Six methods to prevent pillows ‘turning yellow’ – removes ‘sweat’

Can a dishwasher tablet help remove yellow pillow stains?

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Yellow stains on pillows can be caused by a plethora of different things from sweat to skin products and skin creams. You may not even realise you’re turning your pillow yellow but just resting your face on the surface of the pillow for hours can cause perspiration. The sweat eventually soaks through the pillowcase onto the pillow below. The reason sweat causes yellow stains is because of a chemical in sweat known as urea.

Urea is a harmless byproduct of sweat which breaks down and turns back into ammonia – the chemical that causes yellow stains.

While it may be near impossible to remove yellow stains from pillows, there are ways of preventing pillows from changing colour in the first place.

James Higgins, founder and CEO of Ethical Bedding has shared his advice for preventing pillows from “turning yellow”.

1. Use a pillow protector

By protecting your pillow in the first place, you can stop sweat and other substances from leaking onto the pillow.

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James said: “Encasing your pillow in a pillow protector can help prevent yellowing caused by sweat, oils and other liquids.”

2. Use a pillowcase

Most people use a pillowcase but those who don’t should start using one immediately.

Using a pillowcase can help prevent yellowing caused by sweat and oils, similar to a pillow protector.

3. Wash your pillow regularly

James explained: “Washing your pillow every six months can remove any build-up of sweat, oils and other contaminants that can cause yellowing.”

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4. Avoid direct sunlight

While sunlight can help kill bacteria, James said direct sunlight can cause yellow stains.

“Direct sunlight can cause yellowing of pillows, so try to keep your pillows out of direct sunlight when not in use,” James said.

5. Avoid bleach

Homeowners should also “avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach.”

Bleach, while a whitening product, can cause yellowing or discolouration of pillows.

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6. Rotate your pillows

Rotating your pillows can prevent excessive wear and tear on one side, which can lead to yellowing.

James added: “It’s important to keep in mind that yellowing of pillows is normal over time and may not be preventable.

“If you have an older pillow that has yellowed, it may be time to replace it.”

Washing pillows

Pillows can be washed in a variety of ways depending on the type and its fill material.

Down or feather pillows can typically be washed in a washing machine using a mild detergent. Use the gentle cycle and a large front-loading machine to prevent damage to the feathers.

Memory foam pillows are best spot-cleaned using mild detergent and warm water. Don’t wash memory foam pillows in a washing machine or submerge them in water, as this can damage the foam permanently.

Polyester or synthetic pillows can typically be washed in a washing machine on a gentle cycle using a mild detergent.

Cotton or other natural-fill pillows can be washed in a washing machine on a gentle cycle using a mild detergent.

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