How To Whiten Sheets With Borax

Many people use white sheets on their bed because they go with any comforter, quilt, or duvet. Unfortunately, white sheets aren’t immune to dirt, oil, and sweat, making your white sheets look dull! There’s one household cleaner that you can use in multiple ways to whiten your sheets: Borax. In this article, we’ll teach you how to use Borax to keep your sheets looking white and bright.

Borax can be used as both a pre- oak treatment and a spot remover. To use Borax as a pre-soak treatment, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse the sheets.
  2. Fill a tub with water.
  3. Mix the Borax in the water.
  4. Add the sheets and let them soak.
  5. Wash as normal.
  6. Check them before drying.

To use Borax as a spot remover, follow these steps:

  1. Make a Borax solution.
  2. Apply the solution to the stain.
  3. Let the stain soak.
  4. Wash as normal.

Many people are choosing less harmful chemicals like Borax over chlorine bleach to keep their laundry looking white. Using Borax properly by following the steps above can be just as effective. For more specific details and amounts to use, keep reading!

Women holding laundry basket and sheets at home, How To Whiten Sheets With Borax

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Using Borax as a Pre-Treatment

As you sleep, your sheets are exposed to body oil, sweat, and dirt, even if you shower before bed. Pre-soaking your sheets before you wash them can help break down those tough, built-up stains. Keep in mind that the larger your load of laundry is, the more Borax you’ll need. Since sheets make for quite a large load, you will need several cups of Borax in order to whiten them. Let’s get started!

1. Rinse the Sheets

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Pre-soak dirty sheets for washing

Before using Borax on your sheets, rinse the sheets with warm water. This will help remove any dirt and oil that isn’t set in yet so that when you add the Borax, it will penetrate deeply into the fabric. You can rinse the sheets by hand in your tub or shower, but since sheets are so bulky and large, it may be easier for you to run them through a warm-water rinse cycle in your washing machine. Just don’t use any soap or detergent at this time.

2. Fill a Tub with Water

Unless you have a really large bucket or sink, the best option for using Borax as a pre-soak is to fill your bathtub with warm water. Warm water works with the Borax to help break down oil and dissolve stains more easily than cold water. You should use enough water to completely submerge your sheets.

3. Mix the Borax in the Water 

Box of 20 Mule team borax

Before adding your sheets to the water, mix in the Borax. You should use about ½ cup of Borax for every gallon of water. For reference, most bathtubs hold around 40 gallons of water, but 10 to 15 gallons should be enough water to submerge sheets. You’ll need about 5 to 7 cups of Borax. Once you’ve added the Borax, gently stir the water to help dissolve it.

Try this 1-gallon bucket of Borax from Amazon.

Or, check out this 4 pack of 65 oz. boxes of Borax on Amazon.

4. Add the Sheets and Let them Soak

Add your sheets to the water and Borax mixture. Make sure the sheets are completely submerged in the water. If they aren’t completely submerged, the Borax won’t clean all areas of the sheets properly. Let the sheets soak for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how big or set-in the stains are.

5. Wash as Normal

A man put dirty sheets on the washing machine by hand

After the sheets have soaked, wash them as normal, following the care instructions on the label. For most cotton or polyester sheets, it is recommended to wash them with warm water on the normal wash cycle. It is okay to add your regular detergent at this point, or you can add another ½ cup of Borax to the load in place of detergent.

6. Check the Sheets Before Drying

Before you throw the sheets in the dryer or hang them to dry, check the sheets to make sure they look whiter, and all stains have been removed. If they haven’t, pre-soak the sheets again, following the steps above, and re-wash them. Once sheets have been dried, the stains are harder to remove.

When the stains are removed, dry the sheets on the normal cycle or hang them outside to dry. If you toss them in the dryer, shake them a little beforehand to loosen them up. Sheets that are bunched up and tangled can prolong the drying cycle. Enjoy your newly whitened sheets!

See Also: “How Long Do Bed Sheets Take To Dry?

Using Borax as a Spot Remover

Using borax as a spot remover, How To Whiten Sheets With Borax

Let’s say you spilled something on your white sheets, or there are only certain areas that are dull and need whitening. Borax can also be used as a pre-wash spot remover. To use Borax to remove individual stains, follow these steps.

