How to Wash a Linen Tablecloth Safely and Effectively?

How to Wash a Linen Tablecloth Safely and Effectively?

Here’s how to clean linen tablecloths so you can set a lovely, straightforward table all year long.

  • Step 1: Pretreat Stains
  • Step 2: Fill the Sink Or Tub
  • Step 3: Add Detergent
  • Step 4: Place Table Linens in the Water
  • Step 5: Drain and Rinse
  • Step 6: Dry Table Linens

Even though linen tablecloths are only used a few times a year, they should be washed occasionally to avoid fading. Spot-clean stains on linen tablecloths, and when necessary, clean them and delicates like lace by hand using a gentle laundry detergent.

Here are our top suggestions to ensure that your linen tablecloth is always ready for use, covering how to wash your linen tablecloths as well as how to iron and store them properly for their next use. We believe that table linen should be used every day rather than just saved for special occasions.

How to Wash Linen Tablecloths?

Are linen tablecloths suitable for machine washing? You can provide that you wash colored and white items separately and use a gentle cycle with mild detergent. For extra caution, we’ll break down how to wash linen tablecloths, napkins, and runners by hand in 6 simple steps. We’ll also provide some easy storage solutions so your table linens are ready and waiting for your next event.

Are you interested in learning how to remove stains from a linen tablecloth? The best results can be achieved by pretreating before washing. Here’s how to pretreat stains on linen tablecloths, napkins, and runners:

  • Remove any food residue by scraping.
  • Use a clean, dry paper towel to gently blot the stain.
  • With a fresh toothbrush, rub the stain with a laundry stain remover or a powerful enzyme-based detergent.
  • Let the stain remover sit for several hours, ideally overnight.

Pretreating is followed by the next step in hand washing a linen tablecloth: lukewarm water should be added to a sink or bathtub. Using hot or cold water can actually cause linen fabric to shrink, and hot water can also cause stains to set.

For washing linen tablecloths and napkins, we advise using mild detergent. Make sure you measure the correct quantity according to the directions on the package before adding it to the warm water. Add a capful of bleach to your white tablecloth and linens for added brightness. Water and detergent should be combined by giving the water a quick hand swish.

How to Wash a Linen Tablecloth Safely and Effectively?

When adding your linens to the sink or washtub, always separate the colors from the whites to prevent crowding. Swish the fabrics through the water while cleaning any stains on the table runner and other linens by rubbing and squeezing them.

Remove your tablecloths to spray down any soapy residue on the sides after draining the soapy water from the sink or bathtub. Refill the tub or sink with warm, fresh water, add the linens, and swish them around to get rid of any remaining soap. If the water becomes soapy again, remove the linens and refill with more fresh water so no soap remains in the linen fabric.

Tablecloths, napkins, and runners made of linen can be dried in a dryer using a low-heat setting. Alternatively, they can be air-dried flat or hung on an outside clothesline, out of direct sunlight. Avoid wringing out linen before either drying method, as this can damage the fibers. Further Reading: Can You Iron Linen?

Tips for Washing Linen Tablecloths

  • To make white linen tablecloths look brighter, think about using laundry blueing.
  • Using a padded hanger prevents wrinkles on permanent press or freshly ironed linens. Hang one cloth per padded hanger, and leave plenty of room between hangers so air can circulate.
  • Avoid storing linen tablecloths in cardboard boxes, plastic bags, or in close proximity to cedar chests or wooden drawers. Fumes from petroleum-based, polyurethane plastic boxes and wood acids can yellow or weaken the fabrics.
  • Never use a plastic bag to protect hanging linen tablecloths. Replace them with a white sheet or pillowcase made of only 100 percent cotton.
  • Rolling the linen tablecloths around a cardboard tube will also help prevent wrinkles. If stored for over a week, ensure the cardboard is acid-free to prevent staining. Learn How to Get Wrinkles Out of Linen Tablecloths?
  • At least twice per year, refold the linen tablecloths to prevent continued stress in any one area.
  • If you’re worried about the oversized fabric getting dirty as it drips on the floor while being ironed, put a clean bedsheet under the ironing board or drape it over something nearby to keep it flat.
How to Wash a Linen Tablecloth Safely and Effectively?

Linen Tablecloth Storage

Until their next use, linen tablecloths can be kept clean and fresh by being stored properly. Always store linens in a cool, dry area that also allows for ventilation and airflow. These tips detail some of the best ways to store tablecloths:

  • Hanging: Table runners and linen tablecloths should be hung individually on padded hangers. So that air can circulate, and leave space between the hangers.
  • Stacking: Put acid-free tissue paper around each item. Napkins should go on top of lighter items like tablecloths and placemats that are heavier, such as linen. Refold materials twice a year to prevent significant creasing.
  • Rolling: An acid-free cardboard tube should be wrapped in linen tablecloths and runners. The best way to prevent wrinkles may be through this.

How Often to Wash Linen Tablecloths?

Tablecloths made of linen that are used every day can be spot-cleaned as spills happen and should undergo deep cleaning at least once a month. After every use, fabric placemats should be washed.

To maintain the tensile strength of their fibers and color, linen tablecloths that are used infrequently or for more formal occasions require gentle care. If you don’t know how to wash vintage linen, damask, lace, brocade, and fabrics with no labels that are beaded or embellished, you can’t go wrong by hand-washing them in cool water.

Conclusion: How to Wash a Linen Tablecloth?

If you use your table linens frequently, they will need regular washing. Use a mild laundry detergent and a gentle cycle in the washing machine if you’d prefer to wash your linen tablecloths and other table linen that way. As above, it’s important to wash colored and white table linens separately.

If you follow our tips, your linen tablecloths will remain clean and fresh for many years to come! Happy hosting.


How Do You Dry Linen Tablecloths?

Linen tablecloths, napkins, and runners can be dried in a dryer in a low-heat setting. They can also be hung on an outdoor clothesline or air-dried flat away from direct sunlight. To prevent damaging the fibers, avoid wringing out linen before using the either drying method.

Can You Tumble Dry a Linen Tablecloth?

Avoid tumble-drying linen. It is incredibly fast drying so it just isn’t necessary. Unnecessary shrinking could result from tumble drying as well. If you have stains, blot them with paper towels after treating liquid stains like wine with salt, baking soda, and white vinegar (don’t scrub because that will spread the stain).

How Do You Wash a 100% Linen Tablecloth?

All it takes is a good washing in cold water on the gentle cycle and finished off with a cold rinse to keep linen tablecloths and napkins happy. As with cotton, wash linen tablecloths and napkins with other linen items. Use a mild detergent, then air-dry or finish with an iron after the linen has nearly dried.

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