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    Removing Common Stains from Bedding

    Guide to Removing Common Stains from Bedding

    25 Apr 2023

    Between eating, sleeping, and everything else we do in them, our bedding is often on the receiving end of a lot of spills and stains from our daily bed-based activities. To refresh your sheets, all it usually takes is a run through the washing machine every week or so. However, for some stains, regular cleaning won’t be enough to get rid of the evidence of your late-night snacking session or evening glass of red. Stains like these require a bit more of a specialised approach beyond throwing them in the wash.

    Common bedding stains include ink, red wine, coffee, chocolate, makeup, fake tan, sweat, and blood. All of these substances will likely leave your bedding with stains that a regular washing cycle will fail to remove; what’s more, each has its own recommended removal technique, with these techniques using a mix of commercial and DIY stain removal treatments. In this guide, we’ll take you through each of these common bedding stains and their recommended treatments to get your bedding back to its former glory.

    cleaning a mattress

    Ink Stains on Bedding

    Ink marks are a common household stain to find in bedding. Perhaps you dropped a cap-less marker on your bed, or a pen accidentally made its way into the wash. You’ll need to act quickly to treat this kind of stain to minimise the difficulty of its removal.

    What You Need to Remove Ink Stains from Bedding:

    • Rubbing alcohol (or alternatively hairspray)
    • Kitchen roll

    How to Remove Ink Stains from Bedding: 

    1. Use rubbing alcohol to dab at the ink marks. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol at hand, you can use hairspray as an alternative. Take particular care to dab the ink rather than rub; a rubbing action will only spread the stain further, whereas dabbing will lift the ink from the fabric. Also, take note that this method may cause the colour to run in some fabrics.
    2. After lifting as much of the ink as possible, blot the affected area dry with some kitchen roll.
    3. Rinse the affected area with cold water. 
    Red Wine Stains

    Red Wine Stains on Bedding

    Red wine spillages are a classic bedding stain. Red wine and accidental spills go hand-in-hand, especially if you’re enjoying an evening glass from the comfort of your bed. This is another stain that will be easier to remove the quicker you treat it; following the steps below will give you the best chance of remedying this notoriously stubborn stain. 

    What You Need to Remove Red Wine Stains from Bedding:

    • An empty bowl or basin
    • A clean cloth
    • Table salt
    • Soda water

    How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Bedding:

    1. Find an empty container (like a bowl or basin) and place it beneath the red wine stain on the bedding. 
    2. You should first perform an immediate initial treatment on the red wine spill to minimise the stain. To do so, begin by soaking a clean cloth in hot water. Then, sprinkle some salt onto the affected area, before using the cloth to dab at it. It’s important to specifically dab the stained area, rather than rub it, to avoid spreading the stain further. 
    3. Next, soak the stained bedding in soda water. Work some more table salt into the stain then leave the treatment to rest. After leaving it for a little while, finally place the bedding in the washing machine on a normal cycle.
    4. If the mattress is affected and has a removable cover, remove the cover to treat it using the same technique.
    Coffee Stains

    Coffee Stains

    Coffee is another drink we like to enjoy in bed, and consequently, is another common stain in bedding. It’s all too easy to spill your early morning coffee in your bed when you’re still half-asleep. Fortunately, providing you deal with it quickly, you should be able to remove a coffee stain from bedding relatively easily; we’ve detailed this process below.  

    What You Need to Remove Coffee Stains from Bedding:

    • Laundry detergent
    • Stain remover treatment

    How to Remove Coffee Stains from Bedding:

    1. As soon as possible, rinse the coffee spill with cold water. 
    2. Work some laundry detergent into the coffee-stained area then allow this to rest for about 5 minutes.
    3. If the stain still hasn’t come out, follow up with a stain remover treatment and machine wash. 

    Chocolate Stains on Bedding

    Another indulgence that always tastes better in bed is chocolate. It may not be until the next day that you wake up and find the opposite of a treat - that being remnants of chocolate melted into your bedding. Chocolate stains can be surprisingly tricky to remove from bedding, but we’ve detailed the most effective method below.

