How to Steam a Large Tablecloth Upright

Getting ready for a large family dinner takes a lot of preparation, including the immaculate table covered in delicious food and wines. It all starts with the table and the first step to a huge family dinner success is the presentation of it all. You have washed and dried your family heirloom and now it's time to put the final touches on that beautiful tablecloth that showcases it all.

Things You'll Need

  • Steamer machine
  • Clothes pins
  • Bar or pole

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Find a long bar or pole that is slightly longer than your tablecloth at the widest point. Suspend it between two beams in an unfinished basement ceiling. Use your closet clothes-hanging pole instead, if you do not have an unfinished basement. Clean out a closet and put all your hung up clothes on the bed for the time being. Consider another option if you have too many clothes or your closet space is too small. Suspend your pole between two large opposing shelves. Be sure the pole is supported enough to handle the weight of your tablecloth, whichever way you choose to do it.

Fold one end of your tablecloth over the pole or beam. Use as many clothes pins as possible to secure it so it doesn't fall onto the floor as soon as the steam hits it.

Start your steamer at the top of your hanging tablecloth. Keep it about 4 inches from the fabric so you do not get it too wet or burn delicate fibers. Go slowly, one wrinkle at a time so you do not skip any.

Move the steamer wand in the direction of top to bottom. Repeat this pattern after moving the steamer wand over to a new section of wrinkled fabric. Repeat until the entire tablecloth is smooth and wrinkle free.

Use one hand behind the fabric to guide it and hold it into place as you move the steamer wand. Keep your steamer moving constantly, so you do not burn your fabric or your hand.

Remove the clothes pins and touch up any wrinkles that may have been put back into the fabric from maneuvering it.

Tips & Warnings

  • If clothes pins do not fit around your bar or pole, try draping the fabric in half and steam each half one at a time. Pull the middle part down a little on one side and hold the short side with one hand while steaming the wrinkles in the middle.
  • If you own an old antique table cloth that has been passed down for many generations, it may be in your best interest to retire it to a cedar chest. This is especially true for lace, because it does have a tendency to turn yellow and deteriorate over time, therefore you should not steam it.
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