How to Get Grease Stains Out of Tablecloths

how to get grease stains out of tablecloths

Grease is an unavoidable factor in restaurant tablecloth management. It stains quickly and can be near-impossible to completely remove. Good thing Coast Linen Services is familiar with this blemish, and knows how to deal with it! Here are the best ways to get grease stains out of tablecloths: 

(Skip to Steps for Grease Removal from Restaurant Tablecloths)


Before we get into tablecloth care and provide you with the magic tips to end your grease stain frustration, let’s first go over what exactly a grease stain is and why it’s so hard to get out! The difference between grease stains and other stains you’ve likely dealt with such as wine stains is that grease stains are oil-based whereas a wine stain is water-soluble.

Oil simply is not water-soluble. So when your customers spill fatty foods such as gravy, butter, or, well, oil, on your tablecloths, water is not going to pick the grease up off the fabric.

“Removed” Stains Might Not Be Completely Gone


Have you noticed yellow circles starting to show up on your tablecloths? Those aren’t new. Those are showing up from grease that has already been there for quite awhile. Gross, right?

So it’s essential to know how to get grease stains out of tablecloths. Otherwise, you’ll serve food to customers on nasty-looking linens or have to throw out your tablecloths and purchase new ones quite often.

Your first thought may be to just get rid of your tablecloths altogether. But don’t give up on tablecloths just yet. They provide a great ambiance for your restaurant and are more comfortable than the hard surface of a wood, metal or glass table. So before you nix tablecloths from your lineup of restaurant linens, consider these following tips on how to get grease stains out of tablecloths:

1. Act right away.

The longer you let the stain set, the harder it is going to be to remove. Between customers, change out your tablecloths and follow these next steps to immediately get out any potential stains.

2. Remove any food particles.

When picking off any remnants of food, make sure that you don’t smudge any into the tablecloth, causing worse staining.

3. Apply powder to the stain.

“Powder” can be baking soda, flour, or cornstarch. Their absorbing powers will help pick up some of the oil.  Apply generously and let sit for one hour.

4. Brush off powder.

After an hour of setting, remove the powder with a clean cloth.

5. Soak.

Fill up a bucket with warm to hot water and dish liquid. Fill the bucket with an appropriate temperature of water based on the type of tablecloth you are washing. Add in dish liquid and let your tablecloth soak in this solution for one hour.


6. Rinse.

Simply rinse the dish liquid out of the tablecloth.

7. Dry and Check.

Wetness on tablecloths can conceal stains. Wait for it to dry completely before evaluating whether enough soaking has been done. If the stain persists, try again with higher water temps, longer soak times, greater detergent concentrations, or even consider methods we recommend for dealing with smelly restaurant uniforms.

Or Have Your Restaurant Tablecloths Professionally Cleaned

In a restaurant, tablecloth grease stains are a regular occurrence, and the above process will likely be too time-consuming to address every stain with. When multiple tablecloths need deep cleaning on a daily basis, it just makes financial sense to hire a professional linen service. Coast Linen Services provides tablecloth cleaning and rental services to restaurants throughout New Jersey and New York. Improve worker efficiency, customer comfort and satisfaction, linen quality, and your bottom line with a phone call to us!

Contact us today at 732-775-2000 for a free quote on our linen or laundry services, or fill out the form below. We look forward to connecting! 

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