We’ve all had that sudden panic when we bring out our best table cloth for the holidays only to see stains we don’t remember from the previous year. What happened?

Two types of stains are most common on table cloths: water-based stains and oil-based stains. Water-based stains such as coffee and red wine may come out during washing (with the help of special stain removers). It’s “easy to see” if the red and tan stains came out.

However, oily stains from salad dressing, gravy, and butter may look like they’ve been removed, but in fact they are still there. Fats and oils don’t totally dissolve in water. Because the remaining oil stain is “clear” after washing, it’s often “invisible.” Given a little time, these stains yellow, ruin the look of your table cloth, and even weaken fabrics. Unfortunately, when they get to this stage, they are usually permanent.


Bring your best table linens to DELIA’S Cleaners even if you think you can do it yourself. Most oily stains come out in dry-cleaning. Our experts know exactly how to pre-treat every type of stain, and our GreenEarth Cleaning process and high-tech equipment are specially designed to address these issues.

For your more casual linens that you want to wash at home, try these tips.

Take off all the food you can with a dull utensil, before washing. Scrape, do not rub.
If using chlorine bleach, dilute it - one ounce of bleach per one gallon of water. Never pour pure bleach directly on any garment.
Wash your table cloth and napkins together to keep their color consistent.

Bring older, heirloom table cloths to DELIA’S Cleaners for expert, gentle care.