8 Hacks to Keeping White Linen Looking As Good As New
There’s nothing better than slipping into fresh smelling, clean, and crisp linen sheets after a long hard day. Unfortunately, more often than not, the white linens you spent your hard-earned money on can struggle to stay looking and feeling their best for long.
A build-up of sweat, body oils, fake tan, and food (yes, hello everyone who eats ice cream in bed) can stick to your favorite sheets, eventually turning them an undesired yellow over time.
But it doesn’t mean there’s no going back once your threads begin to discolor; with a few simple laundry hacks you can keep your white linens looking - and feeling - whiter and fresher for longer.
8 Hacks to Keeping Your Bed Sheets White
1. Properly store your sheets
Storing your lovely white linens in plastic boxes or bags can actually cause them to develop a yellow hue.
We would suggest lining your linen cupboard or storage space with acid-free tissue paper that can further assist in preventing your white bedding from getting that yellow tinge.
Or, you can go one step further and store your linens in a linen bag (FYI, our Threads all come in their very own stylish and sustainable 100% flax linen storage sack that can also be reused for many other purposes besides storing bedsheets, which we’ve previously detailed here).
2. Use a baking soda and vinegar mixture
Baking soda and vinegar are both natural whiteners. Try adding half a cup of baking soda to your regular detergent (about half the manufacturer’s recommended dose) at the beginning of the cycle. Then, before your machine starts the spin cycle, pour half a cup of white vinegar to the load (don’t worry, the vinegar smell will rinse away). There are plenty of YouTube videos demonstrating how to do this.
Another plus: these kitchen staples double as fabric softeners so your linens will be buttery soft to sleep in.
3. Treat stains immediately
Thanks to the fact that linen is a natural fiber, any stains need to be addressed immediately (this applies to all colored sheets, too - not just white).
To ensure stains don’t become permanent imperfections, wash them out, pronto. First, sprinkle a little baking soda onto the offending mark, add a few drops of vinegar and blot gently with a paper towel to soak up excess moisture.
4. Try the lemon juice method
Another accessible, affordable and eco-friendly hack is to simply add a quarter cup of lemon juice to your load of whites along with your detergent. The citric acid from the lemon will fight hard to rid any of those tough stains during the wash cycle.
5. Sun-dried over tumble-dried
While your dryer is a convenient way to get your sheets back onto your bed faster, drying your linens outside under the sun will actually whiten them because the sun’s ultraviolet rays have a bleaching effect. Plus, doing so is also gentler on your linens so it’ll help prolong the life of your sheets, too.
6. Don’t overload the washing machine
Do you throw your linen sheets in with all your other dirty washing? We get it, it’s convenient. Just ensure you’re not mixing them in with clothing that’s going to discolor or inflict wear and tear on your favorite white linens. Wash whites with whites, and keep items with buttons, zippers or velcro out of the wash so that they won’t cause pilling on your poor whites.
7. Wash your sheets frequently
How often should we be washing our bed linen? Various studies recommend sheets should be washed every 7-10 days, on a cold temperature setting to ensure all bacteria is killed and stains don’t have enough time to really set into your threads.
If you’re worried washing your linens so frequently is going to wear them out sooner - meaning you’ll probably have to replace them more often - this is definitely not the case when it comes to 100% french flax linen. Not only does linen become softer and more cozy with every wash, but it’s twice as durable as cotton or wool and actually becomes 20 per cent stronger when wet.
8. Skip the bleach
Yes, believe it or not, bleach can actually cause fabrics to turn yellow over time instead of whitening them. As mentioned above, stick to those common household items like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice instead. If you really want to reach for detergent, we’ve previously rounded up the best eco-friendly ones to consider here.