How to Remove Sweat and Body Oil from Pillowcases

Putting a clean, washed pillowcase on a pillow.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 30
What You'll Need
Hydrogen peroxide
Lemon juice
White vinegar
Baking soda
Cloths or sponges
Meat tenderizer
Prewash stain removers

Pillowcases can often get stained by sweat and natural body oils. These blemishes can make your linens look filthy, no matter how often they're cleaned. However, you don't have to worry about hunting down new pillowcases that match your existing blankets every time you spot a stain. They can be difficult to clean, but we have some tried and trusted remedies for you to try.

Popular Remedies

Five easily obtained products that work well on sweat and makeup stains are hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, white vinegar, ammonia, and baking soda. Simply mix one of these products with water and soak the stain for about 30 minutes. Before the solution dries, wash the pillowcase in cool water with regular detergent. If you're using an ammonia mix, dab the mixture onto the stain and launder after a few minutes. All the mixes should contain equal amounts of the product and water.

Other Possible Solutions


There are claims that using three aspirin tablets dissolved in water will yield good results. The stain is soaked in this solution for several hours before following it up with a detergent pretreatment. Wash the pillowcase in cool water.

Meat Tenderizer

This is one of the more unusual solutions, but it does work. Moisten the stain with water and rub in a little meat tenderizer before washing the item in cool water.


Make a very strong salt and hot water solution. Keep the water over heat until the salt dissolves completely, and then sponge the stain with the water repeatedly until it has disappeared.

Prewash Detergents

Some prewash detergents have enzymes that can handle stubborn, oily stains. Soak the pillowcase in the prewash for several hours and wash it as normal.

Tips for Stopping Stains


Try to identify the cause of the staining if you're having a persistent problem. For example, if it's caused by creams applied to the face before retiring, try to reduce your use of overnight facial treatments. Also, although it seems obvious, always remove your makeup before bed with the appropriate cleansing cloths to minimize what gets onto your pillowcases.

Early Treatment

Remove the pillowcase each time you see a stain and soak it immediately to prevent the stain from setting. Allowing the stain to dry will always make it that much more difficult to remove.

Find a New Pillow

If you're not wearing creams or makeup to bed and you're still having problems with facial oils showing on your pillowcase, then perhaps the pillow's fabric and your skin are not compatible. It might be a good idea to check the fabric content of the pillow to see if it should be changed. Sweating is perfectly normal and there are ways of getting rid of sweat stains, but an unusual sweating pattern should be investigated.