. However, because some people will produce more natural oils than others; there are moments when the stains are harder to remove. So what do you do? Consider these tips:

Washing with Borax

When regular laundry soap won’t do, wash the sheets with dish soap mixed with borax. The dish soap will break down the oils that stain the sheets while borax will eliminate those pesky, musky odors. Borax not only eliminates odors, it will also banish stains as well as help whiten the fabric — so use it for any light-colored bedding too. Don’t worry: dish soaps and borax won’t ruin the fabric. To be on the safe side, however, wash the sheets thoroughly!

Soak the Sheets in Vinegar

You read it right. Vinegar contains powerful acidic compounds that will melt the oils and remove odors from your sheets. Body odor is often caused by bacteria; the acidity of vinegar will kill all bacteria on contact. To wash your sheets with vinegar, fill a bucket or a tub with 1 part white vinegar and five parts hot water. Put all the dirty sheets into the bucket and soak them for at least two hours. After soaking, you can wash the sheets. You can also incorporate the water/vinegar solution straight into your washing machine instead of a separate tub. Again, leave your sheets in the solution for a couple of hours before washing them with laundry detergent.

Finish Off With Hot Water

Using hot water kills off any bacteria in any fabric, including stinky bed sheet stained with natural oils. Add a combination of hot water that exceeds 140 Fahrenheit and laundry detergent on the sheets. To whiten the fabric, you may also add hydrogen peroxide to brighten the colors and lift stains. If the odor still remains in the sheets, do a second washing but this time, use only hot water and hydrogen peroxide and wash the sheets thoroughly. Sometimes, odor will remain because of little buildup of detergent. By washing the sheets thoroughly, it prevents soap buildup.

Drying Your Laundry Outdoors

There is a reason why clothing that are dried the old-fashioned way smells better. The ultraviolet rays of the sun not only help whiten the fabric, they also kill any leftover bacteria that cause that musty smell. So rather than letting your dryer do all the drying, hang all your sheets (and pillows) outside. Leave them on at times when the sun’s rays are at their strongest to ensure all bacteria from the sheets and pillows are eradicated.


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