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Everyday Cheapskate: How to Get Yellow-Stained Bed Pillows White Again

Mary Hunt on

Our favorite bed pillows get a lot of use every night. We keep clean pillowcases on them and don't think much about the pillow inside until it's time to change the bed linens. Have you looked recently?

Yikes! The pristine white pillows have turned blotchy with disgusting yellowish-to-brownish stains. What on Earth? The most common response is to jam it into a clean pillowcase and hope to never have to look at that mess again!

What are those stains?

The culprit is sweat, the chemical composition of which varies from one person to the next. Now add drool, body oils, makeup and hair products transferred to the pillow from lying down with wet hair; all of these things discolor pillows over time. But why not the pillowcases? Because we launder them frequently. When did you last launder your pillows?

Some people sweat more than others, which can account for why your spouse's pillow is far more stained than yours, or your teenage son's pillow is more disgusting than, say, his little brother's. Your face or head resting on that pillow hour after hour releases sweat, which travels easily through the pillowcase and into the pillow.



Check to make sure the pillow tag says that it is washable. Most pillows can be safely washed. Do not attempt to wash memory foam pillows; instead, follow the manufacturer instructions for care and cleaning. Wash only one large (king-size) pillow or two smaller pillows at a time for the best results.

You'll need the following ingredients:

--Soilove or your favorite laundry pretreatment stain remover.

--1 cup powdered laundry detergent (any will do, but I keep a box of Tide Ultra just for washing pillows).


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