Cleaning and Storing a Tablecloth: It’s Easier Than You Think

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If you’re hosting a group of people and setting the table, one of the trickiest things to figure out is how to select the right size tablecloth for your table. We’d argue that the second-trickiest part is knowing the best way to go about cleaning and storing a tablecloth after the party’s over. Follow these best practices for cleaning and storing your tablecloth linens.

Spot Clean, Stat!

If you get a food stain on your tablecloth, you should spot clean is as soon as possible to avoid it becoming a permanent fixture. Pretreat the stain with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent, and wash it out using the hottest water safe for the fabric.

Then Wash It and Dry It…

Avoid drying your tablecloth until the stain is out. Follow up your spot-clean session with a laundering session. (Many tablecloths—including all Williams Sonoma tablecloths—are machine-washable and can be tumble-dried.)

…Or Bring It to a Reputable Cleaner

If a formal, pressed look like the one you see directly out of the package is what you’re going for, then you’ll want to drop off your tablecloth to have it professionally laundered.

Store Them Wisely

It’s best to wash or clean tablecloth linens (and double-check them for any stains!) before storing them. Make sure they’re completely dry, and keep them in a well-circulated area.


To fold a round tablecloth, fold it into a semi-circle first, bringing the rounded edge toward the straight fold until it meets the cloth’s flat edge. Then fold it in half lengthwise, and fold it again.

While you can fold them before storing, one of the best ways to store tablecloths is actually to use clothing hangers (use a wire hanger with clips, and fasten the clips to the hem of the tablecloth—our linen buyer’s favorite method!). You can also take ironed linens and roll them up around a cardboard tube in lieu of wrapping paper to prevent wrinkles and folds.

Shopping for the perfect tablecloth? Start with our linens shop.


2 comments about “Cleaning and Storing a Tablecloth: It’s Easier Than You Think

  1. G Kelly

    An even better way to store tablecloths is to hang them over a length of PVC pipe, which can hang behind clothing in a closet. Cut the PVC pipe to the necessary length, and then add some hanging loops threaded through holes drilled near the ends of the lengths of pipe.

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