'Tis the season for staining vintage linens and adorning our dining tables with vintage linens . . . If your beloved 1950s tablecloth experiences misfortune here is the CatEyeGirls, a vendor at the Roxy Theatre Antiques, solutions:
First, we start with a respectable tablecloth. Yes, it may be stained but the overall condition is characterized by:
- No holes, rips or tears.
- Minimal stains.
- Classic 1950s colors that have not been bleached out in a previous, and failed, attempt at removing stains.
Starting with a respectable tablecloth we then take a three step approach.
Step one is, well, actually "step one" for all of our "antique show" tablecloths . . . it is where we start.
- Fill your washing machine with hot water and add a generous amount of Oxyclean (4-12 scoops depending on the number of 1950s tablecloths you are washing -- more is better in this instance) and a normal wash load amount of laundry soap.
- Agitate the tablecloths and Oxyclean for a minute or two and then turn your washing machine off.
- Let them soak. Be patient.
- Return every hour or so and agitate for a minute or two.
- They should soak 6-24 hours.
- Remove and inspect the stains. Are they still there?
- If so, proceed to step 2 if, and only if, the stain is located on the white background of the tablecloth otherwise proceed to Step 3.
Step 2 only applies to tablecloths that have stains in the "white background" that remain after being laundered with Step 1.
- Lay the tablecloth on your kitchen counter and isolate the stain. If the stain is positioned in the colored part of the tablecloth, skip this step . . . though if it is located on the white background proceed.
- Gently spray or brush or pour a small amount of Tilex on the stubborn stain. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Typically, Tilex has just enough bleach in it to lift the stain.
- Launder again in your washing machine with a little Oxyclean and laundry soap.
Step 3 is used for any tablecloth that has made it through Step 1 and / or Step 2 and the stain remains testing both your persistance and patience.
- Again, fill your washing machine with hot water.
- Add 1 cup of bleach and a normal wash load amount of laundry soap.
- Wash normally.
If, after walking your tablecloth through our 3 Step approach to 1950s tablecloth restoration, the stain persists in your 1950s tablecloth . . . it may be time to reconcile with the fact that you own a permanently stained tablecloth that might need a new lease on life. Repurpose it as:
- Kitchen valances.
- An apron.
- Swatches, bursts of 1950s kitchen colors, that drape off the shelf that your kitchen collectibles sit on.
- A liner to your wire wheeled "antique show" shopping cart . . . Share your ideas for repurposing a 1950s tablecloth.
As for ironing . . . Rowenta Professional set to "max steam" and plenty of Stay Flo Starch mixed 50 / 50 with tap water.
That's it. Good luck. Let us know how the CatEyeGirls 3 Step approach to having a stack of the most vibrant, pristine 1950s tablecloths works out for you!