Although lace tablecloths are not as popular as they once were, they are still used by some for special occasions. Cleaning lace, however, can be a difficult task if the type of lace is not known, if it is badly stained or torn or if it is unusually delicate. There are, therefore, several different methods to choose from based on the type and condition of the lace being cleaned.
Cleaning Plastic Lace Tablecloths
Wipe off the plastic lace with plain soap and water whenever possible. Clean only when necessary.
Soak plastic tablecloths in a sink or tub of regular water at medium temperature. Do not put soap into the water. Let it sit for between one and three hours.
Work out any remaining stains by gently using regular soap and a sponge. Change the water as many times as necessary to complete the cleaning process.
Rinse the plastic thoroughly. Make certain all of the soap is removed.
Push excess liquid out rather than wringing, which could destroy the lace work.
Lay the cloth out flat to dry or hang to prevent wrinkling. It is very hard to remove wrinkles from plastic.
Cleaning Delicate or Vintage Lace
Soak the lace in a sink or tub filled with distilled water and a small amount of presoaking detergent made for delicate fibers (such as Woolite). Replace the water every six hours and continue soaking for up to one full day.
Launder the cloth by hand using a detergent acceptable for delicate fabrics. Squeeze or press the lace to cleanse it. Wringing or twisting could damage it.
Rinse the tablecloth thoroughly. Push the water out of the lace as done in Step 2.
Place the tablecloth on top of an absorbent fabric and pat the lace as dry as possible. Another option is to roll it up into the fabric and press out excess water.
Allow to air dry inside or hang outside. If drying outside, make sure the lace will not come in contact with direct morning sunlight. Always place a sheet between the line and the lace fabric. The sheet will help deflect direct sun and encourage quicker drying.
Cleaning Stained Lace Tablecloths
Soak white lace for a few hours in sour milk if it needs whitening. Rinse out all of the milk before washing further.
Spray stained tablecloths with a stain remover made especially for delicate fibers following the directions on the product label. Use the directions provided to work the stain lose from the fabric fibers.
Use hairspray to remove ink from lace. Spray it on and immediately blot clean with a fresh, clean white cotton rag.
Remove dye coloring from lace with a dye remover (like that from Ritt), following the product instructions. While this is OK for most laces, it is not recommended for vintage pieces.
Use a 50/50 diluted bleach solution dabbed on with a cotton ball to remove stubborn stains only if not getting the stain out means the piece will be thrown away. Since it's a last chance resort, there is nothing to lose.
Cleaning Modern Lace Tablecloths
Treat fresh stains with a stain remover made for delicate fibers. Gently blot the stains away with regular water and a towel.
Put the tablecloth into a lingerie bag. If more than one piece is being cleaned at the same time, use a different bag for each cloth.
Wash on delicate cycle in lukewarm to cool water. Use only detergents made for delicate fibers (such as Woolite). A fabric softener can be used in the rinse cycle if desired.
Tumble dry on a cool setting. You can use a sheet of fabric softener if desired.
Remove the tablecloth as soon as it is dry. Fold it immediately to prevent wrinkling.