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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Common Holiday Table Cloth Stains

Red and White Tablecloths require very different cleaning processes
There are so many wonderful things that surround any holiday, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, July 4th, or even a birthday, and that’s the fun and fellowship with family and friends around the dinner table.  There’s nothing better than sitting down at a long table, filled with yummy food, surrounded by people that you love, eating, telling stories, and laughing.  Sadly, there’s that moment when we all look around at the damage we’ve done and realize that someone (more likely several someone’s) is going to have to clean up the mess.

We have this standing joke at my parent’s house that whoever messes up mom’s tablecloth first is the one stuck with the job, and the best part is when they get caught making the mess, the catcher yells, “you goobered.”  Then the harassment begins.

Somewhere, someone is going to lose and be stuck with the cleaning up chore, so we’ve compiled a list of common table cloth stains that you may encounter this holiday season and have included tips on how to care for them at home.  Of course, you could always take them to a professional, telling what the stains are at drop off, so you don’t have to mess with them.  After all, we remove these sorts of stains all the time.
  1. Candle Wax – First, let me just point out that one way of avoiding getting candle wax on your nice table cloth is to not place and light candles on your table cloth.  We generally advise not to place burning candles on flammable surfaces.  But I know that someone somewhere in this world is going to ignore my advice.  In that case, gently lift off the larger pieces, treat with a solvent-based stain remover, and wash in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.  Check to see if the stain has been removed before placing it in the dryer.
    A glass of red wine is wonderful for the holidays, terrible for your tablecloth
  2. Coffee and wine – Move quickly by blotting with a plain white cloth or paper towel to draw out as much as the liquid as possible. Never rub.  Once the meal is over, rinse the area from the back with cool water, treat with a mild detergent, and launder according to the care label’s directions.  Check to see if the stain has been removed before placing it in the dryer.
  3. Salad Dressing – Oil-based stains are difficult to remove at home because grocery store pre-treaters cannot break them down.  Dry cleaning solvent is a degreaser, and any professional dry cleaner can remove this type of stain easily.  If you are determined to get this one out on your own, try treating the area with a liquid detergent that contains a degreaser, launder according to the care label’s directions, and check to see if the stain has been removed before placing it in the dryer.
  4. Cranberry – Rinse the area from the back with cool water, then treat with a mild detergent and white vinegar before washing.
Two words of caution here.  First, time is of the essence; it is best to wash stained items or take them to a professional dry cleaner as soon as possible.  The longer you let stains sit, the more difficult they are to remove.  Second, don’t try too many attempts at stain removal before taking it to a professional; it is possible to try too many times and ultimately pull the color from the item or damage the fibers.  Once that happens, there’s no fixing it.

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