How to Remove Yellow Stains From White Linen

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Image Credit: Tabitazn/iStock/GettyImages

Few things are as frustrating as spotting stains on your white linens. Within the larger stain removal realm, linen can be a particularly temperamental fabric to clean, and improper storage can exacerbate blemishes over time. Luckily, getting a stain out of linen is easy once you know the process. With the right stain remover for clothes and other home goods, you can absolutely restore any linen product to its former glory.

Advertisement

Video of the Day

Remove Linen Stains Easily

A tricky truth about linen stains is that oftentimes when linen first acquires a new spot or mark, particularly of the oil-based variety, that blemish can initially present as clear. Over time, though, these once-clear stains begin to yellow, weakening the linen's natural fibers, and in worst-case scenarios attracting unwanted insects. Getting a stain out of linen, therefore, can feel overwhelming because you want to be as meticulous as possible. Thankfully, with enough gentle care and patience, great results are possible. It all starts with choosing the right kind of stain remover for clothes or home goods.

Advertisement

There are all sorts of laundry disinfectants out there, but to get a stain out of linen, you're generally looking for something with sodium percarbonate. Less harsh than traditional bleach and better for the environment, sodium percarbonate not only keeps your whites whiter but also acts as a deodorizer, so your linen items will come out of the wash smelling fresher than before. OxiClean and Retro Clean Cleaning Solution are both incredibly effective sodium percarbonate cleaning products.

Advertisement

Effective Stain Removal Requires Patience

The first step of transforming your yellow stained linens back to bright white is boiling a large pot of water because sodium percarbonate needs heat in order to activate. Once your water reaches a boil, add a scoop of your sodium percarbonate powdered solution. Follow any package instructions regarding the proper amount. Once the powdered solution has fully dissolved, you're ready to add your linen goods.

Advertisement

Gently add your linen goods to the warm water solution, submerge them completely, and let them soak for several hours — the longer the better. As long as the solution is warm, it is working its stain removal magic. Every now and then, lightly agitate the linen goods within the solution, being as gentle as possible. Now that the linen goods are saturated with water, their fibers are heavier and more likely to tear, so a light touch is key.

Advertisement

Once your soak is complete, the solution will have turned from clear to murky. Transfer your linen goods out of the solution and into a colander. Rinse the linen goods with fresh water, taking your time and leaving no solution residue. Remember to continue manipulating the linen goods with care, as they are still delicate at this stage. It can also be helpful to put the linen goods back into your now-empty pot, fill it with a fresh batch of water, and resoak them to ensure you are getting rid of absolutely any trace of lingering solution.

Advertisement

Dry Your Clean Linens the Right Way

After your linen goods are fully rinsed, it's best to dry linen goods in the sunshine. Lay down a white sheet outside and place your linen goods flat onto that sheet. Laying your linens flat avoids unwanted creasing that can lead to more damage over time and reduces the number of wrinkles you'll later have to iron away. After an hour or two, flip over your linen goods to dry on the other side. Repeat this entire cleaning process until you reach your desired white hue.

Advertisement

references