While holiday feasts are a delight to the appetite, beautiful table linens are also a feast for the eyes. How do you get stains out of a linen tablecloth before a special occasion? Washing linen with warm water and gentle detergent leaves it clean and fresh. Learn how to wash table linens and store them properly so they’re always holiday-ready.
Holiday Prep 101: How to Wash Table Linens
Linen tablecloths, runners, and napkins bring style to any holiday table but, without proper washing, stains and wrinkles can leave them unusable. Fortunately, correct care of this strong, yet delicate fabric is just a matter of the right supplies and methods. We’ll detail how to wash table linens with simple steps that leave them ready for holiday use.
Step 1: Mix Water and Detergent
If you’re just going to wash a table runner or napkins, fill a sink or washtub with warm water. Larger tablecloths or runners may require a deep sink or bathtub to avoid clumping and wrinkling. Add gentle detergent in accordance with the package instructions and circulate the water and detergent with your hands. To ensure that colors don’t run, always wash white and colored table linens separately. A small amount of bleach can be added to white linen to restore brightness.
Can you machine wash a linen tablecloth? Yes, you can. However, like the first step in how to wash rugs, table linens should be washed separately from other items to avoid damage. Be sure to use a gentle cycle with warm water and remove linens promptly to reduce wrinkling.
Step 2: Add Table Linens
Once the water and detergent is mixed, add the table linens and gently rub all items together. Pay particular attention to stains until they’re clean but avoid squeezing or using excessive force.
Step 3: Drain, Rinse and Refill
After cleaning, drain all the water from the tub or sink and set aside the wet linens. Rinse away any suds and detergent from the sink before refilling with fresh, warm water.
Step 4: Rinse Table Linens in Water
To wash linen napkins, tablecloths, and runners properly, it’s essential to remove all traces of detergent from the fabric. Lingering residue can leave the material stiff and scratchy. Place the linens back in the water and circulate them in the tub or sink until all the soap suds are gone. It may be necessary to drain and refill the tub more than once if the water gets too soapy.
Step 5: Dry Properly
The final step in how to wash table linens involves proper drying. Remove your items from the tub and gently squeeze to remove as much water as possible without wringing. Hang each item or lay them flat to dry. Alternatively, table linens can be machine-dried at a low temperature.
If you would like to iron your linens, do so while they’re still slightly damp for easier wrinkle removal. For best results, iron both sides of each item on the linen/cotton setting.
How to Store Table Linens
Proper storage is essential to preserving linen as well as keeping it clean and fresh. To prevent mildew and a damp odor, always wait until your linens are completely dry before storing.
Here’s how to store table linens properly:
- Always hang or fold table linens flat in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area.
- When storing flat, wrap each item in acid-free tissue paper, as regular tissue paper can leave yellow stains on white linen.
- Since crisp creases can weaken the fabric over time, place a sheet of tissue paper between each fold to soften the edges.
- Store heavier items, like tablecloths, at the bottom and place lighter linens, such as napkins, on top.