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A Guide to Washing Table Linens

by Kyle Timtson

four friends clean up the table after eating

The guests have gone home, the holiday has come to a close, and you’re left to do the worst part: clean. The table is strewn with crumbs, dirty cloth napkins, and food-stained place mats. Unless you’re in an animated movie, you probably don’t have woodland creatures or elves to help you.

Don’t sweat it! We’re here to help.

Your table setting creates a welcoming ambiance and sets the mood for the entire event, whatever it is you may be hosting. We want to make sure your linens and cloth napkins look crisp, so your guests feel like they’re dining at a 5-star restaurant.  

Let’s walk through what you need to know to get your table linens spotless and fresh so you can be sure they’re ready for the next time company is over.

Check for Stubborn Stains

Spills happen. It’s a part of life. But that doesn’t mean they have to be a permanent part of your linens. There’s really no need to remember that time Uncle Bill got too excited and spilled his drink by being reminded of it every time you take the tablecloth out of the cupboard.

Identify larger stains before you haul your linens off to the washer. Take a dab of strong detergent and gently rub it into the stain with your finger. Let this sit for about 15 minutes before you toss it into the washer.

spilled coffee on white tablecloth

Check Your Washer Settings

Washers have really come a long way since the days of washing everything by hand in a bucket. Okay, that might be a pretty obvious statement when “washboard” makes you think of abs before the old cleaning tool. Nevertheless, washers have amazing features designed to eliminate stains for you.

For deep, angry stains, cold water is the way to go. Run a cold cycle for those stubborn spots!

Look for features like Steam Clean or dedicated stain removal cycles. If your washer is missing the right touch to make your stains disappear, stop by. We’ll set you up with a washer that will do everything you want and more!

Ironing of the Details

After your linens are done washing and drying, don’t let them sit! That’s wrinkle town, and nobody comes out of there the same. Grab the iron and your ironing board and get ready to smooth out the wrinkles that were created in the dryer. A few minutes spent here with a clean iron and your linens will be ready for storage.

Be sure to check the label on your tablecloth and fabrics. You may need to dial back the heat on your iron and cool-iron your fabrics. If your tablecloth features any festive tinsel, avoid ironing over that as it could melt.

Of course, your dryer may have settings to reduce wrinkles by keeping your fabrics tumbling until you open the door and remove them. If you’re not sure, give us a call. Our experts will be happy to help you figure out the right dryer to complement your needs.

woman, out of view, irons a tablecloth

Storage

There’s more to storing your tablecloths than you might think. Sure, you could just toss them into the closet or cupboard and forget about them until you need them again. But that’s a recipe for needing to rewash and re-iron them before your guests arrive.

First, make sure your linens are dry—and we mean dry. Damp linens stored away can invite mildew, and that’s just not appetizing. If your dryer is up to par, this step should be a breeze.

Now give them a nice, tidy fold and store them in an organized fashion in a well-ventilated area.

Wherever you store your linens, be sure to keep them nice and smooth so as to not undo all that ironing action from earlier.  

couple cleans up the table after eating

There you have it! You’ve mastered the art of treating table linen stains, ironing out the wrinkles, and storing them for next time. If you ran into a snag with your washer or dryer, we can help with that, too. Stop by our store or give us a call and ask us anything about washers and dryers. We can set you in the right direction toward laundry appliances that will keep your fabrics looking brand new, year after year.