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How to Get Stains Out of Linen (and Keep Them Smelling Fresh!)

  • The Hate Stains Co.
  • 6 min read

For as long as we’ve had sentience, we’ve had stains. It just comes with the territory. Whether you’re eating spaghetti on a white tablecloth, or eating spaghetti on your bed because you live in a box of an apartment with no table, or eating spaghetti using your linens as a plate, stains will come. That’s just a fact. 

Most people make a half-assed attempt at removing stains before giving up and deciding that the stain lives with them now and forever - but we here at Hate Stains, well, hate stains. And we’re here to say that you don’t have to live with stains like a bad roommate anymore. We’re pros at the art of linen stain removal, and we’re finally ready to spill our secrets. 

So listen closely, he/she/they who hath been plagued with stains, because we’re going to show you how to get stains out of linen using some non-toxic, safe products. Not only that, but we’re going to show you how to keep your linens smelling lovely. 

clean linen sheets on bed after having stains removed

Do Linen Sheets Stain Easily?

Uh-Hyup! They sure do! It’s weird that you’re even asking, given that you’re on this blog to find out how to get stains out of linen

Some linen sets can be marketed as stain-resistant, but the reality is, no cloth fabric is truly stain proof. Accidents happen, and it’s better to be safe than stain-ridden - so take some time and stock up on the linen stain removal products we’re about to talk about! 

From red wine stain removers to food stain removers to emergency stains on the go, we’re going to learn all the best tips to keep your linens crisp, clean, and cozy.

getting stains out of linen sheets for bed

How to Get Stains Out of Linen

The age-old question. Let’s get into it by dividing it up into the specifics, because as we all know, not every linen is created equal. There are home remedies as well as products built for this exact thing, so let’s get into both! 

Home Remedies for Different Stains

Just as not every linen is equal, the same goes for stains. When it comes to home remedies, different stains require different solutions!

While stain removers are a little more all-encompassing (and require less work for more result), sometimes you need a speedier solution. If you’re looking to get rid of a stain ASAP and are in need of a quick fix for your linen stain removal needs, try these solutions with products you may be able to find around the house:

1. For Pen Stains: Hair Spray & A Towel

This is a method everyone should know, and yet no one does except me and the blog I read just now. All you need to do is hold the stain against a towel, and spray it closely from behind with some aerosol hairspray. The stain will transfer to the towel, and bam! Clean linens.

2. For Grease Spots: Laundry Detergent & Hot Water

Slightly more difficult method for linen stain removal, but doable. You’ll want to pre-treat the stain by first laying on top of some paper towels and scrubbing it with laundry detergent. Let it dry and change out the paper towels occasionally, and then toss your linens in the laundry using the hottest water that’s safe for your fabrics.

3. For Red Wine: Salt or Club Soda & Cool Water 

Find the nearest salt shaker (trust me on this). Cover the stain with salt. If the stain is dry, use club soda. Rinse with cool water. 

4. For Dairy: Enzyme Products

Dairy can be quite icky if left untreated. Soak your fabric in any fluid with enzymes in it for at least 30 minutes. If it’s an aged stain, make it a few hours. Toss it in the laundry and you’re milk-free! 

how to get stains out of linen

 The Best Stain Removers for Different Stains

Home remedies can be great, but they don’t always work. If you’re looking for real results from a reliable source that works on more than 1 kind of stain, you’re in luck: these are some of thebest stain removers for linen out there: 

1. The Best Remover for Red Wine: The Chateau Spill Red Wine Remover

For those looking to learnhow to get stains out of linen that has been through a few too many parties, this red wine remover is perfect. It even comes in the form of wipes! What’s more, it also works for almost all general household stains! 

Prep your fabric by removing any excess fluid and moisten the area. Apply the remover to the area (repeat as needed), rinse, and toss in the laundry. The sooner the better! 

2. The Do-it-All Solution for Parents:Miss Mouth’s Messy Eater Stain Treater

This non-toxic formula is perfect for the whole fam. Whether it’s food stains from that lil’ messy eater, or more unsavory stains from a diaper accident, this stain treater is a parent must-have.

