What happened to my sheets?
September 12, 2005 11:02 AM   Subscribe

My brand new expensive sheets are already fading, and I don't know why.

Before I met my wife, all of my sheets were fine. She comes along and all the pillowcases and sheets have faded splotches on them. She says it because of the acne medicine she uses, and that some of her shirts have them around the neck. Not all of her shirts, though. It depends on the color of the shirts, and thus, the sheets. I accepted this explanation of what was happening to my sheets.

This doesn't stop us from buying new sheets. We bought some nice fancy-schmancy super-duper high thread count sheets. Soft. They're a sky blue color, which according to my wife's theory is safe from fading. Before they went on the bed, I washed them and examined them. No fading. We start sleeping on them. Before the next time they were stipped off the bed and washed, not only was her pillowcase fading, so was mine. The sheets themselves are fading, too. I haven't used acne medicine in over 10 years. I've dismissed the acne medicine theory. I can't even continue letting my wife take the blame.

But what's causing the problem? I still don't care so much that the sheets faded after one week of usage, but now I'm intruiged.

We have a high efficiency washer and use the proper detergent for it. I tend to think this isn't the problem because the sheets weren't faded afetr coming out of the wash.
posted by clearlynuts to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
She's right -- it's her acne medication. She's using some form of benzoyl peroxide, which is notorious for bleaching clothing, towels, sheets, you name it. If she's slathering her face in it every night, it can "spread" onto your pillowcase and the sheets, and when the sheets are laundered, it will run out of her pillowcase and have a damaging effect on the rest of the laundry.

Anything that can be damaged by Clorox can be damaged by BP -- they are similarly potent. Your wife should have her own cream/white pillowcases that are changed often and washed exclusively with like-colored laundry. Personally, I like the look of mixing a white fitted sheet with a darker bed sheet, and having light/dark pillowcases as well. Makes the bed look less monochrome, and keeps my BP on a white surface at night.

I wash with benzoyl peroxide, and am notorious for destroying our colored towels in a similar fashion.
posted by junkbox at 11:15 AM on September 12, 2005

Thank you, junkbox! My husband has just about had it with the mysterious and persistent defacement of our towels, and this is clearly the source. Funny, because my use of BP has declined to negligibility as I move away from zits and more toward the wrinkly end of the age spectrum, but at least now I have a mitigation plan...
posted by clever sheep at 11:38 AM on September 12, 2005

Some dandruff shampoos have similar ill effects.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:04 PM on September 12, 2005

It's a chronic thing around my house--the boys and I all use Benzoclyin and Retin-A for acne. All of our sheets/pillow cases have it. We haven't noticed it on towels.
posted by 6:1 at 5:05 PM on September 12, 2005

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