Why Pillows Turn Yellow Complete Guide

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Are You Worrying That Your Pillow Has Turned Yellow? Find Out Why

You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered why your pillowcase seems to get yellow over time. It’s a question that many people have, and the answer is pretty simple.

Pillows turn yellow because of the oils and sweat that our skin produces. Our skin is constantly shedding dead cells, and these cells contain oil and sweat. When the pillowcase rubs against our skin, it picks up these oils and work and eventually transfers them to the pillow itself.

The good news is that you can do a few things to prevent your pillows from turning yellow. First, try to wash your pillowcase regularly. This will help remove the oils and sweat that are causing the discolouration. You can also try to use a pillowcase made from natural fibre, such as cotton or linen. These materials are less likely to absorb the oils and sweat from your skin.

Finally, if your pillow has already turned yellow, you can try to bleach it. Be sure to test the bleach on a small pad area first to make sure that it doesn’t damage the fabric.

What causes pillows to turn yellow?

Sweat is the most prevalent cause of yellowing pillows, but there are a few others. Most individuals sweat when sleeping (even if they are physically unconscious of it), and sweat seeping through your pillowcase and staining your pillow over time causes yellow stains.

Aside from sweat, other types of moisture, such as natural oils from your skin, might cause your pillows to turn yellow. When you add in facial oils, serums, and moisturisers, not to mention hair products, yellow stains on your pillows are unavoidable.

Is it OK to sleep on pillows that have yellow stains?

If your pillow is more than two years old and has yellow and brown stains, we recommend replacing it. This is especially true if you haven’t washed your pillow and don’t use a pillow protector after purchasing it.

Other things than sweat, oils and dead skin are likely to have accumulated on the pillow: dust mites and other allergens may be present. Bacteria thrive in moist environments, such as those created by sweat and grease. Also, if your pillow is causing you neck pain or has lost its shape, it’s time to get a new one.

How to keep your cushions from yellowing

You can’t stop yourself from sweating in bed altogether, but you can better protect your pillows from yellow stains. The most effective method is to use a pillow protector to safeguard your pillow. These are a cheap way to offer a layer of protection between your cushion and perspiration, oils, and moisture.

Pillow protectors are low maintenance because they can be washed weekly with the rest of your bed linens. It’s a good idea to rotate a few to always have one on hand.

If your hair is damp, avoid sleeping on it because the water will seep through and stain your pillow yellow over time. Wearing heavy oil-based serums and creams to bed is also a no-no, and makeup should be removed before going to bed.

Is it possible to get yellow stains out of a pillow?

Yellow stains can’t be removed (especially older stains that have genuinely set in), but they can be reduced. When it comes to washing bedding, especially how to clean a mattress, we always advise reading the care instructions first.

A small fabric tag should protrude from the side of your pillow; this is where you’ll discover instructions on how to wash and dry your pillows (never cover damp pads with linens as otherwise, they could develop mildew).

Spot-treat stains before washing your pillow in the machine (if it can be machine washed). Sprays and lotions for stain removal are solid yet practical while making your paste with baking soda and water is a more realistic option.

Some cleaning professionals propose mixing bleach and washing detergent to remove stubborn yellow stains. Still, you must be sure that the materials to construct your pillow can take such harsh treatment.

How do you keep pillows from turning yellow?

Before going to bed, make sure your hair is dry, that you’ve washed out any hair products, that you’ve removed your makeup, and that you’ve avoided putting any cream on your face. However, the easiest way to keep your pillows from going yellow is to cover them with a pillow protector before adding a pillowcase.

Is it normal for pillows to be yellow?

Yes, it’s normal if not used properly. Sweat causes the yellowing of pillows. Other factors that cause a pad to turn yellow include sleeping with damp hair, lotions and oils on the skin, and wetness. The pillow will turn yellow if moisture or sweat is left on it for an extended period.

How do you get yellow stains out of pillows?

If you’re wondering how to whiten yellow-stained pillows, the process is relatively straightforward. To make them appear brand new, all you need is dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, bleach, borax, and a little hot water.


Sweat and oils seeping through your sheets to the pillow generate most yellow stains, but cosmetics, hair products, water (from damp hair), and drool can also cause yellow colours on pillows.

Covering your pillows with a waterproof, anti-allergen pillow protector is the best approach to prevent stains. These protect against moisture and dust mites, extending the life of your pillow and saving you money in the long run.

To protect your mattress from stains, spills, and allergens, consider investing in the finest mattress protector. Depending on how deep they are, you could even put one over your mattress topper to keep it secure.


Ameer is the content director of Sleepingmentor, which means he not only reviews new mattresses, bedsheets, pillows, and mattress toppers every week, but also curates all the comparisons, best of pages, reviews pages, and vs pages on the site. He takes a straightforward, honest approach to his reviews. He covers sleep science by researching a lot on Google and finding meaningful content which entertains his users.

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