How can I get stains (old and new) out of polyester tablecloths?
April 8, 2011 7:06 AM   Subscribe

How can I get stains (old and new) out of polyester tablecloths? I can't bleach them because they're colored, and I've tried Shout gel as well as making a paste of detergent - the stains remain.
posted by suchatreat to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's going to depend on the type of stains, but in the past I've had good success using liquid dish soap (instead of laundry detergent) with hot water in the washing machine.
posted by doctord at 7:25 AM on April 8, 2011

If it's an organic stain, spit always works because it dissolves with your digestive enzymes. Put spit on stain and use your nail or a brush to gently rub into it, let it sit then keep doing it until gone. If you've already run it through the dryer it may be harder to do.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 7:37 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

If the stain is oily Crisco will often work, as will waterless hand cleaner like mechanics use (like this one) You may be able to use a non-chlorine bleach like Oxy-Clean or Chlorox 2 on it, but test in an inconspicuous place. For protein based stains like blood or grass, something with enzymes in it is a good bet. Wine Away is great for red wine.
posted by TedW at 7:53 AM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Synthetics can be a pain in the ass to stain-treat. Given what you've already tried, I'd do a soak in Oxyclean--my method is to dissolve a few scoops of Oxy powder into the hottest water possible, and then soak the items for as long as possible. If you have a top loading washer, one great way to do this easily is to fill the washer and then simply stop the cycle once it starts agitating, and leave it overnight. Otherwise a utility sink or bucket is fine.

Once you've soaked them, then simply run them through a normal wash cycle.

I thrift/garage/estate sale often and have had pretty good luck getting stains of unknown origin and vintage out of pretty much anything using this method, but there's always one that gets away now and then.
posted by padraigin at 8:06 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For grease stains, I've had good luck with dishwashing detergent, like doctord. I usually apply, rub in, and let it sit at least half an hour before laundering normally. Sometimes it takes more than one round to fade the stain fully.
posted by pie ninja at 8:06 AM on April 8, 2011

Try Zout, it seems to be a miracle worker on stains.
posted by jennstra at 10:59 AM on April 8, 2011

I have noticed repeated washings in oxyclean have eventually removed stains. I double up the recommended amount each time.
posted by andreap at 3:03 AM on April 9, 2011

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