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Removing Food & Wine Stains from Tablecloths

CindyJ Apr 16, 2009 08:36 AM

Maybe this is SO "not about food" that it doesn't even belong on this website, but I'll give it a shot anyway. What's the best way to clean a tablecloth that can't be bleached, or even washed in hot water? I usually stay away from tablecloths that aren't indestructable, but I have one that's been sitting in the closet, never used, because I just know it'll be ruined after the first time I put it on the table. It's a very pretty April Cornell 100% cotton print. The cleaning instructions say to wash in cold water and line dry. So my question is, what can I use to treat the inevitable spills, spots and stains, prior to laundering, that won't ruin the cloth?

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    Flaxen_Vixen RE: CindyJ Apr 16, 2009 09:11 AM

    As a former April Cornell employee and chowhound, you can wash that tablecloth in warm water and pretreat spots with a gentle detergent like woolite or shout and not do too much damage. Also, line drying isn't entirely necessary, tumble drying on low will be fine. For removing wine stains, dousing the spot in several liters of cold club soda works the best.

    1. j
      Janet RE: CindyJ Apr 16, 2009 04:32 PM

      I put salt on spilled wine. It pulls the wine to the top of the fiber. I use Zout to pretreat stains. It takes out red wine, just about everything. Mustard is about the only thing that is iffy to remove.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Janet
        kattyeyes RE: Janet Apr 24, 2009 06:51 AM

        Since you mentioned salt, is there any truth to the "club soda and salt" fix from Curb Your Enthusiasm? I've been thinking about it since I first saw this thread.

        If it doesn't work, it's a funny clip just the same.

        1. re: kattyeyes
          coll RE: kattyeyes Apr 24, 2009 08:43 AM

          That's a funny one, can't believe I never saw it. Didn't they do the same trick on Seinfeld? Can't remember the particulars....

          1. re: coll
            kattyeyes RE: coll Apr 24, 2009 08:50 AM

            I don't remember it from Seinfeld, but it wouldn't surprise me. Every time I see something spill now, I think of this!

            1. re: kattyeyes
              buttertart RE: kattyeyes Feb 2, 2010 09:50 AM

              Overdue response: never never never put salt on a red wine stain, salt is a dye fixative. Ask my brand-new custom-made white linen pants that matched my wedding suit that I wore to our first married dinner out and got Bordeaux spilled on. Waiter put a lot of salt on the stain, took to the hotel dry cleaner, never came out. Sigh.

      2. a
        adamshoe RE: CindyJ Apr 16, 2009 05:31 PM

        Just do what Sue Ann Nivens "The Happy Homemaker" suggests. "Stretch the stained part over a bowl and pour in boiling water from a height of two feet..those stains will come out in a jiffy!!" LOVE the old MTM show... adam

        1. n
          Nyleve RE: CindyJ Apr 23, 2009 05:11 PM

          There's a product called Folex - which I've bought in the cleaning section of Linens and Things or one of those places. It's fantastic on wine and works well on other food stains. It's not a bleach so it won't take the colour out of the fabric. I have NO idea how it works I just know it does. You spray the stuff on - even the next day if you've forgotten - and something magical happens. The stain begins to disappear immediately. Throw it in the wash - owever you're allowed to wash it - and the stain is gone altogether. I swear I do not own the company and I do not make any money selling it. A similar product - Wine Out - works as well but is more expensive.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve
            CindyJ RE: Nyleve Apr 24, 2009 06:41 AM

            I use Folex on carpet and upholstery spots, and you're right, it's a great product. There's another cleaner I get at BB&B called "Incredible!" that I use for fabrics -- clothing, etc. and it works miracles, too. I used it last week on the tablecloth in question, washed the cloth in warm water, dried it on an air setting and it came out great.

            1. re: Nyleve
              bucksguy14 RE: Nyleve Jan 22, 2010 06:39 AM

              I spilled a glass of red wine on our multi-colored, very expensive, oriental carpet about a month ago. My wife was almost apoplectic! After talking to lots of people, including the store we bought the carpet from, I was getting resigned to the fact that we were going to have to replace the carpet. I "googled" the internet and found some things that sounded OK and some that sounded crazy. Then, I thought "I ought to try the CHs"! I searched this board and found Nyleve's Folex recommendation. Sounded exactly like what I was looking for. I found a bottle of Folex at Lowe's. I took an old towel and splashed some red wine on it, let it sit for a week and then tried the Folex on it - it was gone in two applications! I tried Folex on a tiny red area of our carpet where you could just barely see a purple stain. Gone! I got a little more daring and tried it on a medium green area. Gone! I got really daring and tried it on a white area. Gone! You would never know that there was an area about 4X2 on the carpet that had endured a red wine spill! Needless to say, there will always be a bottle of Folex in our laundry room. Thank you Nyleve!

