Care Instructions for Polyester Tablecloths

washing-machine dust-cover refrigerator-cover-storage-linen-cotton-tablecloth

Whether you use tablecloths for daily meals, special occasions, dinner parties, events, or holidays, knowing how to launder them properly will keep your linens looking new and prevent wrinkles as much as possible. On this page, you’ll find information on how to wash polyester tablecloths, and how to care for them properly in general. The below information also applies to polyester/cotton blend table linens.

Caring for Polyester Tablecloths

Most tablecloths today are either polyester tablecloths or polyester/cotton table linens. At Premier Table Linens, we use “tablecloths” as a general term and “table linens” or “linen tablecloths” when we’re talking about polyester/cotton or cotton fabric. Linen tablecloths can present more of a challenge due to cotton being absorbent, and therefore it is recommended to pretreat stains.

Treating Stains

If you stain your tablecloth, you’ll want to spot-clean the stains as soon as possible. The sooner you treat a stain, the easier it will be to remove. Use stain remover, liquid laundry detergent, or even a degreasing dish soap such as Dawn on the stained area. Scrub the stain and then wash and rinse the area. For old stains and grease stains, add two tablespoons of baking soda in addition to your laundry detergent into the wash. Baking soda is effective in cleaning settled stains.

Another tried and true method, especially for dried grease stains, is WD-40. Put a rag under the stained area of the tablecloth to protect the surface of the area you are working in. Saturate the stain with WD-40 and allow it to sit for 30 minutes before washing. For more information on removing tablecloth stains, see our Tips and Tricks to Remove Tablecloth Stains.

Washing and Drying

You can use any laundry detergent to wash your tablecloths unless the fabric has a care tag with other instructions. Do not use bleach unless your tablecloths and napkins are completely white.

To help protect your tablecloth and napkins, add fabric softener to the final rinse cycle. This provides a protective coating to the fiber that will help prevent spills from penetrating into the fibers as quickly.

If the cloth has food stains, when the wash cycle is complete, check to see that the stains are washed out. If they remain, do not place the linens in the dryer. The heat of the dryer will make the stain even more difficult to remove. Instead, treat and wash again before drying. Tumble dry on low heat and the permanent press setting, as this cool-down feature helps reduce wrinkles.

It’s also important that you remove the tablecloths from the dryer promptly. Drying temperatures in excess of 180°F can shock the fabric and create permanent wrinkles. We have found that removing the tablecloth from the dyer when still slightly damp and placing it back on the table overnight helps any wrinkles to fall out. Then the following morning, you simply fold and store.


If ironing, iron on low setting. Iron in a backward, forward motion with the weave of the fabric. Never iron in a circular motion. Use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric.


To avoid mildew, make sure your table linens are completely dry before storing. Store in a cool, dry ventilated area. Rolling or hanging on a rod, rack, or dowels or will prevent wrinkles and creases.

Keep Your Polyester Tablecloths Fresh and Vibrant

By following these steps for how to wash polyester tablecloths, you can effectively wash your tablecloths, maintaining their beauty and ensuring they last for many gatherings to come. Always refer to specific care instructions and exercise caution to preserve the quality of your table linens. With the above proper care, your polyester and poly premier tablecloths will look beautiful for many years!