How to Clean a Vinyl Tablecloth

Vinyl tablecloths used to have the reputation of looking flimsy, but today you can buy more substantial, attractive ones.

You'll find everything from solids to checks to wedding designs to football themes (see Resources). Best of all, these tablecloths are inexpensive and easy to clean.

When spills occur, wipe your tablecloth with a sponge or cloth and soapy water--dishwashing detergent does fine. If the spill is greasy (think pasta sauce), try to clean it up right away so there's less chance of staining.

If a greasy stain persists, rub undiluted liquid dish detergent right into the spot. If the tablecloth is white, rub bleach onto the stain.

Read the manufacturer's directions. If your tablecloth is washable, put it in your washing machine at the recommended temperature. (Some people wash their tablecloth in a laundry bag to protect it.) If directions permit, put the tablecloth in the dryer, too, but be sure to use the "cool" setting.

Warning

  • Don't continuously leave a vinyl tablecloth on a wood table--it can harm the finish.

About the Author

Barbara Dunlap is a freelance writer in Oregon. She was a garden editor at "The San Francisco Chronicle" and she currently specializes in travel and active lifestyle topics like golf and fitness. She received a master's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has been a Knight Foundation Fellow.