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Why Do Pillows Turn Yellow?

Mar 27, 2023

Have you ever wondered why your pillows turn yellow? Sweat causes the yellowing of pillows. Additional factors include sleeping with wet hair, lotions, and oils on the skin. As a result, if moisture, natural body oil, or sweat is absorbed or left on your white pillows for an extended time, the color will eventually change.

Reasons why pillows turn yellow

Moisture:There is moisture everywhere. We are not referring to the dampness and humidity outside because you most likely do not sleep outdoors. But the moisture in your home, the temperature you set your thermostat to when you sleep, the humidity in your hair, and sweating while you sleep can all significantly affect how long your high-quality down bedding will last. It's not something we think about regarding its impact on our goose-down bedding or sleep environment, regardless of the temperature, but its effect is natural.

Goose-down can lose its loft and its ability to insulate well if it gets too wet or humid. Moisture and humidity will cause yellow stains on pillowcases and make your pillows yellow.

Hair:Taking a bath in the evening and not correctly drying your hair can cause the moisture in your hair to limit the life of your pillow. Not properly drying your hair before going to bed will shorten the life of your pillow and cause it to turn prematurely yellow.

Perspiration:There are several reasons why you weigh less in the morning than you do in the evening, and it isn't because your body hasn't had time to digest meals from the night before. One of them is that you sweat when sleeping. Overnight, the average individual can lose up to 1 liter of water, and that 'water' has to go somewhere. Indeed, some of the liquid gets digested internally (which is why you need to urinate first thing in the morning). Still, it also sweats into your down comforter, feather bed, pillows, or a mix of the three.

Remember to underestimate the impact a duvet cover and a flat sheet can have on the amount of extra, potentially unwanted warmth they can contribute to your bedroom environment.

We can't help but drool while sleeping, which is a major reason pillows get yellow.

Lotions and oils:The oils from your skin are another adversary that is difficult to defeat but can be managed. These same oils are also to blame for yellowing the 'shells' or 'ticking' of your down pillows, feather mattresses, and down comforters over time.

The oils from your skin take years to yellow, but the oils from lotions used after a bath inflict the most damage to the cotton used to produce down shells. Changing your bathing habits is hard, but if you apply lotions and scents early, they will get to the luxurious down feathers and goose down clusters inside the cotton shells.

Cons of keeping a pillow with yellow stains

Suppose your pillow has a few yellow spots. In that case, you can still use it until it develops brown stains. These bed pillows will also grow dust mites, allergies, and other microorganisms over time, so replacing them is best.

How do I avoid yellow stains?

A pillow protector acts as an extra layer between your pillowcase and your pillow and can help catch some of your sweat before it reaches your pillow. This help to prevent discoloration. This is especially useful for those who perspire excessively while sleeping. Going to bed with dry hair and a few hours after using your evening skin care products will help stop yellowing, as will using a pillow protector and washing your bedding often.

How should pillows be washed?

Most pillows with feathers, cotton, polyfill, or synthetic materials can be machine washed. You can also see if your pillows can be machine washed by reading the care instructions attached to the seam. Here are a few ideas to help you whiten your yellowed fabrics or pillows.


It is recommended to use bleach because it may virtually completely whiten any fabric. Throw them in the washer on a cold cycle to whiten your linens or pillows. After that, add around 1/4 cup of bleach to the wash and complete the process. Once the drum is full, make sure to add the bleach.


Lemon contains citric acid, which acts as a natural bleaching agent. After you've placed your linens, add 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice to your ash cycle. Lemon juice is also great for removing odors from textiles. Let them air dry, or put them in the dryer afterward.


Baking soda is another all-natural odor-neutralizing chemical that is more whitening than bleach and safer. Add roughly 1/3 cup of baking soda to the washing machine to brighten your sheets quickly and easily. This also increases the cleansing power of the laundry cycle.


Vinegar can be used to remove stains from bed pillows and other linens. Dirt and food particles, like soapy buildup, can loosen when they touch vinegar, allowing the water to transport them away. Combine one gallon of water and one cup of vinegar. Pour the solution directly onto the stain or apply it with a clean cloth. Next, as standard, wash your clothes.

How can you remove sweat stains?

It's tempting to throw out sweat stains on a shirt or other home linen when you encounter them. You probably have a jug or bottle of white vinegar at home, and that should be enough to remove these unsightly stains from your clothes.

Combine Vinegar with Water

Begin by combining vinegar and water in a small bowl to prevent sweat marks on your linens. A quarter cup of vinegar and one cup of water will be enough.

Soak the stain in the solution.

Pour the vinegar and water mixture over the discoloration or dip it in it. Let the stain soak for 30 minutes after ensuring it is completely coated.

Rinse and wash

After the combination has worked magic, thoroughly rinse the area with water. Place the specific linen in the washer if the stain has been removed. Nevertheless, before putting your fabric in the dryer, remove the stain.