The All-Natural Way to Whiten Sheets

Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT


Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.


Most crisp white sheets are whitened with a chlorine bleaching process that can be problematic for those with sensitive skin. Here is a quick and easy guide to naturally whitening sheets.

Naturally white sheets

If you love the look of snow-white sheets, take particular care over which sheets you buy. Most conventional white sheets are bleached with chlorine, which can produce toxic dioxins that harm human health and the wider environment.

Sheets made with bleach can cause skin irritation and expose you to carcinogenic dioxins. They also tend to degrade faster due to the harsh effect of chlorine bleach on natural fibers.

Don’t worry, though; you can still enjoy crisp, white sheets that are safe and non-toxic. The difference is that these are made using chlorine-free bleaching processes. Typically, GOTS organic sheets, like the ones we feature in our online store, are whitened using hydrogen peroxide.

You can also bleach sheets yourself at home with some good old sunshine, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, lemon juice, white vinegar, and other natural whiteners.

DIY sheet whitener

To restore the whiteness of your sheets, try adding the following to water, mixing well, and then soaking the sheets for a few hours before washing as usual:

  • 1 ½ cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • ½ cup lemon juice.

You might also want to add 1 cup of vinegar to the water.

Dyes and color fasteners

It’s an unfortunate fact that natural fibers tend to be more resistant to dyestuffs and to fade faster than synthetic fabrics. To overcome this problem, some manufacturers use harsher chemicals to force natural fibers to take on and retain more vibrant colors. This can include the use of carcinogenic azo dyes.

If you have your eye on cotton sheets in a hot pink color or vibrant pattern, you might want to consider how the fabric got its colors. For more sustainable, less toxic sheets that will also feel softer and last longer, go natural.

This means choosing sheets made with organic materials and processes, including sheets in natural hues, created using safe dyes without chemicals that degrade the natural fibers.

Essential Bed Sheets

Naturally white sheets

Highlight: GOTS certified, organic sheets. Whitened with hydrogen peroxide.

Overall Score

Free eBook: Simple Steps to a Greener Home

Concerned about climate change? Learn actionable tips for making each room in your home greener.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Reply

If you have a question about the subject matter of this post, ask it in the comments below. To better serve our readers, we have started answering some reader questions in dedicated blog posts.

Back to top