Your Ultimate Guide to Removing Stains from Restaurant Tablecloth

Your Ultimate Guide to Removing Stains from Restaurant Tablecloth

You should be able to enjoy your dinner party or restaurant without the worry of one of your guests spilling red wine, grease or any other stain that refuses to budge from your expensive luxury linen tablecloth.

As linen is so delicate, it can sometimes be tough to remove stains. Here is your ultimate guide to removing stains from your restaurant tablecloth so you can get back to enjoying your dinner party or running your restaurant.

What are the toughest stains to remove?

When you notice one of your guests has spilt tomato sauce or red wine on one of your elegant, expensive tablecloths, it is common to assume that the tablecloth is permanently ruined and can no longer be used again.

However, by following these tips, your tablecloth stands a much better chance of surviving and being back to its former, crisp white state.

Here are the toughest stains and how to remove them:


When running a stylish fine-dining restaurant, it’s not uncommon for guests to dress up in pearls, diamonds, elegant dresses and of course, a touch of red lipstick to finish off the look.

However, once your stylish guests have finished eating, you might find that they wipe the food from their mouth onto a luxurious linen tablecloth or napkin, taking that ruby red lipstick off with it and onto the linen too. While lipstick is a difficult stain to remove, it is not impossible.

How to remove lipstick stains

To remove a lipstick stain from your tablecloth and napkin, simply saturate the spot with hairspray then leave for about 10 minutes, then damp with a damp cloth or sponge to remove the stain.

After this, pop it in your normal wash (if machine washable) and the stain should be gone!


What stylish guest is complete without a layer of mascara to complete their look?

Mascara is another common stain in restaurants because it’s one of those universal cosmetic products that everyone wears. Guests will often use napkins or tablecloths to dab their eyes to correct their makeup at a restaurant, leaving a dark, tough stain which is tough to remove.

How to remove mascara stains

Here are some tips for getting mascara out of your tablecloths:

  • Start with stain remover - Mascara is often made from different types of wax and oils, so treat that aspect of the product first by working a stain remover into the mascara mark with a soft-bristle brush or a finger. Let the stain remover sit on the mark for at least 15 minutes or so.
  • Rinse - Rinse the soiled area of the fabric in hot water, until the stain is gone or until the water runs clear of detergent and colour.
  • Wash it - Toss the item of clothing into the wash in the hottest water suitable for the garment.
  • Do not tumble dry - Once washed, check that the mascara stain has been removed. If you’re unsure – do not tumble dry the garment as this can set the stain. Air dry instead.
  • Repeat - If the stain is still present, repeat the process again. If the fabric is colour-safe, you can try treating the stain with a colour-safe laundry bleach and water mixture before washing again.

Nail varnish

Typically not as common in a restaurant but notoriously difficult to remove, nail varnish contains various chemicals which harden the fabric when dry, making it one of the toughest stains to get rid of.

How to remove nail varnish stains

Try to scrape away as much of the nail varnish as possible with your fingernail and use an acetate-based nail varnish remover and gently dab with a cotton bud from the outside of the nail varnish, trying not to soak the fabric (or the colour will be removed too).

If this doesn’t work, it is best to take it to a laundry company to have the stain professionally removed.

Tomato sauce

One of the most common stains in a restaurant is tomato sauce. Whether you own an Italian restaurant serving spaghetti bolognese and tomato pizza, or a Mexican with tomato-filled burritos, tomato is a key ingredient that is used by many different cuisines.

Chances are you have experienced a tomato stain on your shirt or spilt some tomato sauce on a tablecloth. The tomato sauce is one of the hardest stains to remove because of the grease and oil that come along with the mix.

Luckily, there are many different solutions which effectively lift tomato stains from tablecloths.

How to remove tomato sauce stains

Here are some ways to remove tomato sauce stains from your tablecloth:

Scape the sauce off the fabric - As quickly as possible, remove the sauce from the surface of the fabric without pushing it further in. You can use a paper towel or a napkin to wipe the tomato sauce off the fabric. Sponge the stain with cool water - Work outwards with your sponge from the centre of your stain. Apply lemon or lime juice to the stain - Either sponge the stain with lemon juice or use a slice of lemon and rub the stain with it. If the fabric is white, you can use white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain instead of lemon juice. Use a stain remover on the stain - Find a stain-removing stick, spray or gel and apply it to the stain. Let the stain remover sit for 15 minutes. Flush the stain and check to see if it’s still there - On the back of the stain, run cool water through the fabric. Hold the fabric up to the light to see if the stain is still there. Soak the stain if it is still there - Soak the fabric for 30 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar, ½ teaspoon dishwashing detergent and warm water. Rinse the fabric with water and dry it in the sun - Hang the material in direct sunlight with the stain side facing out. Wash the fabric - Follow the care instructions for the fabric, and wash as normal.

If this doesn’t work, it is best to take it to a laundry company to have the stain professionally removed.


Crayons and colouring books are commonly offered as a source of entertainment for children in restaurants. However, children are known to be messy and often end up colouring on the actual tablecloth itself, instead of a colouring book.

How to remove crayon stains

To remove the stain, grab an old toothbrush and ‘brush’ the crayon stain well – it will break up the stain. Soak in undiluted vinegar for 30 minutes or so, and wash as normal.

Blood stains

Skinned knees, bloody noses and shaving nicks are all common unexpected blood stains which can end up on your favourite tablecloths. The key is to get the stain out as soon as possible as dried blood can leave a mark. 

How to remove blood stains

Luckily as a restaurant owner, you most likely own one of the best and most effective blood removers: white vinegar. Simply soak the stain for five to ten minutes in a mixture of 250mls of vinegar and 500ml warm water and dab the blood away.

Red wine

Red wine is one of the most popular drinks for a fine dining experience due to the elegance and luxury it exudes. With lots of your guests drinking red wine, you might find it is one of the most common stains your tablecloth will receive (especially if your guests have had more than one!).

How to remove red wine stains

Simply pour some vinegar directly onto the red wine spot. Then squeeze some liquid laundry detergent onto the same area and gently rub it in. Afterwards, wash everything in hot water.

If this doesn’t work, it is best to take it to a laundry company to have the stain professionally removed.


Coffee is another popular drink enjoyed by guests. While coffee can be difficult to remove, it is best to act quickly as dried coffee is much harder to get rid of.

How to remove coffee stains

First, gently blot the stain and then dab it with a mix of warm water, dish soap and white vinegar.

London Linen Dry Cleaning Services: Expert Laundry Service

If you are looking for luxury, durable and high-quality linen to enhance your restaurant, then look no further than London Linen.

At London Linen, we offer a range of chefs wear, napkins and linen tablecloth rental services to an array of restaurants from casual dining to fine dining. We also offer laundry services to ensure your linen is kept crisp and clean for your guests.

If you are looking for the number one restaurant linen hire in London, then contact us here today for more information.

Quote Enquiry

Contact us today to make an enquiry about kitchen linen hire in London or restaurant and table linens services. As the most reliable dry cleaning services in London, we can help you achieve your best.

Phone 020 8574 5569 Email Get a quote

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