How to remove stains

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to entertain and host a party, and the table is where it all happens! Today I’m sharing how to wash and remove holiday stains from linen!

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I love the feeling of reuniting with friends and family around the Thanksgiving table, sampling a variety of delicious foods {desserts}, and seeing a pretty fall tablescape with stunning colors.

I’m always happy reaching into my hall closet to pull out a freshly ironed tablecloth … I love the feel of linen.

I wonder how many of us follow the tradition that our mothers passed down? Always keep the tablecloths pressed and ready? Iron them as you need them? Or possibly never using linen for holiday celebrations, creating a more casual feel.

How to remove stains

Whether casual or formal, my hall closet is full of pressed tablecloths on hangers, and I love the smell when I open the door (and napkins in the drawers) = STARCH! :)

There’s something about the fresh smell of starch, the beautiful colors lined in perfect order, and the nostalgic feeling that comes over my soul. (Some are hand-me-downs from my Mama.)

I’d really love to sit down this Thanksgiving and have a chat with my mom. Even though it’s been years, the desire, memories, and love are still there. I can almost taste Mom’s delicious cooking, hear her soothing, sweet voice, and feel her warm embrace.

Back to the table …

Inevitably, every year, something gets spilled on the table. And it’s usually something dark in color, hard to remove, and I always have a sense of dread. I’m not mad, but I’m just wondering if I can fight that stain and totally remove it, preserving my beautiful tablecloth. I’ve had to toss too many, or reuse them for something else, so my mind starts figuring out what kind of stain it is, and how can I remove it?

Having cleaning supplies ready and close by helps, but here are some tips I’ve learned over the years, to get out those pesky stains.

3 simple tips for removing stains:

1. Determine if the fabric is washable (if dry clean only, you will skip #3 and send to the cleaners).
2. Spot-treat the stain.
3. Wash as usual.

Red or dark colors, such as wine or coffee: Place a towel under the stain. Counter the dark stain by pouring white wine on top of the stain and let it soak/sit for about 10 minutes. Tamp with another dry cloth. If the stain persists, try white vinegar, and then diluted liquid laundry detergent.

Oily ingredients such as butters or gravy: Scrape away the food with a butter knife. Place a towel under the stain, add diluted laundry detergent and rub with another soft towel to remove the stain. Let sit for 10 minutes and repeat the process again.

Chocolate or berries: Scrape away the food with a butter knife. Place a towel under the stain, add diluted dishwasher detergent and gently rub with another soft towel, letting sit for 10 minutes. Repeat the process if needed.

Tomato or citrusy sauces: Rinse with cold water, and apply diluted dishwasher detergent and rub with another cloth. Rinse with cold water; repeat the process. Hydrogen peroxide works for last resort.

How to remove stains

Another tip from Mom: The Heloise book she gave me years ago, with tips and tricks from way back then, that still work on linen today!,

And one last trick I learned from my mom: She ironed the red candle wax out the the white linen with a brown paper sack. Lay the bag on top of the soiled linen, iron on top of the bag, and the wax comes right out. I’ve tried it – it works!

What’s your go-to stain remover trick, and did your mom or grandma use linen tablecloths for the holidays?