Wine gets spilled on a white linen tablecloth. A new deodorant leaves marks on your favourite linen dress. Little Jack runs and trips over, gifting you bright green grass stains on the knees of his linen pants.
You don’t have to get upset thinking that the beloved linen item is ruined forever.
Or that your evening is wasted, having to spend hours in an attempt to get the stain out.
We made this in-depth linen care guide for removing any and all stains. So that you can stay calm the next time an accident happens, knowing the exact steps to take.
A few reminders
Linen fabric is strong; it won’t weaken after frequent usage and washes. In fact, it will only get more beautiful and softer with every wash. However, respect that pure linen is a natural fabric and it should be treated as such.
So, remember to:
Avoid using any harsh chemicals on linen. Never use chlorine bleach.
Avoid washing linen in very hot water, and tumble-drying it on a hot setting.
For more guidance on how to wash, dry, iron, and store your linen, read the comprehensive linen care guide here.
First things first - examine the stain closely.
Next - act quickly! If possible, get to removing the stain immediately. Try not to let the stain sit too long and soak deep into the fibres.
Also, remember to follow any available care labels.
Try pouring a little club soda on the stain.
Plunge the spoilt linen item immediately into cold water. Wash and rinse.
Many stains can be removed by being soaked in a non-biological solution overnight.
Gin or vodka – these colourless spirits dissolve stains immediately.
Nature is the best bleacher. Utilise the sunshine by hanging white tablecloths on a line or laying them down outside on a sheet after washing; this will do a beautiful job of lightening yellow stains.
Launder in the hottest water safe for the fabric (40°C for coloured linen, 60°C for pure white linen). Avoid using soap as it could make this type of stain permanent. Soak in a solution of water and non-chlorine powdered bleach. Line dry in the sun. Bear in mind that if all sugars from the drink aren’t removed, a brown stain will appear when the fabric is ironed, as the sugar caramelizes in the heat.
While holding the ink stain against a towel, spray closely from behind with aerosol hair spray. The ink should transfer to the towel.
Soak in cool water. Rewash with a stain remover. Launder using oxygen bleach.
Immediately rinse with cold water. For dried stains, soak in warm water with a product containing enzymes. Launder it.
Using the dull side of a knife, scrape off as much of the wax as possible. Then cover the wax with absorbent paper and iron it on a medium setting, changing out the paper until the wax is gone.
Some hair and skin products, such as toothpaste or acne lotions that contain oxidizing agents, may discolor colored sheets and towels. When using such products, it is safest to sleep on white linens.
Prewash with a product containing enzymes in warm water or treat with a prewash stain remover. Launder.
Coffee, Tea, Soda
Rub the stain with a liquid detergent and launder in the hottest water safe for the fabric, or soak in a solution of water and non-chlorine powdered bleach.
Collar, Cuff Soil
Prewash with a stain remover, a liquid laundry detergent, or a paste of granular detergent and water. Launder.
Prewash with a stain remover, a liquid laundry detergent, or a paste of granular detergent and water, or rub with a bar of soap. Launder.
Soak in a product containing enzymes for at least 30 minutes, or even a few hours for aged stains. Launder.
Pretreat with a liquid laundry detergent. Launder it. For heavy stains pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Launder using an oxygen bleach.
Soak in a product containing enzymes. Launder.
Rinse with cool water.
Soak in a product containing enzymes. If the stain persists, launder using an oxygen bleach.
Grease Spots, Oil
Pretreat with a prewash stain remover or a liquid laundry detergent. For heavy stains, place the stain face down on a clean paper towel. Apply a cleaning agent to the back of the stain. Replace paper towels under the stain frequently. Let it dry, rinse and launder using the hottest water safe for the fabric.
Lay the fabric against a towel, the stain side down, then spray the fabric closely from behind with an aerosol hair spray. The ink should transfer to the towel. Or use an ink eradicator on undyed, untreated linen.
Lemon, Lime Juice, Vinegar
Rinse immediately with cool water.
On pure linen, rub with a little salad oil to dissolve lipstick, then launder to remove oil.
Rinse with cool water, never use hot water.
Badly mildewed fabrics may be beyond repair. Try soaking in oxygen bleach and hot water. Then launder.
Use a prewash stain remover or rub with a bar of soap. If the color of the fabric has changed, apply ammonia to a fresh stain, white vinegar to the old stain, and rinse. Launder using the hottest water safe for the fabric.
Cover with salt if the stain is fresh, then rinse with cool water. If the stain has dried, try using club soda.
Bleach will make the rust stain permanent. Remove the stain with repeated applications of lemon juice and salt. Do not allow the fabric to dry between applications.
Soak in oxygen bleach and hot water. Then launder.
Soak the item overnight in a solution of tepid water and non-chlorine powdered bleach and place it outside in the sun for the whole day.
Scrape any residue from the fabric. Place the stain face down on a paper towel. Pat using a sponge soaked in cleaning fluid. Replace towels frequently. Launder in the hottest water safe for the fabric.
Tomato, Tomato Juice
Rinse with cool water.
Use club soda.
We hope this extensive guide will have your back when an accident happens.
And if you’re dealing with a stain that’s not listed here, shoot us an email and we’ll be happy to help you find the best solution.
So that your beloved keepsake linens live happily in your home for years to come, stain-free!