Table and kitchen linens take a bit of a hammering, what with wine spills, candle wax drips, lipstick marks and food stains. If you’ve wondered about how to treat stains on your linen tablecloth, or get marks out of your napkins, here’s a handy how-to.
1. Act Fast
The quicker you can treat a stain the better the chance you have of getting it out. We don’t mean you should whip a napkin out of your guest’s gravy-splashed hands, but some timely treatment will prevent stains setting into the fibres of your linen. Use a suitable enzyme-based spot treatment and apply gently to the mark, without rubbing. Don’t be tempted to use chlorine bleach as this will damage the fabric and can cause yellowing. It is useful to test a new product on a hidden area of your linen to check that it doesn’t remove the colour or cause unsightly marks. The clever folk at Martha Stewart have designed this stain removal chart that they recommend laminating and pinning up near your laundry area so you can quickly check the best ways to remove marks.
Fill a large pan with hot water, or put the linen into your washing machine and allow it to fill with hot water, and soak overnight.
Being mindful of your item’s care instructions, wash on a short cycle in the machine, or gently hand wash if it is not machine-washable.
Line drying is best if you can, as the sun will add its bleaching power. Remember to dry shaped items flat to prevent them being stretched. Tumble drying, if your care instructions permit, is fine but can cause any residual stain to be fixed in by the heat.
If you like your linen napkins and tea towels crease-free, resist the urge to iron them now. They are better off being rolled and stored, then swiftly ironed before use. Store linens flat if you can, rather than folded. If you have lots of different sized tablecloths, hang them instead – you could even sew on coloured hoops to differentiate the sizes (blue for large, red for small etc) and make for easy table laying. Ironing can be useful if there are candle wax stains that haven’t come out: once you’ve scraped off as much wax as possible, blot with blotting paper and iron over the top to remove any leftover wax. If you are storing precious family heirloom linens, secure in a sealed bag and throw in a lavender pouch to keep them fresh.
Et voilà! Now all you have to do is set a beautiful table, rustle up some delicious food and get ready to share a meal with some loved ones or new friends. These gorgeous candles, glasses and dinner plates are currently on our wish list for a dining table makeover that will impress our guests. Make sure your kitchen linens are the perfect backdrop for your tableware. Banish stains and bring on the gleam!
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