Stain Removal

If given prompt attention, most food stains disappear with ordinary washing. Try a mild liquid detergent with warm to hot water first. If you cannot treat the stain immediately, sponge it with cold water and treat as soon as possible. Many stains present two or more problems; for example, both colour and grease may have to be removed.

NOTE:  Always test colour fastness before proceeding. Love of Linens, nor the providers of this information claim these stain removal procedures will work 100% of the time.

These helpful hints were taken from the book “Linen From Flax to Woven Cloth” by Linda Heinrich, published by Schiffer and were provided by The Irish Linen Guild, Irish Linen Stores and the International Linen Promotion Commission to the author Linda Heinrich for her book.

Alcoholic Beverages

  • Soak or sponge fresh stains immediately with cold water.
  • Rinse with vinegar if the stain persists or alternatively, rub with liquid detergent and wait fifteen minutes, then rinse.
  • One source suggests removing red wine stains with white wine or salt; if the stain has dried, try club soda.

Blood, Meat Juice

  • Scrape off excess.
  • Soak in cool water.
  • Apply powdered pepsin(meat tenderizer) to the stain, keeping the area moist and warm until it can be rinsed out with warm water.
  • Repeat as necessary, particularly on dried or old stains.

Candle Wax

  • Rub with ice cube and scrape off excess wax with a dull knife.
  • Place the cloth between several layers of facial tissues and press with warm iron.
  • Pour boiling water through stained area from the wrong side.
  • If wax dye stains remain, sponge with alcohol.

Chocolate, Gravy, Ketchup

  • Scrape off excess.
  • Soak in cool water then treat as for lipstick.

Coffee or Tea (without cream)

  • Soak fresh stains in cool water.
  • Rub liquid detergent shampoo on spot.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Pour boiling water through the spot from a height of one to three feet.

Coffee or Tea (with cream)

  • Soak in cool water.
  • Rub stained area with glycerine to remove grease.
  • Rinse thoroughly in warm water.
  • Pour boiling water through the spot from a height of one to three feet.


  • Soak in cold water.
  • Wash and rinse.


  • Soak in cool water.
  • Apply liquid detergent shampoo.
  • Wait fifteen minutes and rinse.
  • Repeat if necessary.
  • Hydrogen peroxide or bleach may be used on WHITE or COLOURFAST fabrics. Always test first.
  • Optionally, lemon juice and salt followed with boiling water also removes stains.

Grass Stains

  • Place a pad of cotton under the stain and rub it gently with rubbing alcohol, peroxide or ammonia then wash.

Grease, Oil, Gravy, Butter

  • Talcum powder absorbs excess grease.
  • Use warm thick suds on stains
  • Rub between hands, wash and rinse.

Ink and Rust

  • On white linen, remove with vinegar, salt and lemon juice or citric acid
  • Wash and rinse.


  • Rub stained area with glycerine to  loosen the grease.
  • Then apply liquid detergent shampoo. Wait fifteen minutes and rinse.
  • If lipstick dye remains, pour boiling water through the stained area.


  • Remove mildew as soon as it is discovered.
  • Pre-treat stains with a paste of soap or detergent and chalk. Wash at once.
  • Dry in sun or under a sun lamp.
  • If stains remains, bleach in sun with paste of lemon juice and salt pr sodium perborate bleach.
  • Rinse and thoroughly dry


  • Work glycerine into the stain, rub lightly between hands.
  • Rub soap or detergent into dampened stain and wash.
  • If stain persists, sponge with rubbing alcohol or diluted bleach.


  • Rub a cut onion into the mark.
  • Soak in cold water for an hour before laundering.
  • Bleaching the dry cloth in the sun is also supposed to eliminate scorch marks.

Tomato Juice and Ketchup

  • Sponge thoroughly with cold water.
  • Wash in hot suds and rinse.