How to Whiten Yellow-Stained Pillows

When you see how disgusting those pillows look, you might be tempted to ditch them and buy new ones. But if you’re wondering how to whiten yellow stained pillows, it can be done very simply using a few common household products.

PillowsKRPD/Shutterstock

No matter how good your pillow protectors, sooner or later you’re going to find yellow stains on your pillows. However careful we are about our personal hygiene, inevitably sweat (and yes, sometimes saliva!) ends up soaking through onto the pillow. And that’s before we’ve even mentioned dust mites, skin cells and possibly bed bugs!

You should never buy pillows (or these other items) at a thrift store because of the risk of bed bug infestations–they can go five months without a meal.

When you see how disgusting those pillows look, you might be tempted to ditch them and buy new ones. But if you’re wondering how to whiten yellow stained pillows, it can be done very simply using a few common household products. (Here are 13 tips on how to clean other hard-to-wash items.)

Jillee Nystul at One Good Thing recommends this method.

What do I need?

  • 1 cup of powdered dishwasher detergent
  • 1 cup of laundry detergent
  • 1 cup of bleach
  • 1/2 cup of borax

What do I do?

Here’s how to whiten pillows to return them to good-as-new condition.

Fill your washing machine with very hot water until it’s about one-third full—check the wash label to find the maximum safe temperature for your pillows. Then add the cleaning ingredients and switch the machine on, letting it agitate for a little until everything is mixed well.

Put your pillows in with the water and cleaning ingredients. It’s a good idea to do two pillows together so the drum in your washing machine is well-balanced. Allow the pillows to soak well, for about 30 minutes, turning them over if necessary to let the cleaning agent reach the whole pillow.

Then continue filling the machine with hot water. Once it’s filled, set it to run on a complete wash that includes two rinse cycles—if you don’t have a wash setting with two rinses, then set a second manual rinse afterward.

Washing machine not working properly? Here’s how you can fix it.

You can let your pillows dry naturally in the sun or put them in a tumble drier to speed things up. Feather and down pillows must be dried on an air cycle, while synthetic ones can only be dried on a low-temperature setting. Adding a couple of clean tennis balls or wool dryer balls will keep your pillows fluffy.

If your dryer needs a little TLC, don’t call the technician—follow our advice on how to carry out simple repairs.

And of course, dirt and stains can build up again quite quickly, so to keep your pillows in optimum condition, clean them every three months or so.

Buy wool dryer balls now on Amazon.

Another tough stain to deal with is ink. Learn how to remove ink from clothes.

Another tricky stain: Learn how to get oil stains out of clothes.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Popular Videos

Elizabeth Manneh
Elizabeth is an experienced freelance writer, specializing mainly in digital health & transformation, health & wellness, and education & learning. She's been published on ReadersDigest.com, Paysa.com, The Family Handyman, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and The Good Men Project. She was also a regular contributor to Love Live Health and Daily Home Remedy. Elizabeth is a retired primary school principal and education consultant, with a continuing passion for education and learning.