Tips and Tricks To Remove Tough Tablecloth Stains

by Tony Cueto - January 23, 2023

Coffee and Tea Stains

Tea is the definitely the most stubborn stain of the two. Use OxiClean™ or any other oxygen base stain remover. I keep a spray bottle filled with equal parts of white vinegar and water in my laundry room. I spray the area and then gently rub before going into the washing machine.

A very important rule that applies to any stains is to inspect the tablecloth when it comes out of the washing machine. If there are still any stains, DO NOT put your tablecloth in the dryer as the heat will cause the stain to be permanent. Instead, continue treating the stain.

Dairy Stains

As the saying goes, “don’t cry over spilled milk.” Milk stains are one of the easiest to remove.

If milk has spilled, gently blot with a clean cloth or paper towels removing the liquid.

Rub the stain with laundry detergent and then rinse. Since milk, creamers and ice cream contain protein, rinse the area in cold water (warm or hot water sets protein stains into the tablecloth even more).

Tablecloth Red Wine Stain Removal

How to remove red wine stain can seem like a nearly impossible challenge and the reason you have landed here. The good news is that a spill does not have to ruin your evening or your tablecloth. The quicker that you act, the easier it will be to remove. The longer it is allowed to sit, the more stubborn it will be.

When red wine is spilled on your tablecloth:

• Immediately blot as much as possible with paper towels. Blot do not scrub!

• Generously apply table salt to the stained area. Salt will pull the red wine out of the cloth. Leave the salt until you have finished your meal. If you do not have salt, use baking soda, baby powder or even kitty litter.

• Allow the salt (or other dry powder mentioned above) to settle for five minutes.

• If none of these dry materials are available, blot the stain with vinegar, WD-40, hydrogen peroxide or even milk. Milk is not only an amazing source of calcium but a great and convenient go to for absorbing the wine stain. Boiling the milk 1st works even better.

WD-40 is my favorite for removing any stains from grease to wine, even candle wax. Made to dissolve rust, this solvent breaks up the particles of red wine and safe to use on tablecloths. Spray the stained area and allow to soak a few minutes. Dab gently with a clean wash rag or paper towels. When the stain begins to transfer to the cleaning cloth, use a clean area to continue to remove the stain for the tablecloth.

If using vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, mix with a smaller amount of liquid detergent. Soak the stained area in your sink or bowl for at least 30 minutes before rinsing and then placing the cloth in the washer. Vinegar or hydrogen peroxide goes neutralizing the red and purple pigments while the detergent helps clean the fabric. 

Grease or Oil Stains

Since grease and oil stains are not water soluble, simply washing is not going to remove butter, gravy and oil stains.

• Apply either a dry powder - baking soda, cornstarch or flower or spray WD-40 to the soiled area

And allow to sit for an hour. This allows for the grease or oil to be absorbed.

• Next, brush off the powder and soak the stained are in a bowl with hot water and dish liquid for an hour before rinsing.

• Allow the effected area to dry out and then inspect to see if the stain has come out. If not,

• Repeat the process.


Lipstick is not a kiss of death to your napkins. To the contrary, to remove lipstick stain is very easy. I take my white vinegar spray bottle out from my laundry room shelf and spray it on the lipstick and then dab gently before going in the wash.

Water Stains

From water splashed on to your tablecloth or a liquid ring left from a cold beverage usually come right out in the wash cycle. If it does not, spray the stain with vinegar.