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How to Wash Table Linens, Napkins, and More

can you machine wash a linen tablecloth

The holidays are a prime time to showcase your best table linens but how do you get stains out of a linen tablecloth to get it holiday-ready? Machine or hand washing with gentle detergent and warm water can make most stains disappear. Learn how to wash table linens and store them properly so they’re ready for a season of entertaining.

Holiday Prep Made Easy: How to Wash Table Linens

Can you machine wash a linen tablecloth? This durable material can be safely washed in the machine with regular detergent and cold water. However, just like when washing a comforter, be sure to wash it separately from other items to avoid damage or an imbalanced load. To ensure that your pieces are safely cleaned, here’s how to wash table linens by hand in 4 simple steps.

can you machine wash a linen tablecloth

Step 1. Fill Sink or Basin

If you need to wash a table runner or a few linen napkins, fill a basin with lukewarm water. However, if you’re washing a large linen tablecloth or many linen pieces, fill a sink or tub for adequate space.

Once the sink or basin is full, follow these tips when adding detergent or bleach:

  • Add gentle detergent to the water and swirl by hand to mix.
  • Follow the package instructions to avoid using too much laundry detergent that can dull linen fabrics.
  • To brighten white items, add a small amount of bleach to the water. 

Step 2. Wash Linens

Place your items in the water and wash linen napkins, runners and tablecloths by gently rubbing them together until stains are removed. Always wash whites and colored items separately and wash large amounts in multiple batches to avoid overcrowding.

Step 3. Drain, Rinse and Refill

Once all items are clean, drain the tub or sink and rinse each item in running water to remove soap suds and residue. Refill the tub with fresh warm water and place each item back in, swirling them around to remove every trace of detergent. As any lingering residue can leave linen fabric dull or scratchy, repeatedly drain, rinse and refill as needed.

Step 4. Dry Properly

The last step in how to wash table linens involves proper drying. Remove your rinsed items from the tub and carefully squeeze out any remaining water. Avoid wringing which can increase wrinkling or damage the fabric. Hang each item to air dry or machine dry at a low temperature. If you would like to iron your table linens, remove them from the dryer while they’re still slightly damp for easier wrinkle removal.

wash linen napkins

How to Store Table Linens

Once your table linens are completely dry, proper storage will keep them clean and fresh until their next use. While they can be hung or stored flat, always keep linens in a cool, dry place with adequate ventilation. Doing so can extend their lifespan and prevent mold and mildew.

Here’s how to store table linens when folding them flat:

  • Wrap each piece in tissue paper: Be sure to use an acid-free tissue paper, as the acid in standard tissue can leave yellow stains on white items.
  • Place extra tissue between folds: This can soften any edges, since crisp folds can weaken linen fibers over time.
  • Store heavier pieces on the bottom: Place tablecloths down first, followed by runners and napkins, to lessen wrinkling and damage to lighter items.

Knowing how to wash table linens won’t be of much help if your washer or dryer is out of commission. Set up your pre-holiday service with Action Appliance Repair today!

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