1. Make a Borax Solution

Depending on the side of the spot you want to remove, mix 1 part Borax with 2 parts water. You may need as little as 1-tablespoon of Borax and 2-tablespoons of water for smaller stains or as much as 1-cup of Borax and 2-cups of water for larger stains. Use your judgment on how much you think you need. The solution should have the consistency of paste.

2. Apply the Solution to the Stain

Using a rag or wearing a pair of gloves, apply the Borax solution to the stains you want to remove. Spread it across the stain and make sure it is covered completely. For best results, gently scrub the solution into the stain.

3. Let the Stain Soak

After gently scrubbing the stain, let the solution sit on the stain for 30 to 45 minutes. Giving the Borax time to soak into the stain will help ensure that more of the stain is removed, although the stain may not be completely gone until you wash it.

4. Wash and Dry as Normal

A man put dirty sheets on the washing machine by hand

Remove the Borax solution and stain from the sheets by washing and drying them as you normally would. Follow the washing and drying instructions that are listed above, checking the sheets before drying to make sure the stain was removed. If not, repeat the stain removal treatment before drying.

What Can You Use For Whitening Instead Of Borax?

An all natural, organic household disinfectant. Ingredients include lemon juice, Borax powder and water. Mix well and put into spray bottle.

Because of its similar composition to Borax, baking soda can be used instead to whiten sheets and other clothing. Just add 1-cup of baking soda to the load before you wash. Pour it directly onto the clothes and not into the detergent or bleach dispenser.

Chlorine bleach can also be used, but if you’re worried about health hazards, oxygen-based bleaches are just as effective and can be added to your washing machine’s bleach dispenser before starting the load. You can also 1-cup of lemon juice in place of bleach. Pour it into the water during the wash cycle.

These oxygen bleach laundry packs from Amazon are convenient and mess-free.

Why Do Sheets Turn Yellow?

Sheets turn yellow with age as they accumulate sweat and body oil. Even if we bathe or shower before bed, our bodies are constantly producing oil even while we sleep. The oil accumulates on the sheets giving them a yellow tinge.

If you moisturize before bed, lotion and other skincare products can also build up on the sheets. The residue of the lotion on your skin attaches itself to the fibers. Sheets made of polyester or other synthetic fabrics will start to look yellow faster than sheets made of cotton, but even cotton sheets will yellow over time.

How Do You Get Yellow Stains Out Of White Sheets?

Messy bed. White pillow with blanket on bed unmade. Concept of relaxing after morning. With lighting window. Top view.

It’s hard to remove yellow stains with laundry detergent. Detergent may remove most of the oil and residue, but the pigments will still remain. Using Borax following the pre-soak treatment steps above can help remove those yellow stains, but it may take several treatments and washes before they are gone completely.

You can also pre-soak your sheets in vinegar instead of Borax. Mix half a cup of vinegar with a gallon of warm water in a tub and soak the yellowed sheets in it for an hour. Wash the sheets in the washing machine. Then air-dry the sheets to remove any lingering vinegar smell.

Chlorine bleach can be used, but the chlorine can react with oil and sweat, causing even more yellow stains to appear. Before using bleach on yellowed sheets, wash them with your normal detergent to remove any oil and sweat. After washing them normally, add bleach to the wash cycle and wash the sheets again to whiten them.

How Often Should You Wash Sheets?

Laundry room with blue wall,basket,flowers and shelving

Not washing your sheets regularly can actually cause problems sleeping due to build-ups of hair, oil, dead skin, and sweat. For most sheets, it is recommended to wash them once a week to remove oil, dust mites, and bacteria that form as a result of these build-ups.

Because white sheets will show dirt and oil stains faster, it is recommended to wash them even more frequently, like every four to five days, to prolong the life of them and keep them looking white and fresh.

See Also: How To Wash White Sheets


Borax can work wonders for whitening sheets. For best results, follow the instructions precisely. While you don’t need to use Borax every time you wash your sheets, using Borax once or twice or month can keep your sheets looking white for a long time. Sleep tight on your clean, white sheets.


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