Why Do Pillows Turn Yellow? And How To Keep Them White?

Why do pillows go yellow over time? And how can we prevent our pillows from turning yellow?

There are many reasons why pillows turn yellow over time, but sweat and moisture are the most significant reasons.

Other causes include wet hair, skin oils, saliva from your mouth, and exposure to sunlight.

This article will explore why pillows turn yellow (it is actually quite natural) and learn how to prevent it from happening.

If you’ve ever wondered why your pillow gets yellow, read on!

What Causes Yellow Stains On Pillows?

Let’s find out why pillows turn yellow.

1. Moisture

When your pillow gets in contact with any moisture, it turns yellow. 

Things like sweat and wet hair from the shower can contribute to your pillow getting yellow.

No matter how little the moisture is, it can affect your pillow. 

Perspiration: We sweat while we sleep, and that sweat gets into our bedding.

At temperatures below 85 degrees, sweating is minimal. You lose a certain amount of moisture through your breath and evaporation. Water loss averages about 25 milliliters per hour. That is about 200 milliliters per night.

The majority of that is simply exhaled, not absorbed by the cushion.

A warm room, energetic bed use, and night sweats (sleep hyperhidrosis) all increase sweating.

Hair: Before you lay down for the night, blow dry your hair thoroughly or allow it to air-dry.

Saliva: Saliva from the mouth is absorbed directly into the pillowcase and then into the cushion itself.

Drool will accumulate if you sleep with your mouth open (typical for a side sleeper). The result is large patches on your pillow.

2. Skin and Hair Lotions

Lotions from your SKIN contribute to having your pillow turn yellow. Whenever you go to bed without a shower, you can stain your cushion due to the lotions sticking to your skin. 

Keep away from using creams when going to bed, as this way, you protect the fabric from getting yellow.

Hair oils can be the reason why your pillow is turning yellow as the oils get to stick to the fabric. You should keep away from hair oils getting to touch your pillow. 

You can use a head cap to keep the hair oils away from the fabric. There is a pillow casing that you can purchase that will help reduce oil retention from the case to the cushion.

3. Beauty products

Beauty products like makeup can damage your pillows, so it is advisable to go to bed without any makeup

It is good that before heading to bed, you remove all the makeup from your face as this will keep the cushion safe from becoming yellow.

How to Keep Pillows From Turning Yellow?

There are ways to keep the pillows from turning yellow.

Keep your bedroom temperature down to prevent sweating, and wash your face before getting into bed.

Other important things to note are:

1. Change Pillowcases Frequently

Changing the pillowcase often allows you to keep the pillow fabric from getting stained. 

When stains keep increasing, the pillow turns yellow, making this a big problem.

Please do not sleep on the same pillowcase for a whole week without changing them.

2. Wash Your Pillow

Be very serious about washing your pillow and after how long you do. 

This is good as it allows you to get rid of any stains or moisture that would have led to the pillow turning yellow.

Fluff carefully to prevent the pillows from getting flat. It also helps to redistribute the filling and prevent it from becoming compressed. Compressed areas can hold moisture.

You get a hold of the problem before it becomes critical and has you looking to buy new pillows.

What Causes Fabrics Colored White to Turn Yellow Over Time? 

Many materials are yellowish in the first place. They just add fluorescent whiteners (fluorescent whitening agents), usually fluorescent blue. 

You can see this if you use a UV light. When exposed to UV light, they glow whitish-blue. 

Whitening agents wear out over time, especially when exposed to UV light.

Is it Normal For a Pillow to Turn Yellow?

It is pretty natural for white pillows to turn yellow due to sweat, saliva, and body oils. 

White pillows can’t be stopped from yellowing. However, you can make yellow pillows white again.

How do I Get Old Yellowed Pillow White Again?

The yellow stains can make the pillows and cushions look displeasing.

Pillows can usually be machine washed with mild detergent at low temperatures.

But always CHECK the care TAG beforehand!

Some pillows may require dry cleaning or spot cleaning. The pillow fabric or the filler inside might degrade while being machine washed.

Spot clean your pillow before tossing it in the washer if it has stains. Use any regular spray or water and baking soda paste for stain removal. 

Observe whether yellow stains remain after washing the pillows. Try cleaning again with a bleaching solution (1/4th cup peroxide) if the stains are still there. 

Make sure to dry your pillow thoroughly before putting it back to use.

If the pillow is still yellow and there is no odor of sweat, you can use it with a pillow cover. If the smell persists, you will need to buy a new pillow.

The Bottom Line

Take care of your pillows the right way to keep them away from getting damaged and turning yellow. 

It would be best if you were not sleeping on yellow-colored pillows resulting from poor care. And with poor care, old pillows might get unhealthy.

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