Why Do My Bed Sheets Smell Like Sweat?

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We all sweat and shed dead skin at night, and what’s there to catch all this waste? That’s right—our sheets! So, if your sheets smell like body odor, you should know that it’s completely normal.

Normal or not, it’s still pretty annoying. That’s why it’s essential that we wash and sanitize our bedding regularly. That said, here’s why your bed sheets smell like sweat and some surefire ways to get rid of the smell.

why do my bed sheets smell like sweat

Why Do My Bed Sheets Smell Like Sweat?

Do you usually sleep like a baby? Or, do you toss and turn all night? Either way, your body will release odors.

As you sleep, your body works to regulate its internal temperature, which results in sweating. Thus, you wake up to a foul-smelling bed sheet.

Combine that with the natural oils we release, as well as dirt, dust, and other bacteria. That’s more than enough to make the sheets smell funny. This article may even help if your sweat smells like ammonia.

Foul odors of any kind are definitely disturbing. Even if it’s just a faint scent, it could make you feel uneasy if you catch a whiff of it when you’re trying to fall asleep.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to help you resolve your problem.

How to Get Rid of the Smell

Maybe you had a visitor who slept over and sweated a storm in a single night, or perhaps you’re just trying to maintain your personal hygiene.

Either way, here are the things you will need to remove any unwanted smells from bed sheets. Before we get into the step-by-step process, take a look at the materials you’ll be using.

What You Need

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Hot water
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bucket
  • Sunlight 
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Vinegar and baking soda aren’t disinfectants, but they’re terrific cleaning agents!

Vinegar has a high acidity. On the other hand, our sweat is only slightly acidic, which makes it easier to dissolve in the vinegar.

Partner that with baking soda, and you get the perfect cleaning duo. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and excellent scent absorber, making it an ideal solution for removing the smell of sweat from bed sheets!

Now, let’s get cleaning:

Step 1

Get the sheets, and prepare a bucket or any container big enough to hold the sheets.

Step 2

Fill the bucket with five parts hot water and one part white vinegar.

We should note that not all fabrics are a good match with vinegar. So, before you get started, do a bit of research on what type of fabric your sheets are made of. Then, make sure they can handle being soaked in vinegar to avoid ruining your sheets.

Step 3

Soak the sheets for several hours. During that time, always make sure that the entire sheet is submerged in the water.

The best time to soak your sheet is in the evening and leave them overnight. Then, come morning, you can put it in the dryer or hang it to dry, preferably in the sun.

Step 4

After soaking overnight, your sheet is now ready to get a second washing in the machine. This ensures that any remaining bacteria is eliminated and washed away for good.

You can add vinegar again and soak the sheet for another hour before running the machine. Another option is to add half a cup of vinegar and start the wash cycle immediately.

Step 5 

Your sheets will certainly smell like vinegar afterward. So, an optional step is to run the sheet through the washing machine again. Yet, this time, add a pleasant-smelling detergent and a sprinkle of baking soda to remove any lingering smells.

Step 6

Finally, it’s time to dry your sheets. The easiest way is to throw them in the dryer and let it do its job.

Yet, it’s always better to hang the sheets outside for a couple of hours and let them dry naturally in the sun. The ultraviolet sun rays will kill whatever germs and bacteria are left. Plus, letting the sheets dry in the open air will give them a refreshing scent that no fabric softeners can ever imitate.

How Often Should You Wash Your Bed Sheets?

There’s no question that you must wash your bed sheets, pillowcases, and blankets regularly. Health experts recommend you change and wash your bedding once a week to prevent bacteria and foul smells from building up.

It not only helps in keeping your bed sheets fresh and pleasant smelling, but it also ensures that your bed always looks neat and clean.

It may also be beneficial to have shower routine before bed. This will eliminate any bacteria or dirt you’ve picked up over the day. Helping your sheets stay smell free! 


Because sweat and body odors are a natural part of how the body functions, it’s perfectly normal for your bed sheets to smell like sweat.

Still, if left unchecked, it can affect the quality of your sleep and put you in a bad mood from the moment you wake up. That’s why it’s essential to maintain good personal hygiene, which includes washing the bedding at least once a week.

With fresh-smelling sheets, there’s no doubt you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, knowing your sheets are clean and odor-free!

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