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How To Wash A Burlap Table Runner – 2 Methods

Burlap table runners can make for beautiful table runners, especially with rustic and traditional decor styles. But like all fabric table runners, they all need to be washed at some point. But what's the best method to wash them? We've researched a couple of methods that you can use to clean your burlap table runners, and in this post, we will go over them.

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Here are two methods, including the steps, that you can use to wash your burlap table runners:

Method 1. Handwash the table runner:

  1. Place the table runner in a basin or the tub
  2. Add a mild detergent
  3. Gently agitate the table runner
  4. Rinse the table runner
  5. Hang it up to dry

Method 2. Machine-wash the table runner:

  1. Load the table runner
  2. Add laundry detergent
  3. Gently shake the table runner
  4. Hang it up to dry

Burlap table runners, like other burlap accessories and decorations, are made from woven jute fibers. However, because of the limitations with this fiber, it's often combined with polyblends and cotton fabrics to help strengthen it during the cleaning process. Continue reading to learn about the best ways to wash your table runner so that you can help preserve it.

A white burlap table runner decorated with a plate and pumpkins on the table, How To Wash A Burlap Table Runner - 2 Methods

Steps To Wash Burlap Table Runner

It's always best to first look at the care instructions of your burlap table runner before implementing any of the following cleaning methods. Keep in mind that some burlap table runners will be dry clean only, which means that washing them may ruin their stitching, fibers, or shape.

Things you'll need:

  • Mild detergent
  • Warm water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Lint-free cleaning cloth

Aa detailed photo of a burlap table runner

Method 1. Handwash the table runner

1. Place the table runner in a basin or the tub

Take your table runner and place it in the kitchen sink or a large basin. You can also wash the table runner in the tub if it's too big for the sink. Next, fill the sink, basin, or tub with lukewarm water. Be sure that the water fill line is above the table runner, as you want it to be completely submerged in the water.

Check out this cleaning basin on Amazon.

2. Add a mild detergent

Next, pour about two to four tablespoons of laundry detergent in the sink as the water is running. If you have a table runner that's on the larger side, you may want to use four tablespoons. If it's only three to four feet long, a couple of tablespoons should suffice.

Read more about this Tide laundry detergent on Amazon.

3. Gently agitate the table runner

Turn off the water once the water reaches just above the top of the table runner. Next, push the runner down into the water with your hand so that it is completely submerged, making sure that all of the edges are in the water as well.

Next, squeeze the table runner with your hands and gently agitate it to loosen up any embedded dirt or debris within the runner's fabric. As you agitate the table runner, be sure to periodically dunk it in the water to help rinse off any dirt. After doing this for about two to three minutes, let the table runners soak anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. If the table runner is especially dirty, you may want to let it soak for about 30 minutes.

4. Rinse the table runner

After allowing the runner to soak, drain the water from the sink or basin. As the water drains, gently squeeze the table runner to get rid of any excess water. Next, refill the sink with lukewarm water to rinse the runner off.

Pay special attention to any creases where dirt may have gathered. Try not to squeeze the runner too tightly, as you don't want to ruin the shape of the fabric. Next, gently shake the table runner for about one to two minutes to remove any wrinkles.

5. