If you’ve laundered your bedding and still notice greasy, yellow stains and odors, these tips on how to clean grimy pillowcases will help get your linens clean and fresh again.
Parents of teens are all-too-familiar with how their hormones lead to greasy hair and skin that stains their pillows. Those who work outdoors find themselves in the same boat. Pillowcases also get grimy when someone doesn’t remove their makeup before going to bed.
The thing is, grimy pillowcases tend to be smelly ones, too. Who wants to lay their head on a pillow that stinks? Let’s fix that.
How To Clean Grimy Pillowcases
Removing the Grime
1. Prepare a cleaning solution. This step loosens the chemical bonds between the greasy stain and the pillowcase fabric’s fibers.
- Fill a sink basin with very hot water, then add 1/4 cup Dawn Original dish detergent (Fairy or Sunlight in the UK) and 1 cup baking soda.
- Swirl to combine them, then add the pillowcases.
2. Scrub the fabric.
- Grab a hunk of the pillowcase in each hand and scrub it against itself.
- Switch positions and repeat until you’ve given it a good all-over rub. (A laundry scrub board works even better.)
3. Refill the sink and let them soak. Switch the pillowcases to the other sink basin and drain the one you’ve been using.
- Refill the sink with hot water and add more Dawn.
- Put the pillowcases back in and let them soak for 1-2 hours (or even overnight) then rinse thoroughly in HOT water until the water runs clear.
4. Launder. Finally, put the pillowcases through a regular wash cycle on HOT water, using your usual detergent, and dry them.
Keep Grime from Returning
You may not be able to talk your family into showering every night before bed, but you can still take a few steps to keep your pillowcases from getting grimy again.
First, skip the fabric softeners and dryer sheets. These work by coating fabric with a very light layer of wax or grease, both of which attract and hold onto skin and hair oils. (Try using vinegar in the laundry to fight static instead.)
Second, use an oxygenated bleach when washing your linens. Chlorine bleach doesn’t remove grease well and should never be mixed with vinegar! (Find out more cleaning products you should never mix.)