How to Remove Those Unsightly Body-Oil Stains and Odors From Your Bed Sheets

October 02, 2019

How to Remove Those Unsightly Body-Oil Stains and Odors From Your Bed Sheets

Talk about ruining the mood

You have the most comfortable bed mattress on a lovely romantic sleigh bed, topped with luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets. You can’t wait to get in and snuggle in for the perfect night’s sleep. It’s everything you imagined it would be. Then the next morning comes, and it’s nothing that a Bed Scrunchy can remedy.

Oh, the horror! Someone (not naming names) had the audacity to sweat in the middle of your beautify ensemble of luxury linens. Even the pillowcase is soiled with unsightly body oil marks! Your fairy tale was short-lived, but at least you had one night together of sheer perfection. Try as you may, there is no way to convince anyone just to stop secreting during the night, be it body oil or sweat and the odors that accompany it. Since we cannot prevent it, we seek to understand, then eliminate it.

First comes understanding

Body oil stains and odors make even new bedsheets quickly look older and more worn, even when they’re still brand new. With this discovery, you are left with two choices of dealing with sweat, body oil and stains. You either resolve to buy only dark colored sheets, or you learn the tricks for removing the stains and odor. Wondering what the secret is to remove those unsightly body oil stains and odors from your bedsheets? We’ve got you covered.

Sweaty sleepers

For the sweaty sleepers, we must understand what happens when the body is at rest. As we sleep, the body reduces its temperature and expels heat from the body to protect the organs. If the sheets are not porous enough, or worse-yet, made with synthetic fabric, that heat is trapped, and the body reacts by sweating. The two leading causes for the yellow stains are aluminum-based antiperspirants, which contain acids that add to the staining process, and urea in the sweat itself (yes, it’s like urine). Urea contains compounds that cause stains on bedsheets.

Some are prone to some degree, but many can find relief with some good natural fiber sheets. If that prevention combined with altering the room temperature doesn’t work, then you continue with a good cleaning regimen and launder your sheets more frequently before the odors start coming from your bedsheets. The odors arrive as lingering bacteria starts multiplying. To learn more about how often to wash your sheets, read the blog: How often should you really be changing your bedsheets?

Oily sleepers

Sebum is the oily substance that your body secretes to lubricate your skin. This is also the substance that contributes to acne when secreted in abundance. That abundance of sebum produces oily skin, which is what creates body oil stains on your bedsheets and sometimes clothing. Over time, especially with teens and young adults, you may notice body oil stains on your pillow cases more than the bedsheets.

Removing body oil stains and odor from your bedsheets

  1. Run your body oil-stained bed sheets through a regular wash with your favorite detergent and hot water.
  2. Fill your washer again with extra hot water and add a tablespoon Dawn dish soap (to cut the grease), another regular dose of laundry detergent, and a quarter-cup of Arm & Hammer washing soda (not baking soda). Washing soda neutralizes body oil odors and is gentler to the skin and fabrics than bleach.
  3. Allow the load to agitate for a short time, enough to mix everything up, then let it soak overnight.
  4. In the morning, drain the dirty water out of the washer and run the sheets again through a regular cycle. Instead of fabric softener, add a half-cup of white vinegar to prevent any additional residue or oil from attaching to your bedsheets. I promise your sheets will not smell like a salad.
  5. If you’re able to, hang your sheets outside on a clothesline. The ultraviolet radiation of the sun brightens whites and kills any surviving bacteria that caused the odors on your bedsheets. In addition to that is the beautiful smell of “clothesline crisp” from drying them outside.

Time for some new bedsheets

If you have several bedsheet sets with years of unsightly body oil stains odor, you may wish to opt for some replacements. Our friends at Luxor Linenshave just what you need, and they are wonderfully compatible with the Bed Scrunchie, so go ahead and buy both of them!

More clean sheets tips and pointers

Here are a few tips to maintaining your bedsheet investment to bring you years of bliss:

Sensitivity to scents

Even though we recommend Dawn dishwashing liquid, it may not be very friendly to those “scentsiitive” types. Non-smelling dish soap may be a suitable alternative. Worst-case scenario, add a little extra (but not too much) to the soaking period.

Older sheets

This method works beautifully with newer bedsheets. If your bedsheets are older with years of compounded stains, it’s still worth a shot, but allow for longer soaking time. If it fails, it’s time for some new sheets, and you know exactly how to keep them beautiful this round.

Increase wash frequency

If you or your sleeping partner is regularly leaving body oil stains and sweat odors on your sheets, wash your sheets more frequently. Weekly would be best to keep those body oil stains under control. Odors, for instance usually take a couple of weeks before the bacteria population peaks. Catching in plenty of time beforehand will keep them fresh for every bedtime.

Sheet storage

Since the odors are coming from secretions, there is no need for special storage as long as you are taking steps to remove the sweat and body oil stains and odors.

Switch to natural fibers

Fabric matters when it comes to odors in your bedsheets. Synthetic fabrics are more prone to holding in those odors more than the natural fiber sheets. Replace all synthetic blend sheet sets with 100% cotton sheets to make the odors easier to combat. You’ll love the way they feel, and your body temperature is better regulated, too.


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