Table linens are often put through the wringer. Whether you're hosting a small picnic in your backyard or are catering a 250-person wedding, you're going to need to rely on quality tablecloths to see the event through to the end. You've got a variety of choices at your disposal: fitted tablecloth covers, rustic faux burlap table linens, plain tablecloths, uniquely patterned tablecloths, and all the options in between.
No matter what you settle on, you're likely to face the same problem every time you take it out of its box, bag, or closet: wrinkles. When a simple ironing won’t get the job done, here are five steps that will be sure to provide a clean and crease-free result.
IMPORTANT: the tips below serve as general advice that can be effective with several different types of fabrics, but it is always suggested that you read, understand, and follow the specific laundering instructions for the material that you are using. For example, what works on commercial grade polyester tablecloths may have a negative impact on delicate materials such as lace or organza.
- Wash: When washing your linens, choose the permanent press wash option. It is designed to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and creases by using warm or hot wash water: the temperature relaxes creases and a slow spin helps prevent new ones from forming.
- Dry: Surprisingly, you will be throwing that tablecloth in your dryer. Choose the permanent press option again (it uses a lower heat to eliminate and prevent wrinkles from forming). Make sure your dryer is not overcrowded or your efforts so far will have been for nothing.
- Straighten: As soon as the dryer finishes its cycle, remove the tablecloth. Straighten it out with your hands and hang it over a clothesline, chair, or railing so any remaining wrinkles and creases will settle out; this usually takes about three to four hours. Some table linens will look perfectly fine and wrinkle-free after this step, so only proceed to the final two if those pesky creases still remain.
- Prep: Put the tablecloth on its backside on an ironing board. Lightly spray it with water and place a pressing cloth (or simply use a piece of plain cotton fabric such as a white pillowcase) on top. Note: This is especially important for polyester tablecloths and fitted tablecloth covers, as the high heat of an iron can melt or distort the material.
- Iron: If you're working with synthetic fabric, set the iron to the synthetic setting and proceed to iron out the remaining wrinkles through your damp pillowcase or pressing cloth. Continue to spray it one section at a time until the whole piece is completed.
The next time you throw a party, don't fret over your linens. Follow the above steps, and all your guests will be marveling over how pristine your tablecloths are.