How to Maintain White Sheets

How to maintain white sheets. Picture show a brown basket with white sheets and towels sitting on a bed of white sheets.

I love white sheets. As a mom and someone who uses skincare products heavily, though, I have to work to maintain white sheets. My favourite set is a buttery cream set I got rummaging through Ping’s fabric store in Jamaica (yes, they took the flight to Canada, too). Besides being beautiful, they have the coveted ability to remain cooler at night. Cream is harder to care for, if possible since bleach must be minimal to preserve colour, but it may cause whitening. But this love of white and light-coloured bed linen means that as a dry-skinned person born in the tropics and living in the Canadian Prairies and as a mom, I have to put in some extra effort.

Skincare Products and Maintaining White Sheets

I have dry skin. That’s bad enough living in the Caribbean, but Canada’s harsh winters demand thicker, more lasting lotion and creams. Think baby oil, olive oil and even shea butter. (I must fend off the cracking and burning somehow, eh?). My heavy skincare routine is neither light nor forgiving on these light-coloured sheets. Polyester blends and organic cotton sheets are lovely to sleep on, but my skin is perpetually slathered in moisture creams and lotions, which means they rub off on them.

Have you ever noticed that your fitted sheet is slightly darker than the flat sheet in the spot where you lay? Yep, those are your products.

Maintaining White Sheets with Kids

When I started buying white sheets, I had a toddler but was determined to try it as she wasn’t a messy baby. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The only rule I had to make was to beware of the white sheets. Even as a tot, she respected it and will gladly tell anyone that you don’t mess around with Mommy’s white sheets. She’s been so good with it that I’ve gotten her some (with some unicorns and so on to appeal to her age group, of course).

Your story may be different. If your kids are messy, it may be better for your household to make your bed off-limits. If it’s more complex, be prepared to work extra hard at maintaining them, using them only on special occasions or avoiding them altogether. You know your kids best.

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6 Tips to Maintain White Sheets

My usual tips for whiter, brighter laundry had the benefit of a tropical climate, cake soap and sun power. I’ve gotten creative to tackle the battle between my sheets and skin. I still use the basics;

In addition, there are three commandments to maintaining white sheets for me.

1. Prevention ‘better’ than cure

Never get in bed without a shower. Growing up in Jamaica, you never get anywhere near the bed in your ‘road clothes.’ This is gospel. It’s the same for daily baths. If you are sporting white sheets, your bath should be closer to bedtime. Though, not too close. Here’s why.

2. Apply skincare products at least once hour before bed

Allowing time for your products to be absorbed in your skin means the whole shebang doesn’t rub off as it would if you just shower, skincare, and immediately hop into bed. It won’t be entirely about transferring skin products and dead cells, but every little bit helps.

3. Protect your sheets

Since I am not about to lighten up on my skincare, there are other ways to avoid rubbing up my oil-slick skin, Such as:

  • Wearing long pajamas
  • Put a towel down (no that was not ambiguous, I meant to sleep)
Picture showing products used to maintain white sheets. The picture has snuggle fabric softener, Tide power pods, Oxyclean and Clorox bleach.

4. Bleach is not your friend

Bleach is often the go-to for washing whites. It may surprise you, but depending on bleach to maintain the whiteness of your sheets is futile. In fact, over time, continued use in large quantities will destroy the fabric or your sheets and leave a yellow tinge behind.

Sure, add a little bleach to disinfect, but I rely on baking soda and peroxide for colour maintenance. It doesn’t have to be every wash, but certainly often.

Also, you can use vinegar in place of fabric softener fabric. I also choose to add Oxyclean to maintain white sheets.

5. Change the Sheets As Needed

Change the sheets as needed, even if it doesn’t fall into your routine schedule. With another piece of West Indian culture, one is expected to change bedsheets at least once weekly. I have discovered that this is not the culture everywhere. So, this gets a special mention. Sheets should be changed once a week anyway, but when your sheets are white, you may need to change them more often. If the sheets need to be changed on day three, change them on day three. That’s where the limit is. Even if you wash them and put them back on, wash them!

6. Sun dry if Possible

White laundry drying in the sun will remain the brightest white for longer. In Jamaica, it is not uncommon to find white laundry lathered in bleach and cake soap (a blue washing soap bar) being pre-soaked by leaving it in the sun. Dryers are convenient, but I do miss the freshness of some clean, sun-dried laundry.

How do you maintain white sheets? Share some advice in the comments.

Xo, Shandean.

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Shandean Reid

A heavily caffeinated, quintessential millennial wife and mom doing modern family life. I’m a communications professional following a five-year stint as a SAHM, switching roles with hubby, a physician and now WFHD. I also read and write books for fun! Stick around if I'm your kind of person!




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