It is impossible to imagine a kitchen table without a tablecloth. It helps to protect the table from the inevitable food and drink spills and adds a great sense of style to the room. While you can buy a great selection of tablecloths for every occasion and even suit the changing seasons, you need to take good care of them, so they retain their good looks and last long. Some handy tips for cleaning and caring for your tablecloths:
Note the Kind of Fabric
Tablecloths come in a variety of fabrics; some are made with natural fiber, while the rest are made of synthetic materials. The care routine depends on the type of fabric. Typically, natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, velvet, etc., that stain easily need to be handled more gently while cleaning and washing. Others made from synthetic materials like polyester, vinyl, etc., are more stain-resistant and can be washed more vigorously.
Treat Stains Quickly
The best way of tackling food and drink stains is to remove the tablecloth from the table as quickly as possible and spot clean the stain with a detergent containing enzymes. Remember to dab the detergent paste on the stain, and not rub it because it tends to drive the stain more into the fabric. However, before doing the spot cleaning, you should conduct a patch test for colorfastness. The faster you are off the block in cleaning stain, the easier and more effective the process is.
Soak and Wash
Soaking the soiled fitted table cover is the key to keeping it clean and stain-free. If the label does not allow machine washing, you can heat a large pan with warm water and soak the tablecloth overnight. You can add some detergent or oxygen bleach to the water for better results, says the Town and Country Mag when you hand wash it the next day. If the tablecloth is machine washable, you can run a part cycle using warm water. If you hand wash, you should be careful not to scrub or pummel the fabric to avoid damaging it. It is also for this reason that a part cycle is recommended when machine washing it.
The best way of drying table linen is to air dry them in bright sunlight. However, when drying in direct sunlight, you need to remove the tablecloth after it is dry and not expose it to the sun for longer, since the colors tend to fade, especially on tablecloths made of natural fiber like cotton, linen, silk, etc. If you can still see the stains after the tablecloth is dry, you should repeat the entire wash and dry routine. It is best not to tumble dry tablecloths as wrinkles are harder to iron out, and stains tend to become more ingrained.
It is generally not much of a hassle keeping your tablecloths clean and stain-free if you attend to the food spills before they get a chance to dry out. You must ensure that the detergent you use is of good quality; otherwise, repeated washing will soon take its toll. Keep the dry tablecloths folded or rolled up and iron before use.