              1. re: bucksguy14
                Nyleve RE: bucksguy14 Jan 22, 2010 08:03 AM

                You're welcome. I love that stuff. It's magic.

                1. re: Nyleve
                  KTFoley RE: Nyleve Jan 22, 2010 06:04 PM

                  Thank you so much -- I just came from a dinner where the waiter spilled a glass of wine down my back. How cool to find the solution within ten minutes!

                  1. re: KTFoley
                    Nyleve RE: KTFoley Jan 23, 2010 08:06 AM

                    Ooo - chilly. Hope you got a free dessert, at least.

                    1. re: Nyleve
                      KTFoley RE: Nyleve Jan 25, 2010 12:35 PM

                      The waiter was mortified but managed to do all the right things -- apologized immediately, brought towels etc. to help wipe up, offered to pay for dry-cleaning, comped my meal. Did NOT expect that last one. But they were terrific and I have no complaints

                      1. re: KTFoley
                        Nyleve RE: KTFoley Jan 25, 2010 12:57 PM

                        Excellent. And if you actually got the entire stain out, even better.

                2. re: bucksguy14
                  CindyJ RE: bucksguy14 Jan 22, 2010 01:29 PM

                  There's another product, similar to Folex, that I've been using to remove wine and other food stains from fabric lately. It's called "Incredible!" and I buy it at BB&B. I treat the fabric just before I launder it, and it's amazing. I use Folex on rugs and carpets and Incredible! on fabric, and in my house, I go through a lot of both!

                  1. re: CindyJ
                    bucksguy14 RE: CindyJ Jan 22, 2010 03:13 PM

                    Guess I've got another line on my shopping list!

              2. coll RE: CindyJ Apr 24, 2009 01:23 AM

                I have a tablecloth like that, I spray it with Scotchgard a few hours before company comes, and then treat any stains with Zout before washing. Never a problem.

                1. Vetter RE: CindyJ Jan 22, 2010 08:07 PM

                  I highly, highly recommend this enzyme cleaner: Bio Kleen Bac-Out. http://www.amazon.com/Bac-Enzyme-Clea...

                  I have spilled several glasses of red wine on pale carpet, blotted them, poured on some Bac-Out, and watched the stain go purple-gray-gone! It's great stuff. Smells good, cheap, from a good company, and it actually works. Fine on colors.

                  It's also handy-dandy for things like shower curtains, drains, etc.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Vetter
                    buttertart RE: Vetter Feb 2, 2010 09:53 AM

                    Does it work on stains that remain after laundering?

                  2. d
                    dagwood RE: CindyJ Jan 23, 2010 11:17 AM

                    There is not a single thing I have not been able to remove by soaking in Oxyclean. You can make it into a paste and spot-treat, or for my very worst stain situation (a hot pink crayon ruined an entire load of laundry by going through the dryer and melting on EVERYTHING), I soaked the load in a heavy concentration of oxy (I think it was about 2 cups for a large load.) Not a spot left. That said, it did fade the load a bit, but nothing was ruined. I swear by Oxyclean for everything.

                    1. m
                      MrsT RE: CindyJ Jan 25, 2010 01:21 PM

                      Saturday night, I spilled wine all over the sleeve of a light grey shirt. My friend told me to try Masters Brush Cleaner. It's a soap to clean oil paint out of brushes. It worked, you can't even tell there was a giant stain. It costs about $5 in art supply stores.

                      1. jmckee RE: CindyJ Jan 29, 2010 09:04 AM

                        Wine Away (www.wineaway.com) is a wonderful product. I have, um, a history of red wine dribbles, and this product has removed every one of the stains without harming the fabric or fading or discoloring.

                        We also swear by OxyClean at our house for tough stains.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jmckee
                          dagwood RE: jmckee Jan 29, 2010 11:59 AM

                          My mom swears by wine away as well. And she's had more than her fair share of red wine spills.

                          1. re: dagwood
                            jmckee RE: dagwood Feb 1, 2010 08:26 AM

                            Worst one: right after we moved into our new house a little over 12 years ago, I had settled into my chair with a glass of chianti to watch a movie with my son. Talbot, one of our cats, decided she wanted to get in my lap and figured she could thread her way between the wine glass and the lamp. She was wrong. It went everywhere. Wine away took care of it.

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