Living Well

How to Keep Your White Bed Linens... White

Of all the questions we get asked, there is one that we are always prepared to answer: how to keep your bed linens as white as the day you bought them.  Body oils, sweat, makeup and body products can find their way into the nooks and crannies of those pristine white threads, sticking to them and lending a yellow tone.  And that's before the pets and children lend their special patina.

 

Here's our advice to make it better.

If it's yellowing linens that are keeping you up at night (and seriously, they shouldn't), fight every instinct in your body to turn to the bleach. As counter-intuitive as this may seem, chlorine bleach can react with the oils, sweat, and product on your linens and make them more yellow, not less. So step away from the bleach and look towards the old-fashioned heroes: baking soda and white vinegar.

Using whatever detergent you normally use, add about a half-cup of baking soda at the beginning of the wash cycle. Stand by for the rinse cycle, and pour in a half-cup of the white vinegar.  Don't worry about the smell; it will be gone by the end of the wash.

We always advise skipping fabric softener, especially liquid fabric softener because it will leave a film on the fabrics that can ruin them if not rinsed repeatedly. Vinegar and baking soda will naturally soften the fabric, so you won't need them anyway.

While too much sun can damage the fibers of your linens, hanging them to air-dry in a sunny spot will further enhance the work of the soda and vinegar.  Sunlight has whitening power, and any stains that may not have come out in the initial wash won't be set from the heat of the dryer.  Plus, drying in fresh air always smells, and feels, so good.

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