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How to Treat Tablecloth Stains

Spills at the table are inevitable. Permanent stains on your tablecloth need not be. These great stain-busting tips will help you deal with the spatters left behind after a meal.

These tips and tricks for specific types of stains will help you return your tablecloths, napkins, and place mats to their original pristine condition. Always follow the instructions on the pretreatment solutions. Before you use a product, test it in an inconspicuous area of your table linens to make sure it is safe for that fabric.

Butter

Pretreat with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Wash the item using the hottest water safe for the fabric. Treat again if necessary.

Candle Wax

Use a dull knife to scrape the wax from the fabric. For any remaining wax, place the waxy area between paper towels and press with a warm iron. Replace the paper towels as the wax is absorbed.

Coffee or Tea

Check the tablecloth after use. Pretreat stained areas with a stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Or rub the stains with bar soap. Launder as usual; rewash if needed.

Gravy

Pretreat or soak with a product that contains enzymes. Soak the stained cloth for 30 minutes if the stain is dry. Launder as usual; repeat the process if necessary. Don't dry your tablecloth in the dryer until the stain is completely gone. 

Lipstick

Sponge or soak the stain using cool water. Pretreat with a stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Launder with a bleach product that is safe for your fabric. 

Olive Oil

Pretreat the stain with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Wash using the hottest water safe for the fabric. Don't dry until the stain is out.

Red Wine

Sponge or soak the stain using cool water. Pretreat it with a stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Launder the cloth with fabric-safe bleach. 

Salad Dressing

Use a dull knife to scrape off as much as you can. Sprinkle artificial sweetener on the stain to absorb any remaining liquid. Use a prewash product on the stain, then launder as usual. If the stain remains, sponge it with a dry-cleaning fluid, then launder again.

Tomato Sauce

Apply a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent to the stain. Wash with a liquid laundry detergent, using a fabric-safe bleach and appropriate water temperature.

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