    What You Need to Remove Chocolate Stains from Bedding:

    • A flat object for scraping (e.g. a butterknife)
    • Laundry detergent
    • Stain remover

    How to Remove Chocolate Stains from Bedding:

    1. Using a flat object like a butterknife, manually scrape off as much of the hardened chocolate from the bedding as possible.
    2. Pour some cold water over the remaining chocolate stains on the bedding.
    3. Work some liquid laundry detergent into the chocolate stain and allow this to rest for about 5 minutes.
    4. Soak the bedding in cold water for a further 15 minutes. 
    5. Treat the bedding with a stain remover before putting it through the washing machine. 

    Sauce Stains on Bedding

    As the last in our series of food-based stains, sauces, particularly tomato sauces, are also a very common source of stains on bedding. Maybe you were slurping a bit too overzealously on your spaghetti dinner and your bedding has paid the price. Any similar sauce-based food will leave a stain on your bedding that can be challenging to remove. 

    What You Need to Remove Sauce Stains from Bedding:

    • Soda water
    • Table salt

    How to Remove Sauce Stains from Bedding:

    1. Soak the sauce-stained area of the bedding in soda water.
    2. Wring out the bedding before treating the stain with table salt.
    3. Leave the bedding to rest.
    4. Rinse out the salt then put the bedding in the washing machine on a regular cycle.Makeup Stains

    In the makeup-wearing community, we’ve all been guilty of falling asleep without removing our face from the day before. Unlike how it originally looked on your face, makeup on bedding can create an unsightly stain that you’ll want to remove ASAP. You can use the following method to remove foundation, mascara, and lipstick stains from your sheets and pillowcases

    What You Need to Remove Makeup Stains from Bedding:

    • Washing-up liquid
    • Micellar water
    • Baking soda

    How to Remove Makeup Stains from Bedding:

    1. Work some washing-up liquid into the makeup stains using a gentle patting motion.
    2. If you have it to hand, add some micellar water to the stain in the same fashion.
    3. Leave the treatment to rest for about 30 minutes. 
    4. Place the bedding into the washing machine, add ½ cup of baking soda, then run it on a regular cycle.
    cleaning bedding

    Fake Tan Stains on Bedding

    In the same vein as the previous stain, fake tan is another common substance that will mark your bedding. If you use fake tan, you want your body to look bronzed, but less so your bedsheets. You can get rid of fake tan stains from your bedding using the method we detail below.

    What You Need to Remove Fake Tan Stains from Bedding:

    • Baking soda

    How to Remove Fake Tan Stains from Bedding:

    1. Combine ½ cup of baking soda with some water to create a paste. 
    2. Apply the paste directly to the fake tan stains.
    3. Leave the treatment to rest for about 30 minutes.
    4. Place the bedding into the washing machine and wash it on a regular cycle. 

    Sweat Stains on Bedding

    Some unavoidably common stains on bedding are areas of discolouration from sweat and body oils. It’s natural for us humans to sweat and shed while we sleep; as a natural consequence, our bodily excretions contain substances that can cause white bedding to turn yellow. And, if you think that using more deodorant would reduce this staining, think again; the aluminium in deodorant mixes with chemicals in your sweat, which actually results in more noticeable yellow stains. With all of that in mind, even the most cleanly individuals will face sweat stains on their bedding from time to time.

    What You Need to Remove Sweat Stains from Bedding:

    • Laundry detergent
    • Bleach, borax, or a baking soda/vinegar solution
    • A bathtub or large basin

    How to Remove Sweat Stains from Bedding:

    1. Hand wash the sheets using a gentle laundry detergent.
    2. Immediately after handwashing, soak the sheets in the bleach, borax, or a DIY solution of baking soda and white vinegar. This is likely easiest to carry out in a bathtub; otherwise you can use a large basin or bucket.
    3. After leaving the sheets to soak for a while, place them into the washing machine and run them on a regular cycle.

    Blood Stains on Bedding

    Blood is another natural bodily substance that can stain bedding. Being one of the least desirable yet overly common stains, you’ll want to rid your bedding of all traces of this substance. 

    What You Need to Remove Blood Stains from Bedding:

    • Saline solution
    • Baking soda
    • Table salt
    • Hydrogen peroxide

    How to Remove Blood Stains from Bedding: 

    1. Combine saline solution, baking soda, and table salt to create a DIY blood stain remover.
    2. Use a cloth to dab this mixture onto the stained areas until they’re saturated with the solution.
    3. After allowing the bedding to rest, throw it all into the washing machine to wash it on a regular cycle. 
    4. It the blood marks persist, follow up with a further treatment by dabbing hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stains; rinse the bedding with cold water to remove the last of the stainage.

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