A Cleaner World Blog
What is that oily residue on my sheets?
One of the best wedding gifts my husband and I received was a high-end set of Egyptian cotton sheets. Our set came in a light gray color that matched our comforter and room décor perfectly. Not long after using the sheets and even between washes, I noticed some mornings there seemed to be a body outline on the sheets and pillowcases that appeared oily.
There are a few causes for this, which include:
- Oily sleepers: Caused by sebum, the substance our body secretes to lubricate the skin, which can lead to body oil stains on bedsheets and even clothing.
- Sweaty sleepers: Caused by our body’s reaction to trapped heat, usually from sheets made of synthetic fibers.
- Deodorants: Caused by aluminum-based antiperspirants contain acid, leading to additional staining when it meets our bedsheet.
These unsightly stains can make you cringe when crawling into bed in the evening. While tossing sheets in the laundry might clean them, often that residual stain lingers on your best sheets.
We suggest you leave it to a professional for cleaning sheets with oil stains, as many fabrics require various treatments. “One of dry-cleaning solvent’s best traits is that it will break down and remove oils and greases better than water and the best grease-removing soap” said Brian Harrell, A Cleaner World VP. “In fact decades ago, the Army used a similar type of solvent to dissolve grease from tank tracks.”
- If you’d like to care for your sweaters at home, we recommend using these general guidelines:
- Always follow the instructions on the sweater’s care label.
- Identify the stained area by laying your sheet out and then running a small amount of grease-cutting dish soap, such as Dawn, and warm water directly onto the stain.
- Let your sheet sit for 30 minutes.
- Wash with your favorite detergent in hot water. Hot water will help to lift the stain.
- If time allows, hang dry your sheets to ensure the stain has come out. By immediately drying, you run the risk of setting the stain.
- If stains are not removed, repeat the process.
How can you prevent these stains from happening in the first place? Be sure to go to bed with skin and hair free from products, like hair spray, hair gel, lotion, and oils. Wash your sheets weekly and keep a few sets, so they stay in rotation and last longer.
If you need help caring for your sheets, feel free to stop by one of our locations. We are happy to answer any questions you might have, and we will, of course, be there to provide the best care for your best night's sleep.