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6 Effective Table Linen Cleaning Tips for the Holidays

Set the table right.

Christmas dinner spread on wooden table and red linen with turkey
Don't stress the clean up.

The holidays bring great food, great company, and even greater stains on your table linens. Treat those tricky stains so that you can reuse your table cloth for the upcoming years. Here are 6 effective tips to make your table linens brand new again.

1. Pre-treat the stain

Wine and pasta dinner.
Treat stains as soon as you can.

From cranberry sauce to gravy spills, after you've cleared the table you might notice a few food stains on your linens. Before you throw your linens in the wash, treat the stain with a stain remover. This will make the stains easier to dissolve in the washing machine. Greasy stains such as turkey or gravy can be treated with an enzyme cleaner which is made to break down protein stains. While wine stains might be more respondent to oxygen cleaners that release bubbles to lift stains.

2. Be careful with bleach

Christmas dinner setup on white silk fabric
Avoid using bleach on delicate fabrics.

Bleach can be used as a stain removing before or during the wash. However, not all fabrics do well with bleach. Avoid bleaching fabrics that contain silk or wool, and fabrics that have been colored. Synthetic dyed fabrics can be successful with bleach, however, you should always perform a test first.

3. Remove wax with an iron

Lit candles on table cloth
Wax stains are not impossible to remove.

Wax stains can be tricky to remove. When the wax has dried, use a butterknife to carefully scrape the wax off the fabric. Next, cover the wax with a clean paper towel and lightly iron the paper towel. This will transfer the wax onto the paper towel. Replace the paper towel, and repeat this process until all the wax is removed. Wash the linen when done.

4. Different stains require different water temperatures

Putting clothes and linens into the washing machine
Choose your water temperature carefully.

Depending on the stains, you may have to take a different approach when it come to water temperature. Wash your linens in hot water to remove ink, coffee, or wine stains, and use cold water when removing grease, turkey or gravy stains. If your linens have a variety of stains, your safest bet is to set the washer to clean with cold water so that grease stains will not melt into the linen fibers. Avoid using the dryer afterwards to avoid more heat.

5. Use the sun to brighten fabrics

Laundry and linens air drying in the sun
The sun can act as a natural fabric lightener.

White fabrics specifically can loose their brightness after a while. Hang your white linens out in the sun to get a natural bleaching on your fabrics. The UV exposure will help brighten the fabric and even lighten some stains.

6. Do not store wet linens

White linens neatly folded
Avoid unwanted mildew.

After you have removed all stains and washed your linens be sure to thoroughly dry them before storing them away. The last thing you want are musty, mildew linens for next season.

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