What Causes My Pillowcases to Discolor?

Various elements from bleach to sweat cause bed linens to become yellowed, stained or discolored.

Discolored Case Causes

Clean pillow-protector covers reduce soil transfer to the cases.Clean pillow-protector covers reduce soil transfer to the cases.
Take steps to turn the problem around, rather than turning over your pillow, hoping that the other side is cleaner.

Sweat, breath, skin oil, saliva or any other body emission that comes with sleep can soil a pillowcase. Wash your pillow and any protective cover as needed to limit transferred soils to the case. It's fine to use bleach to sanitize or deep clean sheets and pillowcases but because of its potency, bleach also can cause pillowcase discoloration or yellowing; use bleach only occasionally and as directed on the label. Wash and dry bedding on cool or tepid settings; using hot wash water or a hot dryer sets stains, leaving them discolored. Borax or washing soda helps to whiten fabric and remove stains.

About the Author

Lorna Hordos has owned a home-flipping business for more than two decades. She uses her construction and interior design experience to write friendly, conversational home and lifestyle articles for Daltile, Marazzi, Lowes and numerous other publications. She also enjoys writing for children, and has been featured on the cover of Humpty Dumpty magazine.