Remove Yellow Stains from Pillows: Bring Back their Whiteness in 3 Easy Steps

Written by Snezhana Besarabova

You rest and sleep on your pillow every night, laying your head on it for long hours. So it’s not a wonder that after not a long period it loses its whiteness and becomes yellow from stains. There is a variety of pillows for your bed – feather, memory foam, synthetic ones, and when you find the one which just suits you, there is no point in throwing it away after few months, because it’s dirty. But how to whiten pillows is a tricky question, as it’s soft and voluminous, and you can’t wash it in the way you do with the clothes. They need some more special treatment, which is not hard to do, once you are aware of the proper way. In this regard, we decided to show you on this page how to remove yellow stains from pillows with just few steps.

What causes yellow stains on pillows?

remove yellow stains from pillows dirt from sweat and make up

Pillows lose their whiteness, because your head rests there for 6–9 hours every night. They cover with stains and become yellow from sweat, make-up, dead skin particles and grease stains. Instead of trowing the dirty pillow, you may simply remove the stains, making it clean and tidy as you’ve just bought it from the shop.

How to remove yellow stains from pillows effectively

womans hand finger pointing to saliva stain on white pillow 1024x683

Pillow covers help to preserve the pillow from yellowing and dirt, but only partially. So, the yellow stains require some more specific treatment using handwashing, as well as washing machine techniques.

Also read: Can You Wash Bed Sheets and Towels Together?

Best way to remove yellow stains from pillows in washing machine

how to remove yellow stains from pillows in the washing machine

Fortunately, most pillows that are on sold, are washable. Though, some should be dry-cleaned only, that’s why before washing, read the label. In the following washing “recipe” white vinegar and washing soda are added, which not only help to remove the stains, but disinfects the pillow material in depth.

Cleaning pillows with washing machine

how to remove yellow stains from pillows in the washing machine with vinegar

The following method combines the advantages of washing with regular detergents, and the cleaning power of soda and the organic white vinegar.

Washing ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) washing soda
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dishwashing detergent
  • 1 tablespoon laundry detergent

Mix the ingredients into a container and pour them into the washing machine, where your pillow is. After washing, this thick mixture of cleaners remains partially stuck deeply in the volume of the pillow. Therefore, another washing cycle is needed, this time with hot water to remove the residue. With this simple method, you get rid of the yellow stains entirely.

Remove yellow stains from pillows by handwashing

best way to remove yellow stains from pillows for microfiber pillows

Handwashing is necessary when your pillows labels do not allow washing machine cleaning, this is often the case when they are made by microfiber material. Begin to remove yellow stains from pillows by washing them with a ¼ cup (60 ml) of mild laundry detergent dissolved in hot water in a large basin. It’s preferable to wear gloves. If the pillows are heavily yellow stained, add to this solution ¼ cup (60 ml) bleach. Then place the pillows into the basin with the chemicals and wash gently with your hands. At last, rinse them with cool water to wash off the detergent and the dirt residue. Finally, squeeze the pillows slightly and leave them into the dryer. The heat should be low, in order not to damage the microfiber material.

If the labels do not allow usage of a clothes dryer, put the pillows in the sun to get dry. You should turn them over from time to time.

How to get yellow stains out of pillows without washing

best way to remove yellow stains from pillows with toothbrush

Many pillows are filled with memory foam or feathers and would be damaged if washed with water. That means, you can neither put them in the washing machine nor wash them by hand. In this situation, the only possible method to remove yellow stains from pillows is by spot cleaning. Here are the materials you need to do this:

  • White vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Baking soda
  • Soft cloth
  • Toothbrush

Put your pillows on the floor, or, if possible, outside in the sun. Apply some bleach with the toothbrush to the yellow stains. If your pillows are made from very fine material, put baking soda to the yellow areas, instead of bleach. Finally, wipe away the residue from the stains with a damp cloth.

If you want to strengthen the cleaning effect of the soda, pour vinegar in a bottle sprayer and spray it on the yellow stains with the baking soda on it. Wait for a while, the chemicals to penetrate and react, and then scrub with the toothbrush.

Prevent your pillows from getting stains

remove yellow stains from pillows the cover that prevents from stains

It’s good practice to wash or dry-clean your pillows at least once a year. Between the cleanings, you may prevent them from getting heavy stains with towel coverings under their cases.

best way to remove yellow stains from pillows all the whitened pillows


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