how to remove oil stains from bed sheets

Have you ever run into the problem of smelly bedsheets?

Are you dealing with those yellow-lined or dark sweat stains that you just can’t seem to get rid of?

If you have, don’t feel like you are doing something wrong.

These stains are produced by you and your family’s body oil.

Body oil is nothing to fear or worry about.

It’s just the natural oil that your skin produces.

For those of you out there that care, this oil is called sebum.

Sweat and naturally occurring body oil are two different things.

Some of us, myself included, seem to be sweating machines.

No matter how many times we shower or bathe, the sweat will just keep flowing.

How much we sweat depends on several different factors.

Some of those factors are the temperature of the room, how hydrated our bodies are, and the amount of salt intake we’ve had.

Our body oil output varies based on our natural body chemistry and even our diet can affect it.

When you combine body oil with sweat, that’s a tough combination for bed sheets.

It results in those lines of stain and that musky smell that sometimes makes you just want to wad the sheets up and throw them in the trash.

Furthermore, because of the body oil and sweat combination, a simple wash and dry in the machines do nothing to solve the problem.

If this is your current situation, don’t get too worked up about it.

Why, because we have researched this problem and designed a detailed, step-by-step approach to show you how to remove oil stains from bed sheets.

What You’ll Need

We want to make sure that you are clear about everything you’ll need so in this section we go over all the items you are going to need to remove the stains successfully.

Also, you will see that all of these products are safe and toxic-free.


In our world today it feels like a washing machine and a dryer are a necessity and everyone has one.

Yes, having these two machines make this process much easier but all hope is not lost if you don’t have them or if they are broken.

You can always roll up your sleeves and remove those stains by hand in the tub.

Liquid Dish Soap

This can be whatever you use in your kitchen to wash dishes with.

If you are looking for a natural and fragrance-free product, Seventh Generation makes a product that works well and has gotten great reviews.


Borax doesn’t contain chlorine or phosphates.

Instead, the main ingredient is a naturally occurring mineral called sodium tetraborate.

However, borax is sometimes confused with boric acid, which is very toxic.

Borax is harmless and has several AWESOME uses when it comes to laundry.

It removes mold and mildew.

It helps whiten fabrics and get rid of dirt.

It neutralizes odors and softens hard water.

What I’m saying, is that you need this stuff around your house.

20 Mule Team borax is a great option for you to add to your cleaning supply collection.

White Distilled Vinegar

Using an inexpensive white distilled vinegar will whiten and brighten your sheets. (Or any type of laundry for that matter, even delicates.)

It will also act as a natural fabric softener and soften your sheets while reducing odors at the same time.

This excellent ingredient does all this without the use of harsh chemicals.

This one has gotten great reviews on Amazon.

Pro Tip:

Distilled vinegar is much less acidic than cider vinegar.

Make sure that you use the distilled and not any type of cider vinegar.

That’s it!

The above items are all you will need to remove body oil stains from sheets.

Now that you have all the items you need, continue reading below for step-by-step instructions on how to remove oil stains from bedsheets.

1. Add Laundry Detergent To Your Machine

Add whatever amount of detergent that you usually use when washing your sheets to your washing machine.

It’s usually between 2/3 to 3/4 of the cup.

Make sure you leave the cup in the wash to that all of the detergent is used.

You can either leave it in the wash or stop it and take it out a few minutes into the cycle.

Do this step before you put your sheets in.

2. Set Machine To Hot Water

Make sure that you use the hottest setting for a normal load.

I typically use the hot/cold setting.

3. Add Dishwashing Soap

Some people say that you only need a tablespoon of dish soap added, but I’ve found that I have better results using three tablespoons.

If you don’t want to measure, just add three generous squirts directly into the water.

4. Add The Borax

In this step, you just sprinkle around 1/4 cup of borax into the water.

5. Add The Sheets To Wash

We finally put in the sheets.

Make sure that they are completely submerged in the water before moving to the next step.

6. Add The Distilled White Vinegar

Make sure that you add the white vinegar to your machine’s fabric softener dispenser.

If your machine doesn’t have a dispenser just add the vinegar during the rinse cycle or you can use a downy ball, and just throw it in.

Pro Tip:

If you decide to order a downy ball, note that they are designed for top-loading washing machines.

7. Let The Bedsheets Soak

Allow the sheets to soak for at least an hour after adding in all the stain removing ingredients.

Doing this will break down all of that oil in the sheets and make it easier to remove once you wash it.

Pro Tip:

If you have a top-loading washer, simply leave the lid open for the hour to prevent the wash cycle from starting.

If you have a front-loading washer, do the above steps in a bathtub, then after the soak, you can transfer the sheets to the machine.

If you soak in a tub, I recommend going through the steps a second time after transferring to the machine.

8. Continue The Wash Cycle

Simply allow the machine to work its magic.

Remember to add the vinegar during the rinse if your machine doesn’t have the dispenser or you didn’t use the downy ball.

9. Dry The Sheets

If you use a dryer there is no need to use any dryer sheets because you used the vinegar.

Honestly, I prefer drying the sheets outside to harness the power of the sun.

Sunlight is the BEST way to kill any remaining bacteria as well as whitening the sheets.

If you don’t have any clotheslines handy, hanging over swing sets or even on trampolines will work well.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prevent body oil stains on sheets?

The type of fabric your bedsheets are made of matters when it comes to retaining odors and body oil.

Synthetic sheets will hold these odors much longer and it is more difficult to remove them as well.

The best way to prevent fody oil stains on sheets is to replace your synthetic sheets with 100% cotton fabric sheets.

Not only will it make it easier to prevent body oil on them, but cotton sheets regulate your body temperature much better.

As an added bonus, they simply feel better.


And there you have it!

Now you know how to get body oil stains out of sheets.

Using this process can save you money by eliminating the need to buy new sheets as well as provide you with a do-it-yourself feel.

It’s always a great feeling when you can do something yourself and save a little cash in the process.

Happy stain removal!