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Tablecloth cleaning tips

I will shortly use a handmade cotton ivory lace tablecloth, cotton, that my mother bought on her honeymoon in Bermuda, over a white tablecloth, to host a birthday party for her. I had it cleaned a few years ago - professionally and expensively. Thank god my brothers and their wives forgot about it because we have a lot of young children in the family and something like that can't stand too many cleanings. Also because now my brothers and I hold the big dinners (vs Mom & Dad) and we're hooligans who don't use lace tablecloths.

I can do plenty of searching online, but my question is, do you happen to have a great solution to blot up stains on cotton. I've used Martha Stewart's stain guide but wonder if anyone has any magic tricks of their own, because Stains Will Happen.

A friend suggested using a sheet of that micro-thin plastic made to go over tablecloths, but aesthetically, that would give my mother a heart attack.

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

asked about 2 years ago
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added about 2 years ago

Could you spray it with some kind of fabric protector like Scotchgard? Pretty sure my mom coated our whole house in that stuff growing up haha. Worst-case scenario, if it does get stained, you can always dye it to hide the spots - my MIL did this recently with an heirloom white tablecloth with lace borders that had yellowed with age and chose a beautiful robin's egg blue.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Thanks, Meaghan. From what I've learned about fabric cleaning for antique textiles, apparently it's not a good idea to spray Scotchguard or other sealants on this kind of raw lace cloth. It would cause problems with the solutions used if you get them cleaned professionally, later.

I love Scotchguard. It's on every seating item in my house that is fabric. What is it about 5 year olds that makes them want to smear their chocolate faces on the furniture?


Do you think she dyed it herself or took it to a specialist?

F3fdbabe d72e 44f9 919d eecf03b7e10e  liza skitchenlogo
added about 2 years ago

I usually dip a q-tip in a bleach/water solution (1:10) and very carefully dab until the stain is gone, then rinse in warm water. It's time consuming depending on the size of the stain (you could use a cotton ball on larger ones) but I'd rather spend a little extra time than ruin something I care a lot about.

F3fdbabe d72e 44f9 919d eecf03b7e10e  liza skitchenlogo
added about 2 years ago

btw, yes, I saw that the table cloth is ivory - you can still do this, albeit very carefully.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Thank you. I understand the precision. It helps to have an eye dropper.

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HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Since stains will happen, my go-to stain remover is Folex. Yes, this is a carpet spot cleaner, but I have yet to find a cleaner that can remove red wine, ketchup, and blood as well as Folex (no, I am not in any way affiliated with nor does anyone I know work for the company).

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HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Forgot to add, you can buy it at any Home Depot and most hardware stores.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Thanks. Not familiar with it, but will definitely check it out.

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creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

There are a lot of online tips for removing specific stains, such as tea, coffee, and fruit stains, that I follow. With red wine, I salt it immediately. If I can't wash it right away, it goes in the sink stretched over a colander the next day or so. I boil a kettle of water, and sprinkle a good amount of salt on the stain. Next pour the boiling water from a bit of height over the stain in a stream. I usually wash it 2x with bleach; that gets the wine out. Some people swear by white wine over red wine stains. I did that, pouring the white wine over the stain after the meal. Together with the teakettle technique and Shout and bleach, it came out. It helps to sponge stains with water right away, and to wash as quickly as possible.

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creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

I should add that I have guests frequently, and almost always without a plastic cover. I keep stain supplies handy, including Chlorox 2 and regular Chlorox. Carbona makes Stain Devils, stain-specific removers that come in little yellow plastic bottles that are great. This is also a good online source for stain treatments: http://www.cleanipedia.... As Halfpint said, Dawn is great for grease stains.

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creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

I should add that I have guests frequently, and almost always without a plastic cover. I keep stain supplies handy, including Chlorox 2 and regular Chlorox. Carbona makes Stain Devils, stain-specific removers that come in little yellow plastic bottles that are great. This is also a good online source for stain treatments: http://www.cleanipedia.... As Halfpint said, Dawn is great for grease stains.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Creamtea, thanks for the tips and the cleanipedia link. I've never heard of pouring white wine over red! You would think that's pouring the good after the bad. But I've seen salt and club soda do wonders on red wine.

I'll be sure to have everyone's cleaning recommendations on hand. I just know I'll have to deal with stains but it will be worth the happy memories for my Mom & Dad.

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added about 2 years ago

Get Oxi Clean max.....
It is magic stuff

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Thank you! On old lace like this, I know you have to dilute modern cleaners and water them down quite a bit.

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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added about 2 years ago

I looked for but can't find Marjorie Merriwether Post's instruction to her staff on how to care for linens. She was meticulous when it came to her linens and knew just about everything there was to know. I,
unfortunately, I can't find them. This link may help, though: http://www.alleyroselinens...

I would be very careful about using any harsh, modern cleaning products on your cloth. They can do more damage than harm, and cotton can be washed in gentle detergent with ease. And don't send the poor cloth for dry cleaning! The chemicals damage and discolor fabric. And remember, the tablecloth was made to be used, not to be kept in a drawer or displayed under some protective covering. Enjoy using it, honor the memories it contains and make more memories with continued good times!

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Thank you the MM Post tip. I visited Hillwood, her mansion in D.C. and it was spectacular. (I wonder if their gift shop might have some of her writings?) I hear you about being very careful about using modern cleaning products. The professional restorer I brought it to a few years ago, who also fixed some tears in the lace, said the same thing. He recommended watering down anything like an Oxi Clean - dilute it with water so it's very weak - and blot it gently on affected areas only, then blot again with fresh water, let dry. Repeat as necessary but going slowly and gently. (She is going to be so thrilled when she sees it on the table! She bought one big enough for a table for 10 when she was 23 years old and when I asked her why, she said, "All I wanted was to have a big family and I knew we would use it."

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added about 2 years ago

I happened to watch a PBS show called Haley' s hints and the best takeaway was using Borax on wine stains. I tried it on a favorite tablecloth that was ruined with red wine and it WORKED. I started adding it to laundry and towels are truly brighter. Best ever laundry booster and safe for fabrics. And no mystery ingredients.