How to Get Thanksgiving Stains Out of Tablecloths

Thanksgiving is when we get the opportunity to pull out all of our best dishes and linens to honor the delicious food and a special day.  But with cranberry sauce, gravy, and red wine being passed merrily around, drips are inevitable!  And of course candle wax often ends up on the table.  What can you do to save grandma’s special tablecloth from being stained?

Fear not!  With some handy household supplies and a little care, you can save your tablecloth from all of Thanksgiving’s stains and mishaps. Here is how to get Thanksgiving stains out of tablecloths:

Cranberry Sauce- The brightly colored Thanksgiving favorite is tastier on the turkey then on your precious tablecloth.  If it spills, simply scrape up the sauce with a spoon.  Then blot the area with washcloth dampened with cool water. Next, mix 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and 1-teaspoon liquid laundry detergent, and 2 quarts cool water. Pour onto stained areas and let soak for 20 minutes. Dab the stain with a washcloth until it disappears. If the stain remains, try dabbing it with rubbing alcohol and a clean, white sponge or washcloth. Launder as usual.

Gravy- If the gravy spills or dribbles, blot up the excess with paper towels.  Sprinkle the spot with baking soda to blot up any grease or moisture.  Shake baking soda off and apply a small spot of full strength liquid laundry detergent to the spot.  Rub well and rinse with warm water.  Launder as normal but make sure to check the tablecloth before putting it in the dryer so that you do not permanently set the stain.

Red Wine- For an immediate spill, blot with paper towels to remove excess liquid.  For light colored tablecloths, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and dish soap and then pour the mixture on the wine stain.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Stain should begin to lift, blot the stain and launder as usual. For darker colored tablecloths, rinse the area with cold water and rub out the stain.  Then soak with an enzyme cleaner for at least 30 minutes and launder as usual.

Candle Wax - scrape off the excess wax with a dull knife.  You can even place the tablecloth in the freezer to harden the wax.  Put the tablecloth between two brown paper bags. Set a clothing iron on low and iron over the stained area.  The paper bags with absorb the wax.  Keep switching out the paper bags until the tablecloth is clean. If there is an oily mark let behind, rub the spot with liquid laundry detergent before laundering.

Thanksgiving is about family, friends, and fun!  Don't stress about stains as long as you have basic household cleaners like rubbing alcohol, dish soap, laundry detergent, vinegar, and of course, the COIT Stain Guide.

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