Linen tablecloths and napkins are a smart, long-lasting choice for table coverings. Their natural beauty and clean-looking appearance is unmistakable. Linen pairs perfectly with fine china, and is perfect for any special mealtime gathering.
However, as with any tablecloths and napkins, they are meant to be used – and unless you’ve got a plastic cover over your tablecloth, that means stains! Whether your linen has yellowed from prolonged storage, or you need to remove old food stains, here’s how to get stains out of linen tablecloths.
How to Get Stains out of Linen Tablecloths
In addition to food stains, linen can become yellowed over time. You may find this in antique stores, or in your own closet if your linen hasn’t been used in a while. Don’t worry - linen stains from yellowing can still be removed using the same method!
To Remove Stains...
For best results, you will want to purchase an enzyme-type stain remover. This will break down the protein, oil, and fat which is causing your stain.
- While it isn’t always possible, it’s best to remove stains when they are fresh. Once your guests are gone and the dishes are in the sink, remove your tablecloth and napkins and start pre-treating them!
- To pre-treat, use your enzyme-based stain remover as directed on the package. While you are pre-treating your stains, start filling your washing machine or laundry tub with hot water.
- Place your pre-treated linens into the hot water and soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- After your linen has soaked, add more hot water to your machine or tub and run on a short cycle. You can run the linens on a long cycle, but that will add extra wear and tear.
- Remove your linen from your washer or tub. Don’t wring them at this point, as this will stress the fabric as well as cause wrinkles!
- Ideally, you will be able to hang your linens outside in the sun. This method creates the least amount of wrinkles. As a bonus, the sun will also help keep them white naturally!
- Most importantly, you may need to be patient! Stubborn stains may take a couple of tries to remove. Repeat the steps in this guide if your linen is still stained after the first try.
Linen Care Tips
Linen is a hard-wearing material which is easy to launder either by hand or in the washing machine. Given the right care, your linen table coverings will last for years!
Use a gentle detergent or pure soap to wash your linen.
- If you hand wash your linen, make sure that it is thoroughly rinsed. Residual soap can cause stains!
- Wash your linen in warm to hot water, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Linen is generally not recommended to be dried in a dryer, as this can reduce the overall lifespan of the material. It can also make ironing very difficult.
- Try not to wring out your linen before drying, as this will result in wrinkles.
- Wrinkles can form very easily on linen, which is why it’s best to iron your linen when it is still slightly damp.
- Sun-drying your linens can help keep them white.
- Linen can usually be dry-cleaned, but check the manufacturer’s label first.
- If you need to bleach, use oxygen-type bleach as opposed to chlorine based bleach. Chlorine bleaches will yellow your tablecloths, which is exactly opposite of what you want!
- Baking soda is a wonderfully versatile tool. You can use baking soda if you don’t have access to an enzyme cleaner, although it may take a couple of extra tries to remove the stain.
The Linen Store
As you can see, removing stains from linen may take a little extra work. Fortunately, linen is attractive and durable, which can definitely make the hard work of stain removal worthwhile!
However, if your linen tablecloth is beyond saving despite your best efforts, or if the work to keep linen tablecloths clean is simply not worth the time, then you may want to consider purchasing darker tablecloths. The Linen Store offers a wide variety of tablecloths in all shapes and sizes, which you can find here.