Why Are My Pillows Yellow & How Do I Prevent It?

Yellow pillows aren’t a great sight. You could make the argument that you don’t really see the pillow on a daily basis as it’s covered by a pillowcase, but do you really want to be lying on a stained yellow pillow for 8 hours a night?

It’s even worse if you’re in a hotel, as the yellow staining has been caused by the hundreds of heads that have hit the pillow during the course of its life. Hotels should be aware of guests pulling off a pillowcase to see what’s underneath, as the last thing the guest wants to be sleeping on is a pillow with a sickly yellow stain. It’s a sure-fire way to ensure nobody ever stays in your hotel again.

But why do pillows turn yellow in the first place and how can you prevent it from happening? Read on to find out.

Why do my pillows turn yellow?

You may not realise you’re doing it, especially on a particularly cold night in the UK, but we all sweat while we’re sleeping. Your head and face are resting against the surface of the pillow for hours on end, which causes you to perspire. This will eventually soak through the pillowcase and reach the pillow below.

It’s not just sweat that can cause that nasty yellow stain, other sources of moisture such as going to bed with wet hair or drooling throughout the night also contribute. Chemicals such as hair product, makeup and other types of skin products can also pillow discolouration. Natural oil from your skin can also cause yellowing over the long run, although this process is often sped along if you go to bed after applying skin products such as skin cream.

How can I stop my pillows turning yellow?

Firstly, you can avoid doing some of the things that we’ve listed in the section above. Dry your hair before bed, wash out any hair product, remove makeup and avoid putting any cream on your face.

But the best thing you can do to prevent your pillows turning yellow is to slide a pillow protector over your pillow before you add a pillowcase. This gives you an extra layer of protection in-between the pillow and pillowcase.

Pillow protectors help prevent wear and tear to your pillow, which is even more essential if you’re buying particularly expensive pillows. But they also work as an effective barrier against fluids like sweat, spills, stains and even bed bugs and dust mites. They use fabric that’s better suited to preventing these issues than your standard pillowcase.

Take a look at our full range of pillow protectors.

Can I remove the yellow stain from my pillows?

The pillows you buy will have washing instructions on the care label, providing that the pillows are machine washable. So, always follow the instructions on the care label to ensure you’re washing them at the right heat. Here at Vision Linens, we supply care instructions under a tab on each product page, although these are only a guide and may not be suitable for the care process that you require.

You can spot treat any small stains before you pop them into the washing machine by using a standard stain removal spray or a paste of baking soda and water. This will help loosen the stain before it goes for a longer wash in the washing machine.

If you’re having trouble getting stains out using standard laundry detergent, try a combination of detergent mixed with 120ml of bleach and borax.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to completely remove the stains, especially if they’ve been there for a long time, so the best thing to do is to protect them with pillow protectors so that they don’t become stained in the first place. You should also make sure to fully wash your pillows at least twice a year.

For more information on common laundry problems with pillows, take some time to read our article on ‘laundry problems with duvets and pillows and how to fix them’.