A typical wine stain on a tablecloth

A typical wine stain on a tablecloth. source:

I love to host parties. I hate to clean up parties. Especially my tablecloths. I mean, I love creating an elegant and elevated tablescape, but dang! My friends are awesome, but can sometimes be messy-messersons!

What a conundrum, right? 


With today’s 4 simple ways to clean common stains like food ‘n grease, red wine, candle wax and rust on table linens, the aftermath of party-picking up will be a whole lot easier. And, it’ll keep friendships intact.

A. Food and Grease Stains

What you’ll need:

• enzyme or petroleum-based pretreatment spray (your basic stain remover spray) or grease-busting liquid dish soap

• laundry detergent  

• baking soda


     1. Remove/Scrape off any hardened food, then spray stain remover or liquid dish soap directly onto spot(s) – take the fabric on both sides of the stain, then rub together to work in the stain remover. Let sit for 15 mins.

     2. Fill washer with hot water, then add detergent + 1 – 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Place linens into washer and allow them to soak for 15 minutes before washing in a regular warm or cold-water cycle. Note: for deep food/grease stains, let the linens sit for at least 8 hours or OVERNIGHT in detergent, baking soda and water, then wash.

     3. After washing, check linens for any remaining stains. If so, repeat steps 1 and 2. 

     4. Hang dry outside or machine dry on LOW.

WARNING: do NOT dry linens on high, as it might set any remaining stains and/or damage delicate fabrics. *Thanks to SF Gate for these tips.

B. Red Wine Stains

What you’ll need:

• club soda

• salt


• 3 parts hydrogen peroxide

• 1 part dish soap (Dawn really does the trick!)


a. Club Soda: Pour club soda over stain to completely dilute the wine – immediately throw into wash with detergent.

b. Salt: Pour a generous amount of salt onto stain. Let sit 15 minutes. Wash in washing machine with detergent.

c. Hydrogen Peroxide + Dish Soap Solution: Gently dab up wine to remove excess. DO NOT RUB! Mix together HP and dish soap then rub solution onto stain. Let sit 15 minutes, then wash in machine with detergent.

Thanks to Apartment Therapy for these tips.

C. Candle Wax Drippings

What you’ll need:

• butter knife

• iron

• paper towel

• stain removing spray


1. To easily remove wax, place linen(s) in freezer for about an hour.

2. Once wax is frozen, use a butter knife and carefully scrape off excess. Be careful not to cut or tear fabric. Just do the best you can to remove any thick areas and pieces.

3. Set your iron on LOW. Place a paper towel underneath AND on top of the wax stained area. Iron to allow the paper towels to absorb the wax. Replace the paper towels as they absorb the wax. Do this several times until wax is gone. Note: be careful not to burn your tablecloth – keep setting on low.

4. Spray any remaining stain with stain remover, then wash on cold or warm setting with laundry detergent.

Thanks to New England Today Living for this tip. 

D. Rust Stains

What you’ll need:

• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

• 2 Tbsp. sea salt

• stain remover


1. Combine the lemon juice and salt and mix into a buttery paste. 

2. Spread lemon/salt paste to completely cover stain. If you need more, mix more.

3. Allow to sit in the SUN for 30 minutes. It’s important that your stain be exposed to the direct and FULL sun, as this will allow lemon to “bleach” the rust clean.

4. Rinse tablecloth, then check to see if any stain remains. If so, repeat steps 1 – 4 until stain is gone. You may need to repeat several times for tough stains, so be patient.

5. Spray stain remover on any faint rust, then wash with laundry detergent.

Note: be sure to test stain removing spray if you’ve never used on delicate linens.

Thanks to Linenbeauty for this tip.

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