How to Remove Pesky Oil Stains From Your Bed Sheets

How to Remove Pesky Oil Stains From Your Bed Sheets

2020 Sep 10th

Have you ever woken up to discover your beautiful sheets are marred by dark, unsightly stains?

You’re not alone! It’s common for oil to build up on sheets. After all, our skin and hair secrete natural oils. Not to mention, many skin and hair care products are oil-based. Add to that oils from sweat, and it’s no surprise the occasional stain rears its ugly head…

So what should you (and shouldn’t you!) do when you spot a stain?

You shouldn’t wash and dry your sheets as usual. That’s because the dryer cycle can heat-set a stain in fabric and make it more difficult to remove! So it’s always a good idea to give your sheets a quick once over before throwing them in the wash.

If that once over reveals any dark stains, here are some options for what to do next:

How Should You Go About Removing Oil Stains?

Spot Clean With Degreasing Dish Soap

Step 1: Wet the stain well with water and gently rub a teaspoon of a grease-cutting dish soap, like Dawn, directly on the stain. 

Step 2: Let sit for about 30 minutes!

Step 3: Wash with a gentle detergent in hot water. (Note, we usually recommend washing in cold water to prevent shrinkage and retain colour vibrancy. But in the case of stains, hot water is more effective. That said, you may want to try with cold water first, and then resort to hot water if the stain doesn’t come out.)

Step 4: If possible, hang dry your sheets. This way, on the off chance the stain doesn’t come out, you won’t heat set it by throwing your sheets in the dryer… and you can still give another method a try!

Try a Bleach-Free Stain Remover

Step 1: Apply a bleach-free stain remover, like our Grandma’s Spot Remover, evenly to the affected area.

Step 2: Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes!

Step 3: Wash with a gentle detergent in hot water. (Again, when washing in hot water, you run the risk of shrinking your sheets. So consider trying with cold water first!)

Step 4: If possible, hang dry your sheets. Better still, dry your sheets in the sun to brighten their colour and kill any lingering bacteria! If not possible, tumble dry your sheets on the lowest heat setting.

Soak Overnight With Baking Soda

Step 1: Mix about ½ cup of baking soda with room temperature water. (If you have a top loader, you can do this directly in your washing machine. If not, you can use a bucket or bathtub.)

Step 2: Add your sheets, agitate for a few minutes, and then let soak overnight.

Step 3: Once your sheets have soaked for at least 8 hours, drain the dirty water. Then, wash as usual in cold water using a gentle detergent.

Step 4: If possible, hang dry your sheets. If not, tumble dry on low!

Cover With Baking Soda and Let Dry

Step 1: Make a paste by mixing 4 tbsp. baking soda with a ¼ cup of water.

Step 2: Cover the stain with this paste and let dry.

Step 3: Once the paste is completely dry, wash your sheets in cold water using a gentle detergent.

Step 4: If possible, hang dry your sheets. If not, tumble dry on low! 

Quick Tips for Preventing Oil Stains in the First Place

As the old saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”!

To save yourself the trouble of dealing with oil stains on your sheets to begin with, here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

Tip #1: 

If possible, go to bed with your skin and hair free of products to prevent stains and keep sheets cleaner between washing.

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Tip #2:

Wash your sheets every week to prevent oil build-up! Although the common practice is to wash sheets every two weeks, most experts recommend once a week for optimum hygiene.

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Tip #3:

Keep at least three sets of sheets per bed to rotate on laundry day, so you won’t wear down one set with frequent washing.

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Tip #4:

DON’T use fabric softener. This can make existing stains worse and create all-new stains. Opt for white vinegar instead!

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Tip #5:

Add ¼ cup of white vinegar to your machine’s fabric softener dispenser (or directly in your machine during the rinse cycle) to help brighten, soften, and keep sheets residue free!

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Tip #6:

Add a scoop of a natural fabric brightener, like Nellie’s Oxygen Brightener, to your wash to lift up oils before they have a chance to set in.

Tip #7:

If you’re a hot sleeper with microfiber sheets, you may be more prone to sweating and stains! Consider switching to a naturally temperature regulating material like our BeechBliss sheets in TENCEL™ Modal

You’ve Tried Everything, but the Stains Just Won’t Budge?

It may be time for new sheets!

Just like any household product, sheets have a lifespan. Even the highest quality fabrics experience wear and become more prone to stains with time. How long your sheets last will depend on many factors, like how you care for them and what kind of sleeper you are.

But for the best sleep experience, we recommend replacing your sheets every two to three years.

Due for a sheet change? Check out our selection of luxury sheets here