Grrrr.... sweat stains on sheets!

oruborisJanuary 26, 2009

So: new house, new bed, new bedding. Took a few nights to get the combination of thermostat and blankets *just right*-- warm enough that I could fall asleep, cool enough that I could stay asleep without waking up all sweaty and gross.

Now my nice new tan cotton sheets have great orange blotches all over them. I've washed them twice with Spray-n-Wash, ammonia and no bleach, but they aren't coming out. Looks like the fabric itself has changed color.

Since Maytag is quite insistent that you can't add more than 2/3rds cup of bleach, I've been reluctant to go too heavy with the ammonia-- maybe half a cup. I've used it in the soak cycle, and 2 tries at the 'whitest white' setting with steam.

Hasn't put much of a dent in them, hard to say since they are still wet-- I know I'm screwed if I dry them.

Any advice appreciated.

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For Gods sake please tell me you aren't mixing the ammonia and bleach. I don't think you are, but please. Don't! Those make for NASTY Emergency Room Visits and ICU Stays.

As far as your stains... Have you tried soaking them in the laundry room sink with several scoops of well dissolved Oxyclean? I'm always shocked at what I can get out when I do that.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 4:48PM
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Seems like sweat shouldn't cause that much of a stain or color change. How much sweating is involved??

Beware that Oxyclean CAN itself cause fading/color change. I ran a couple beige towels in a load of whites with a double-dose (2 scoops, in an HE Calypso toploader) of OxyClean, long cycle with soak, and they've now got orange-ish patches.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 7:13PM
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I have the same problem with my DH's side of the bed. Oxyclean works the best but didn't take it all. I now change his side every day, new pillow case and bottom sheet. He loses alot of liquid every night, even when it's cold. I think it's why he's so thin. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 8:29PM
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The salts and acids in our bodies can 'bleach' non-colorfast items. They can also 'rust' (oxidize) certain natural dyes. Tans, khakis and browns are the most likely colors to contain organic dyes that are susceptible to those effects.

By any chance are you taking a mineral supplement? This can happen if your body is excreting excess minerals - selenium comes to mind.

Be sure going forward that you prewash in cold. The hot water likely set the stain.

- IT Geek

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 1:58AM
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Oh... and I forgot... you might want to have your water tested. Spots can occur when people have acidic skin and their water has high levels of iron or manganese.

It is for this reason I only sleep on white sheets. Growing up, my mom was always trying to buy me blue sheets but invariably where I slept on them would fade out to pink over time. I switched to exclusively white after college and never looked back.

FWIW, I can't wear gold, silver or titanium jewelry due to my acidic skin. The only metals my skin doesn't pit, stain, discolor or react to are platinum and stainless steel.

- IT Geek

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 2:07AM
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Thanks for the help, all...

No, not mixing ammonia and bleach, which produces mustard gas. Always worth mentioning, in case anyone doesn't know.

Ammonia is supposed to be the best choice for sweat stains, didn't work this time.

How much do I sweat? Dunno, pretty hard to quantify. This is a Select Comfort [sleep number] bed with 'Outlast' top and pad. Outlast is a special fiber that is supposed to absorb excess body heat, release it when you start to cool. Love the bed, but I think my comforter was just too thick.

Had this happen to a much lesser degree when I got my first memory foam mattress, and those sheets were a cotton sateen, too.

Tried the Oxyclean, no luck.

Not on any supplements just now, they got lost in the move, haven't re-developed the habit.

But the cold pre-wash is a good idea, will remember it.

I really think the color of the fabric is changed. It doesn't look like the old color is under there, with an overlay of staining. They've actually changed, gone from a nice golden tan with subtle pinstripe to orange.

Current plan: bleach them, try to dye them a uniform color [Is this possible with a front load?]. Nothing to loose at this point: these are Select Comfort's store brand of sheet, can go for $350/set. Got them on closeout [thank heavens!] but still.

Thanks again...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 4:45AM
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One thought, if the stains aren't set, is to soak them in dishwasher detergent, something like Cascade, Great Value or SunSations, whatever brand as long as it has enzymes in it. Then a wash in a good strong detergent, preferably also with enzymes and some Borax. It may take a few washings but worth a try. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 12:48PM
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