How to Waterproof a Tablecloth

Corey M. Mackenzie

You can easily wash most tablecloths to clean off spills; however, the liquid that seeps through can leave stains on the table beneath the cloth. Waterproofing your tablecloth prevents this, keeping your tables dry and stain-free. Waterproofing can also make tablecloths more stain-repelling, therefore making easier to clean the tablecloths. Its won't take much time to waterproof a tablecloth–and you’ll save yourself effort and worry in the future as you won’t fret about spills so much.

Step 1

Clean the tablecloth well before doing anything else. Waterproofing the tablecloth will hold in dirt and stains that are present on the cloth, so you should remove these first. You can machine-wash most fabric tablecloths, but read the label instructions regarding this. If the tablecloth doesn’t have a label but appears to be cotton or linen, wash it in warm water with a mild detergent and hang it to dry.

Step 2

Choose a day when the weather is mild, with little wind. Take the tablecloth outside, if possible. It’s easiest and less messy to do this outdoors. You can apply waterproofing inside, but be sure your area is well-ventilated so you don’t breathe in fumes from the spray.

Step 3

Hang the tablecloth on a clothesline. If you do not have a clothesline, you can drape the tablecloth over a patio table. Put on rubber gloves and protective eye wear (safety goggles). Since you may get some of the spray on your clothing, you may wish to wear old clothes to do this job.

Step 4

Apply the waterproofing. Read the label on the can of waterproofing spray thoroughly. You may need to shake it before using it. Hold the can several inches away (usually about 6 to 15 inches) from the tablecloth. Starting at one top corner, spray the fabric as evenly as you can, using an up and down motion, to cover the entire tablecloth with the waterproofing spray. Spray both sides of the tablecloth for extra protection.

Step 5

Wait for the amount of time the waterproof spray label indicates and then use a soft cloth to wipe off excess product. Allow the tablecloth to dry for at least 24 hours before using it.