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How to Dye a Tablecloth

Linda Shepard

A stained tablecloth can be successfully dyed to hide the stain with a careful dying process that ensures no bleeding or fading. Dying a white or light-colored tablecloth will help conceal any future food stains while adding a punch of color to the dining room or kitchen.

A tablecloth can be dyed to match any decor.

A collection of mismatched cloth napkins and tablecloths can also be unified with a dye process. With dye, you’ll create an eco-friendly coordinated table linen selection that eliminates paper napkins and tablecloths, ready for your next dinner party.

  1. Wash the tablecloth in hot water with 1/4 cup laundry soap in the washing machine to remove any dirt or grease. Do not dry the tablecloth.

  2. Place 1 tablespoon of fabric dye into the plastic bucket. Add 1/2 tablespoon soda ash and 1/6 cup salt to the dye. Slowly pour in six cups of boiling water and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the dye, ash and salt has thoroughly dissolved.

  3. Put on the rubber gloves and place the wet tablecloth in the dye bath. Swish the tablecloth in the dye bath for five minutes to make sure the dye is evenly distributed. Swish the tablecloth in the dye bath for five minutes every 15 minutes for an hour. Let the tablecloth sit in the dye bath for two hours.

  4. Gently twist the tablecloth to wring the tablecloth and remove the excess water. Lay the tablecloth flat outside on clean grass or on a covered and protected flat surface indoors. Let the tablecloth dry for 24 hours or until it is completely dry.

  5. Wash the tablecloth in the washing machine with 1 tablespoon laundry detergent and 1 tablespoon fabric softener. Dry the tablecloth in the dryer, with the heat setting on hot.

  6. Tip

    Cotton, linen or silk tablecloths will absorb dye the best, but synthetic fabric tablecloths can also be successfully dyed with this method.