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Washing Linen Tablecloths and Napkins


A beautiful table setting creates a welcoming, special atmosphere for a meal, whether you are entertaining friends or feeding loved ones. The right look can take an ordinary kitchen or dining table to new design heights. From linen tablecloths to linen runners and napkins, linens make the ideal backdrop for food, and you can choose just the right colors to complement your home or tableware.

From a festive Christmas lunch to a cosy weeknight dinner for two, a simple linen tablecloth looks effortlessly stylish. And they are easy to care for too. The same goes for linen napkins, which can cope brilliantly with spills, dabs and splashes.

linen table runner

If you use your table linens frequently (and, of course, we think you should show them off at every possible occasion), they will need regular washing. Vintage linen ware needs careful cleaning,  but contemporary table linens are sturdy and durable, so they can withstand plenty of use and frequent washes. Most can be washed in a machine, but if you want to be extra careful, here's how to hand wash linen tablecloths and linen napkins, so you can create a stunning, simple table setting all year round:

Washing Linen Tablecloths

How to hand wash your linen tablecloths and linen napkins:

  1. Fill a sink or washtub with lukewarm water. Add gentle laundry soap to the water. Check the detergent's label for the exact amount of soap to use. Add a dash of bleach (or eco-friendly alternative) to the water if your linen tablecloth or napkins are white. Agitate the water with your hands.
  2. Place your linen table linen into the washtub. Wash colored and white items separately. Do not try to wash too many items at onece.
  3. Wash your linens with your hands by gently rubbing and squeezing. Do this until the fabric is thoroughly clean.
  4. Drain the water from the washtub or sink. Remove the table linen  and rinse all the soap residue from the washtub.
  5. Fill the washtub or sink with water again and place the linens back in.
  6. Agitate your table linen items in the water to remove all the soap. If the rinsing water becomes soapy, drain and refill the sink with clean water. Rinse items again. All the soap traces must be removed from the linen tablecloths and linen napkins.
  7. Hang carefully or lay the items flat to dry. They can also be dried in a dryer on low temperatures. Do not wring out the linens before drying.

how to wash linen table linen

If you'd rather wash your linen tablecloths and other table linen  in the washing machine, just be sure to use the gentle cycle and a mild laundry detergent. As above, it's important to wash colored and white table linens separately.

For more tips on caring for table linens, read our post on how to iron table linen like a pro.

For more linen care tips visits Houserituals website.

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I'm Inga and this is a space where I celebrate simple, slow living. It's a place to be curious and creative, to share ideas on how to live and work sustainably and mindfully. Being the creative force behind I also write about my love for linen and natural fabrics. Linenbeauty weaves inspiring stories of slow living with interior style features, travel and cookery tips and outfit ideas. Thanks so much for stopping by.