How To Clean Polyester Tablecloths

Posted in: Quick Tips

Polyester tablecloths are the industry standard when it comes to rental linens. Cotton simply isn’t durable enough, silk can’t withstand commercial use, and linen is an expensive option when you need to protect your business’ bottom line.

While polyester continues to be the material of choice for banquet tablecloths and napkins, it’s important to know how to properly care for your collection to ensure you get plenty of use out of them. Proper care goes beyond merely washing and folding tablecloths. It means you need to know how much heat to use when drying, if you can iron them, caring for ragged hems, folding vs. rolling when storing them in between events, and more.

It might sound like a tall order, but caring for polyester linens is actually fairly easy. Here are some industry-proven tips that will help you determine the best way to extend the life of your polyester tablecloths.

You have two options when it comes to washing polyester tablecloths: you can do it yourself, or you can send them out to be professionally laundered.

It simply comes down to whether you have the equipment, time, and resources to launder them yourself or if you prefer to add the cost of having a third party wash them for you. Either way, here are some things you need to keep in mind.

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Many rental businesses wash their own linens with a standard washing machine. If you don’t have a gigantic stock of linens that are being used regularly (like a mega-hotel or regional party rental company might), this option will likely be the most cost-effective way to take care of your inventory.

Polyester tablecloths can be washed in a standard washing machine in cold water with regular detergent. Luckily, polyester is engineered to hold colors better than many other materials, so you won’t need to worry about fading for a long, long time if you follow these tips. For white polyester tablecloths, a small amount of bleach may be used when necessary. Take care not to overfill the washing machine to ensure the entire tablecloth gets cleaned.

To dry, use low heat (180 degrees F or cooler) on the permanent press setting. You may also want to include a small damp cloth to help avoid most wrinkles. You may also want to dry tablecloths individually (since the dryer cycle tends to be shorter than the wash cycle, this shouldn’t add a significant amount of time to your process).

Wrinkles might happen, but polyester is specifically used for its stain- and wrinkle-resistant qualities. That doesn’t mean they’re stain- or wrinkle-proof — simply that the material minimizes the effects of both. If wrinkles do occur, you can use a steam cleaner or iron on low heat (no hotter than 320 degrees F) to smooth them out before folding them for storage. By using the permanent press dry setting and immediately removing them from the dryer when the cycle is complete, you should be able to avoid most wrinkle-causing scenarios.

Caution: if you do use a mix of cotton and polyester tablecloths, do not wash them together.

If you decide to send your polyester tablecloths to a professional dry cleaner, you pretty much don’t need to worry about anything!

When scouting out a potential new professional linen cleaner for your business, be sure to ask:

  • What’s their turnaround time
  • What’s the price per tablecloth (so you can tack that on to your rental fee)
  • What type of cleaning chemicals do they use
  • Any other questions you’d like to know before using them

We recommend sending over a small test batch of polyester tablecloths before using anyone regularly. The upside to sending your banquet linens out to be cleaned is that you don’t have to deal with any stress or time of doing it yourself. However, the downside is that you put control of your inventory in someone else’s hands. Be sure to have some plans in place for if there is damage, if they are late delivering some of your linens, or any other issue that you can think of. The better prepared you are, the fewer issues you’ll have in the future.

Finding banquet table linens for sale is easy, and making sure they stay in good condition can be easy too. Just use these expert tips on caring for your polyester tablecloths and you should be able to get many years of good use out of them!


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September 3, 2019
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