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How to Remove Stains From Embroidered Tablecloth

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By Stacy

My Laundry Question

I have a hand-embroidered tablecloth circa 1920 - a family heirloom. There is a yellowish stain I'd like to remove before giving the tablecloth as a second wedding anniversary gift (cotton) to my nephew. I hung the cloth in the sun which seems to have faded the stain, and the stain is not on the embroidered part. Can you help me?

Share a Little Background Info

The stain is probably from food or drink. It's been there for at least a few years, and the cloth has been laundered, dried, folded and stored in a closet.

The requirement of two hundred character minimum in order to submit this email is problematic, so I will fill this space up as best I can. I would prefer not to use a commercially prepared product.

Lessons Learned

  • Bleach is very harsh on the environment, not to mention natural fabrics

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

Probably cotton.

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

What a lovely gift for an anniversary. I'm sure it will be treasured. You've headed in the right direction by using the sun to bleach the fabric. You can attempt to lighten the stain further by using lemon juice on the stained area and again bleaching in the sun.

For a more certain stain removal without the risk of fading the embroidery, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) and cool water. Follow the package directions as to the amount to use per gallon of water. Completely submerge the tablecloth and allow it to soak overnight. Check the stained area, if it is gone then wash as usual. If the stain is still there, mix a new solution and soak overnight again. Oxygen bleach is gentle on fabrics and the environment and gives amazing results with a bit of patience.

Good luck!

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