How do I wash this thing? Should I wash it? What happens if my kid spills Kool-Aid on it?
When you order a tablecloth or table runner from me, I’ve already taken preventative measures to help the ink set. I wash, dry, and press the fabric before I letter it. Then, after I letter it, I set the ink with an iron again. Finally, I spray a matte finish on the runner to prevent yellowing and give an added coat of protection from fading.
So, once you get it home, here are some things you can do to properly care for your new table runner and/or tablecloth:
Spot clean as a first defense.
When you spot clean, make sure the cleaner doesn’t have any kind of alcohol or bleach in it. Alcohol will cause the ink to run and bleach would change the color of the ink and lighten the fabric.
If Disaster Strikes (i.e. Kool-Aid)
Use a stain stick on the stain or some Blue Dawn (my stain remover of choice). Wash it in cold with regular detergent and air dry it. You can iron it after drying it. If you like, you can get a can of this Krylon Matte Finish and spray it again. It’s the only product I’ve come across so far that helps add a protective layer, but doesn’t compromise the texture of the fabric. (I bought this at Micheal’s.)
What Not To Do (And, It Doesn’t Matter that Much)
I made my first tablecloth five years ago. I didn’t wash or press the fabric before I lettered it. I didn’t iron it after I lettered it. I washed it and dried it on my regular heat setting. Essentially, I did nothing to protect it.
I still use the tablecloth on my table every Christmas season. The ink faded some, but overall, I think it’s held up great since I did nothing to protect it. I would go take a picture of it, but it’s in my attic. And my attic is hot. Just trust me, I still use it every holiday season.
Other Things Worth Knowing
Canvas drop cloth gets softer every time you wash it. It still sets a pretty table, and it still looks great with the lettering, but the fabric will feel different.
I’m exploring dry cleaning as an option, but I think most people want home care techniques first. I’ve also know of one client who purchased thick plastic vinyl from Walmart. It’s great quality and protects the tablecloth with no worries of stains.
Feel free to ask any questions or offer any tips to me. Thanks!