Things You'll Need
- Bed sheets
- Large container
- White fabric dye
Instead of buying new linen, experiment with changing the color to breathe new life into it. Try stamping, screen printing, fabric painting or tie-dying the material to give bedding a new look and enable it to be used in new ways. Other techniques include dying light-colored fabrics to make them darker, and lightening darker fabrics. Here is how to turn maroon bed sheets white.
Whiten and Lighten
Check for compatibility. Natural fibers such as linen and cotton can be bleached, but protein fibers such as mohair, silk and wool cannot. Always read the labels on the sheets to check for “do not bleach” warnings.
Follow the instructions on the bleach container. Undiluted bleach can weaken or even eat through fabric. For best results, adhere to the recommended ratio of water to bleach.
Use an appropriately sized container. It must be large enough for the sheets to move around freely. For large sheets, a bathtub works well. Fill the container with the bleach solution, then immerse the sheets, and let them soak.
Check the progress every 10 minutes. Some fabric dyes will come out easily, but others are more stubborn and will need to soak longer. Periodically stirring the sheets around helps, but make sure the material stays completely immersed. Maximum color removal will take 30 minutes to an hour.
Remove the sheets from the solution, and wash them in the washing machine. If the desired level of whiteness has not been achieved, repeat the bleaching process. But might be unable to completely whiten linens that are dark colors; if the sheets are not getting any whiter, stop bleaching them to avoid damaging the fabric.
Once the sheets are as bleached as possible, dye them, using a white fabric dye. Follow package instructions carefully.
Donni Jones has been an editor and writer since 1996. She has edited articles for and contributed content to numerous publications, magazines and online businesses such as FootSmart.com and KateAspen.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.