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Tips for Removing Stains from Table Linens Before Summer Entertaining

With summer entertaining just around the corner, now is the time to unpack your tablecloths and linens from last year’s holiday season to give them their moment in the sun.

For most table linens, the best course to follow is stain prevention.  How do you achieve that, short of policing everyone’s movements at your next dinner party?  One great way to prevent staining is starching your linens before use.  This gives them a crisp, clean appearance and has the added benefit of providing some protection to your fabrics.

However, stains will inevitably occur once summer entertaining gets under way.  If possible, soak all stained linen in cold water immediately.  Understandably, this is not always possible, as your duties as hostess likely will preclude any immediate action for stain removal.  So, what is your next step?

That depends largely on the type of stain you are trying to remove.  For red wine, other alcohol, coffee, or tea stains, it is recommended that you launder your linens with the hottest safe temperature setting according to manufacturer instructions.  You need not use laundry detergent for a new stain, as it may cause the stain to set in the fabric rather than lift from it.  Also, if possible, find a sunny spot to line dry your linens.  The sun is a powerful tool to lighten any remaining stain naturally.

For small stains, hydrogen peroxide may be effective.  Pour a small bit of peroxide on the stain and let it bubble for a few minutes.  Then, gently rinse the stain in cold water.  You can repeat this process for best results.

For greasy stains such as lipstick or butter, salt or powered artificial sweeteners may help absorb most of the stain.  Rub gently onto the stain’s surface and allow a few minutes for the salt to work.  Then, gently brush away the dried residue.  If the stain persists, you might try making a paste of baking soda and white vinegar to help reduce the grease. Rinse the linen thoroughly once the job is done.

If your linens have rust stains, try a bit of lemon juice and salt.  You may have to re-apply the mixture to your stain several times, as rust is a particularly difficult stain to remove.

For tomato-basted stains or mildew, it is best to use the services of a professional dry cleaner.  Of course, we will be glad to help with removal of any type of stain to your linens.  Please contact us for additional tips to keep your linens dinner-guest-ready this summer.