How To Treat 14 Of The Most Difficult Stains

The holidays are quickly approaching and many of us are shopping, preparing the holiday menu, and ensuring that the linens are washed and ready to set the table for the Thanksgiving dinner. There is so much to prepare for that we sometimes forget to ensure we have the right products on hand to treat some of the most difficult and common stains often seen this time of year. 

If possible, for the best results treat the stain immediately. Having said this if you are in the middle of a holiday dinner you are unlikely to strip the table of your fine linen while your guests are still eating. Before you review the treatment methods familiarize yourself with the following guidelines for all food stains: 

  1. If you cannot treat the stain immediately use an old, clean towel or a white paper towel dipped in water to gently Blot the excess food from the linen before treatment. You can sprinkle table salt to absorb the dyes until you have time to remove the stain. Brush the salt away before treating the stain.
  2. When you are ready to treat the stain and apply the solutions provided in the table below, remember to always Blot the stained area beginning from the outside area of the stain and work your way towards the center. Rubbing or scrubbing the treatment solution can spread the stain or weaken the fibers.
  3. After using the removal treatments below launder your linens per the Care instructions you received. For fine linens made of natural fibers only (i.e. linen and cotton) always wash in cold water on the delicate cycle and the no spin option. Use the air dry selection on your dryer or hang on a drying rack. Never use heat to dry natural fiber linens as this may break down or weaken the fibers over time.

Follow the instructions below to remove common stains from fine linens.

Stain
What You'll Need
Steps to Remove the Stain
Old Red Wine

Clean Cloth

Old towel

Dawn Dish Detergent in Original Blue color or Platinum

3% Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Place an old towel underneath the stain to prevent it from spreading to the other side of the linen.
  • Mix a solution of one part Dawn dish detergent and two parts 3% hydrogen peroxide and apply to stain. Use a clean towel or a white paper towel to remove the stain. 
  • If they stain persists repeat the treatment.
Fresh Red Wine

Clean Cloth or White Paper Towels

White Wine

Club Soda

  • Using a clean cloth or a white paper towel pat or Blot the stain with white wine.
  • If the white wine does not remove the stain, try gently DABBING the stain with club soda and BLOT to remove.
  • When the stain is removed launder your linen per the Care instructions you received.
Tea, Coffee or Fruit Juice

White Vinegar

Water

Clean Old Towels

  • Mix 1/3 cup of white vinegar with 3/4 cup of cold water. 
  • Place a towel under the linen where the stain appears.
  • Apply the vinegar solution to the stain and BLOT the stained area with an old towel starting from the outside and moving inward
  • If the stain is still present repeat the removal method.
  • Rinse the vinegar solution from the stained area with cold water and launder per Care instructions.
Gravy, Salad Dressing, Butter, Cooking Oil

Dawn Dish Detergent in Original Blue color or Platinum

Water

Clean Old Towels

With oil-based stains you will need to treat them with a degreaser. Follow the instructions below for best results.

  • Place an old towel underneath the stain to prevent it from spreading to the other side of the linen.
  • Dilute Dawn dishwashing liquid with water, mix well and apply it to the stain. If you have fine linens I would start with a weak concentration of 3/4 cups water to 1/3 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid. 
  • Let the solution sit on the stain, without any agitation, for 15-20 minutes.
  • Blot the stain from the outside and work your way towards the center.
  • Rinse the area thoroughly with cold water. If necessary repeat the treatment and make a stronger solution, i.e. 2 parts water and 2 parts Dawn dishwashing liquid.
Fresh Cranberry 

 

Neutral (ph of 7) Laundry Detergent (examples include Le Blanc's Original Linen Wash or Ecos Laundry Detergent)

Distilled White Vinegar

Wet Towel

Dry Towel

 

  • Blot the cranberry stain with a wet towel followed by a dry towel.
  • Repeat this step several times to remove the entire cranberry stain.
  • If necessary create a cranberry stain spotting solution with 1 part laundry detergent (no perfumes), 1 part distilled white vinegar and 10 parts water.
  • Apply the cranberry stain solution directly on to the cranberry stain.
  • Tap the cranberry stain with a soft toothbrush or a towel to absorb the stain.
  • Blot the cranberry stained area with a wet towel followed by a dry towel.

Dried Cranberry

Neutral (ph of 7) Laundry Detergent (examples include Le Blanc's Original Linen Wash or Ecos Laundry Detergent)

Distilled White Vinegar

Soft Toothbrush

Wet Towel

Dry Towel

  • Create a cranberry stain spotting solution with 1 part laundry detergent, 5 part distilled white vinegar and 5 parts water.
  • Apply the cranberry stain solution directly to the dried cranberry stain.
  • Tap the cranberry stain with a brush 
  • Let the cranberry stain solution penetrate for 10-15 minutes.
  • Blot the cranberry stained area with a wet towel followed by a dry towel.
Stubborn Cranberry  Stain

3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Soft Toothbrush

Wet Towel

Dry Towel

  • Apply Hydrogen Peroxide directly to the stubborn dried cranberry stain.
  • Use a soft toothbrush or a wet towel followed by a dry towel to Blot the stain using the Hydrogen Peroxide.
  • Let the cranberry stain solution penetrate the stain for 15-20 minutes.
  • Blot the cranberry stained area with a wet towel followed by a dry towel.
  • Repeat several times if necessary.
Candle Wax Butter Knife
  • If the candle wax is spilled onto the tablecloth wait until it is hardened before you begin removing it. If you want to accelerate the process you can place the tablecloth in the freezer.
  • Once the wax has hardened you can use your fingers or a butter knife to remove the wax.
  • Avoid using colored candles. The hot drippings from these candles leave stains that might not be removable.
Chocolate

Butter Knife

Neutral (ph of 7) Laundry Detergent (examples include Le Blanc's Original Linen Wash or Ecos Laundry Detergent)

Soft Toothbrush

Wet White Towel

Dry White Towel

 

  • Gently remove as much of the chocolate as you can with the butter knife. Take care that you do not spread the stain.
  • Put tablecloth in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden the chocolate.
  • Once hardened remove more of the chocolate.
  • To remove any residual stain create a solution of 5 parts water to 1 part laundry detergent.
  • Apply a small amount directly to the remaining chocolate.
  • Tap the affected area with a soft toothbrush.
  • Blot with a wet white towel followed by a dry towel
  • Launder per Care instructions

 

       Before Red Wine Stain Treatment                     
     

                                                       After Red Wine Stain Removal

Keep these common household supplies handy to remove many common stains from your fine linens. If you have any questions, email me at info@ItalianLinensBoutique.com. Happy holidays!

Best regards,

Karen


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