Prep the fabric (as mentioned above), moisten, apply the remover (repeat as needed), rinse, and toss in the laundry. Bing bang boom. 

3. For For Surprise Fabric Stains: The Emergency Stain Rescue Bottle

That big meeting with the boss or CEO or whatever is coming up, and..uh-oh. There’s a massive stain on your shirt from the beef tongue pho you ate for lunch earlier. What’s a corporate worker to do??

Try out this emergency stain remover, that’s what! This is perfect for linen stain removal in a rush, and works instantly. Just moisten the area, apply, and repeat as needed. Toss the shirt in the laundry when you get home for a bonus clean. 

4. For Road Trip Mishaps: Road Spill On-the-Go Stain Removal Wipes

Nothing more gross than a lingering spill in the car on your way to Disneyworld or Coachella or Burning Man or whatever you’re on your way to. These handy stain removal wipes are perfect for on-the-road messes. Just moisten the area with water and wipe your stress (and stains) away. Pure bliss. 

How to Remove Stains from a Linen Tablecloth

How to Remove Stains from a Linen Tablecloth

If you’re staring down a stain-ridden tablecloth that really went through it during last night’s dinner party, you’re not alone, and there is a solution.

Learning how to get stains from linen tablecloths is quite easy! There are several ways you can go about it:

  • Home Remedy: Bleach & Water
If you don’t have a stain remover on hand, dilute 1 cup of bleach with 2 cups of water, and let the stained part sit in it for about 5 minutes. Rub the area gently with a cloth, and throw in the laundry.
This remover is a pro at removing stains quickly and thoroughly. Follow the instructions in the section before this for optimal results! 

    How to Clean Stained Vintage Linens

    Unfortunately, vintage linens are pretty fragile, and require softer cleaning agents - we don’t recommend risking burning through your vintage linens with a hardcore stain remover. 

    Instead, we recommend a few squirts of fresh lemon juice, followed by table salt, warm water, and white vinegar. For more intense stains, try dissolving a scoop of laundry detergent, ¾ cup of ammonia, and 1 scoop of an oxidizing cleaner with 1 gallon of hot water. Soak the linens overnight, and wash in the morning. Let them drip dry, don’t risk using a dryer! 

    how to keep linens fresh in storage

    How to Keep Linens Fresh in Storage

    Tired of getting that waft of mildew when you pull your duvet out of storage for winter? Me too. Luckily for both of us, there are so many ways to keep your linens dry and crisp! Here are just a few things you can do:

    • Use Baking Soda
    Place an opened box of baking soda in with your linens. It absorbs smells so well!
    • Add a Scented Sachet
    You can get these on Amazon, but if you’re not feeling the selections, you can also just use a handkerchief that’s been sprayed with the scent of your choice. 
    • Wash Your Linens First
    To learn how to get stains out of linen, you must also learn how often you should clean them. Definitely clean them right before storing them for a long time - those weird smells don’t get any better in a dark storage box. 
    keep your linens smelling fresh by using a scented spray

    How to Keep Bed Linens Smelling Fresh

    This is the section where we use all of the knowledge we’ve learned so far. See? It all ties together! To put it simply: If you want to know how to keep your bed linens smelling fresh, you gotta remove all the stains you can. 

    Stains, as small as they may sometimes be, leave a lasting scent. Thus, the key to fresh bed linens is using stain remover regularly (all of the ones on that link honestly smell great) and washing them at least twice a month. To keep them smelling fresh as a daisy, add a good smelling sachet in with them after you fold them and put them away. It all comes together. Perfect harmony. 

    Final Thoughts About How to Get Stains Out of Linen

    Don’t let small stains make a big impact. We certainly hope this has helped you feel more equipped to handle any stain that comes your way. If you’re interested in our other products, check out our website or read our blog for cleaning tips and tricks! 

    Happy scrubbing!

    Contributing Writer: Aurora Detor