Cleaning tablecloths is not as easy as simply throwing them into a washing machine and being done. For some reason, being able to keep these formal dinning essentials clean takes a little more time than when cleaning sheets or blankets. Tablecloths, typically the fine tablecloths that we use for our fine and formal dinning experiences, are not cheap and require care and patience when protecting these investments. One of the necessary steps in cleaning tablecloths is the correct way of storing them as well.
- Mild dish soap (grease fighting is best)
- Soft-bristled toothbrush
- Grease-fighting stain remover
- Ironing board
- Remove. It may sound a bit redundant, but the very first step in being able to properly clean your tablecloth is to remove it from the table. Take it outside and shake it out. This should remove all the loose food that has been spilled on it and help to make it easier to clean.
- Spot Treat. Bring your tablecloth back inside and stretch it out on a flat surface. Look over the surface and see if you notice any stains. If not then you can go ahead proceed to the next step. If there are some stains, then you are going to need to spot treat them. Do this by mixing 1/4 cup of grease-fighting dish soap and some hot water. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub the mixture onto the stained areas. Once you have done this, you should be able to begin washing your tablecloth.
- Wash. Set your washing machine to warm (if the care instructions say that you can) and begin washing the tablecloth. When you start, do not add any detergent and only place the tablecloth into the washing machine until the tank is halfway full. If, after the wash cycle has been completed, there are still stains, then you will need to try slightly more drastic measures. Try using something along the lines of a grease-fighting stain remover and let it sit on the cloth for about fifteen minutes. Once you are finished, run it through the washing machine again.
- Starch. Once you have dried your tablecloth it is time to get it ready for storage. This means that you need to starch and press it. Add some starch to the washing machine during the rinse cycle. Once you have added the starch, just remove the tablecloths from the washing machine after the spin cycle is finished. You should be able to save some time when it comes time to begin pressing them.
- Dry. After you have finished washing the tablecloth, it is time to dry it. Do not use a machine to dry it, but try to place it on a flat surface or outside and let it air dry.
- Press. Stretch out the tablecloth on an ironing board and let the reverse side be up when you do this. Use low heat and this is going to help avoid any apparent watermarks.
- Store. Once you have properly pressed everything, it is time to go ahead and store the tablecloth. Fold the tablecloth nice and neat and then store it in your linen closet. When storing your linens you want to make sure that you are using a location that is well ventilated and avoid using such things as cedar chests, cardboard boxes and plastic bags.