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Help! re washing sheets

I’ve been hosting in Australia for just over a year now. Absolutely love it (and Airbnb) and have just added a studio apt to my mix. So I now have double and queen spaces.
My biggest challenge is keeping sheets white and stainless. I cottoned on pretty quickly that lovely as it is to have coloured sheets and towels, it’s hard to get rid of some stains. So all white. But, there are often ‘unidentified’ stains that a good wash with whitener added, still won’t get out.
I’d love to hear your advice on temperature, cycle length, detergent and any other boring but important tips on this subject.
I’d consider a laundry service but we don’t have a good one here!
Thanks in advance.

Yes, it is a chore! We first bought some lovely tan jacquard(striped) sheets, but we were afraid to bleach them – then we noticed that they wear out faster too. You have to wash so frequently and the sheets take such a beating. So I agree white is best.

When we have the mystery stain after washing, I’ve found that rubbing it with old fashioned bar soap works well – we have one in the US called “Fels-Naptha” which has some kind of whitener in it and works well with dirt, makeup, blood (with soaking). When the stain is stubborn, a light brushing with a stiff brush helps.

Recently I had some light brown mystery stuff that didn’t come off this way and I tried Baking Soda (what the heck?) – and it worked! It might have been coffee, which is acidic so the weak base in the sodium carbonate would work well against it. Anyway, all of these fall into the “it can’t hurt” category, so I just try stuff until it comes out. They are also cheap! Works well and cheap :).

It also helps to have three sets of sheets so I can take a few days to figure it out if need be.

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It seems the key thing is to notice the stains before washing - if they go through heat either in washing, drying, and certainly ironing, it ‘fixes’ the stain. So far I’ve got rid of all marks (save the ones that I didn’t see because the guests had stripped the bed - so only noticed at the point of ironing, doh, too late) by either soaking in cold water and lots of salt if it’s blood/body stuff (?!?!) or in cold water with oxyclean. After a good soak, a bit of a scrub, and then a wash with oxyclean added to the usual powder (for whites) all is good. And yes, whites are the way to go - I’ve four sets per bed and they’re all holding up well after nearly two years, and are as white as when they started.

I would also consider Mrs Stewart blueing liquid because white all cotton sheets do turn yellow after a while. Always wash white sheet in warm water and dry only until slightly damp for ironing. I never bleach the sheet but use Detergent and Biz which works better then oxyclean because it has a ezamix in it that goes through a lot of food stains.

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My check-out instructions clearly state, “Please leave sheets on bed, thank you!”

Like others have stated, stains must be pre-treated (oxy spray works best for me) or we end up tossing yet another fitted sheet. I throw some bleach into the load with the white sheets and towels.

I used to have white but found that they turned grey or yellow so I changed to beige and it works really well.

Thanks so much for all your feedback! Greatly appreciated. What type of wash do you find best for sheets - temperature and length?

Hydrogen peroxide for “organic” stains. We buy it in quarts.
Washing ammonia for smells.
Vinegar and baking soda + hot water soaks for mystery stains.
Dawn dishwashing liquid + bleach for lipstick.
I soak sheets quite a lot and will be keeping the old top loader in the house foever for that reason.
We do not find white sheets offer any advantage.
I wash sheet sets in their entirety, without anything else in the washer and, when I feel the need, I bleach the bejesus out of everything.
Patterned sheets don’t show stains. Hotels don’t have them. I can make them part of our decor. They are an advantage in many ways.
Life is too short to iron sheets.


I saw on another thread to iron just the middle of the sheet. I think this is an excellent idea and only takes 2 minutes.

I don’t iron the sheets until they are in the bed. Fits really really fast. Same with the duvet. Sometimes the pillows.

Fels Naptha & Mrs. Stewart’s… How have I never heard of these things? Added to my next Amazon order.

Geez, never in a million years did I think I’d find myself at 5AM, reading a forum about laundry, and getting excited about it. What has AirBnB done to me?

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