My husband has oily hair and has left the pillowcases yellowed. How do I make them white again and do I soak them (how much and how long) before washing? I’m afraid this has built up over time.
This is quite a problem, not just because of the oil build up, but also from the likelihood that these pillowcases have been going into a hot dryer following each wash cycle. Heat from the dryer can “set” stains, making them very difficult to get out. However, with a series of 2 different presoaks you should be able to whiten the pillowcases substantially. I would pre-soak several times with a couple of different products so you can solubilize the oil, as well as break up and remove residual body soil. It’s best to work on the oily residue first:
- In a plastic dishpan, dissolve 1 scoop of Clorox 2® For Colors Powder in 2 gallons of hot water and stir with a plastic spoon to dissolve. Completely submerge the pillowcases (weigh them down if necessary—glass pie dishes work well for this, and so do dishwasher safe dinner plates) for 8 hours or overnight. Rinse the pillowcases and plastic dish pan before the next step.
- Pre-soak again, this time with a Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach soaking solution. Add ¼ cup Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach to 1 gallon of water and fully submerge the pillowcases for 5 minutes. Drain the soaking solution and then machine wash the pillowcases in hot water using a good detergent + ⅓ cup Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach.
- Air dry the pillowcases and check to see if any yellowing remains. If it looks like you are making progress, then repeat the steps if necessary.
In the future, make sure you always wash your sheets and pillowcases using hot water, a good detergent that contains enzymes, and ⅓ cup Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach. Pretreating the area of the pillowcase that gets oily with a little liquid laundry detergent before washing will also help keep the oil build-up under control.