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How to Get Yellow-Stained Bed Pillows White Again

Depending on how old these yellow bed pillow stains are, it’s a good bet you can get your bed pillows clean and beautifully white again.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Housekeeping
Cuisine: Laundry
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Treating stains, soaking and laundry cycle: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • Large container (bucket, bin, tub)


  • Laundry stain pretreatment, like Blue Dawn Ultra that contains enzymes
  • 1 cup powdered laundry detergent
  • 1 cup powdered automatic dishwasher detergent
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1 cup liquid bleach, or bleach alternative
  • 1 cup white vinegar


  • Treat the stains and allow them to sit for about 20 minutes.
  • Soak the pillows in hot water—the hottest you can manage from the tap. If your washing machine is a top-loader and has a soak function, use that. Fill the washer with hot water and then stop the cycle to allow the pillow(s) to soak. If yours is a front loader find a big container like a storage bin or the bathtub for this step.
  • While the pillows soak, pull out the biggest cooking pot you can find. Fill it with tap water, set it on a burner on High and bring it to full boil. Turn the burner off and pour in the laundry detergent, Cascade, and borax. Stir gently until the products dissolve in the boiling water.
  • Carefully pour the contents of your hot caldron into the washer, storage bin or tub—wherever your pillows are soaking. Carefully add and stir in the liquid bleach. Make sure the stained pillows are fully saturated by turning them over or moving them around. You may need to use a broom handle or similar to gently push them down in the washer as pillows will tend to “float.” Allow soaking for at least one hour. Longer is fine.
  • After the soak, launder the pillow(s) using your machine's longest hot wash cycle, with an extra rinse if you have that option. Add a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse by pouring it into the liquid softener reservoir. This will keep it separate from the bleach, as you absolutely do not want to mix bleach and vinegar.
  • Dry the pillows in the dryer in a medium heat cycle along with wool dryer balls if you have them. If not, throw in a couple of tennis balls, each one tied into the toe of a sock into the dryer to keep the pillows moving. For down pillows, use the air-only or fluff option. If the pillow is synthetic, use Low heat.
  • Look at the difference!
    A close up of a piece of paper


Note 1: Soilove contains enzymes that attack protein and other organic stains in ways I cannot describe. It is fabulous on bed pillow stains.
Note 2: If your washing machine is a front loader find a big container like a storage bin or the bathtub for this step.
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!