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How to clean linen – plus top tips for stain removal

How to clean linen – plus top tips for stain removal

Freshly laundered table linen looks fantastic when you’re dining for a special occasion. It can really add to the ambiance and set the scene for an elegant get together. The only thing that can possibly spoil it is if, half-way through the meal you end up with stains on it. 

You can use as many lovely napkins as you like, as sure as fate, a food or drink spill will end up on your table linen. You can get annoyed right there and then or, more likely, smile and vow to wash it as soon as the last guest has left.

Washing it quickly is a good idea – but how you wash your table linen, and at what temperature, is key.

 

Getting rid of brown stains

When we say brown stains we mean, of course, coffee or even tea stains. They’re always pretty obvious but, thankfully, they’re easy to remove. To do so, scrape off any leftover food from the tablecloth and rub liquid laundry detergent or stain remover directly into the stain. Then, leave it to soak in for five minutes or so. 

Next, rinse the cloth in cold water then pop it in the machine at a low to medium heat. If, after you pull the linen tablecloth out from the washing machine and the stain is still there, simply repeat the process.

 

Getting rid of yellow stains

By yellow stains we mean foodstuffs such as butter, oil or salad dressing. Again, there is a failsafe way to remove this kind of stain. Scrape off leftover food (if any) and rub in a little liquid detergent, targeting the stain. Place the table cloth down on the table for 15 minutes to let the soap do its work, then place it in the washing machine, using just warm water (rather than hot – which would simply set the stain). Repeat if necessary then air dry, or tumble dry on a low heat setting.

If the stain has been there for more than a week then it will be more difficult to shift, so try adding two teaspoons of baking soda into the washing machine, along with the liquid detergent you’re using. You can also use baking soda with a fresh stain – just apply it directly to the stain and allow the powder to soak up what’s there.

Another way to get rid of grease stains on a table cloth is to place the cloth on top of spread out paper towels and put detergent with an enzyme on the back of the cloth. The stain should soak through onto the paper towels. Remove these and repeat a couple of times before rinsing the cloth. Place it in the washing machine for a turn before air drying.

@BHG: “Wash using the warmest water recommended for the fabric. Air-dry, because grease stains seem to disappear when wet, and heat from the dryer will set the stain.”

Of course, if you don’t feel confident about cleaning your lovely linen yourself then you can always take it along to the dry cleaners – at a cost.

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