This #ProTip comes from Nashville Provider, Kurt Rutkowski.
Many of us get the opportunity to process tablecloths for our clients, however if we do not process them properly they can create a lot of work with little reward. Recently I processed over 600 tablecloths for a client!
So what is the best way to handle tablecloths?
First, we need to determine the fabric so we know how to process them. If they are 100% polyester, it is best to wash them in hot water regardless of the color. Tablecloths are used for food and we need to use hot water in order to kill the bacteria.
Wash like colors. I know this sounds simple, but even though it is polyester, the die can fade, especially in hot water and if a dark color is washed with a light color it will change the color of both.Use bleach with white and light colors. Use peroxide with colors. Peroxide is also called oxygen bleach. brands such as Clorox 2, OxyClean are examples of peroxide.
DO NOT OVERLOAD the washer. Since they are tablecloths we have a tendency to want to overload the washer. I have a commercial Maytag washer with extra large capacity. In the case of rounds, I only load three. If they are banquet tablecloths 52x120 rectangular I will load as many as 5, but no more.
DO NOT OVERLOAD the dryer, especially when you are not ironing the tablecloths. it is really easy to make this mistake. If you overload the washer or dryer the tablecloths will be full of wrinkles and may lead to reprocessing or worse. 100% polyester dries quickly. just dry two to 3 tablecloths at a time and DO NOT LET THEM SIT IN THE DRYER. You need to fold them immediately to avoid wrinkling. Pull one from the dryer and restart your dryer and so on until all are complete.
How should I package tablecloths?
This depends on the client's preference, which makes it a good idea to ASK!! I have found that hanging the tablecloths leads to the least amount of wrinkling. For larger tablecloths you should use a strut or drapery hanger. (A strut hanger has the cardboard on the bottom sometimes referred to as a pant hanger)
If the customer wants the tablecloth folded, fold to their needs. The fewer the folds the better the finish. Every time it is folded it will show as a crease on the table. Generally it's best to complete all the vertical folds, then do the horizontal folds (instead of switching directions from fold to fold).
Lastly, if it is possible, use two people to fold the tablecloth. It will be faster and your folds will be crisper. If this is not possible I recommend using a larger table. I use an 8 foot plastic table. This is the same table I use to fold all of the laundry we process, but in the case of tablecloths, I use the table as my guide.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nashville, TN Laundry Care Provider, Kurt Rutkowski is a laundry industry expert with over 9 years of professional laundry experience. He specializes in efficiency and laundry processing with certifications in Lean Management and 6 Sigma, as well as accreditations from HLAC and PMI. Kurt is also a contributing writer and industry expert to America's Laundry News, Textile Rental Service magazine and The Green Guide of Louisville.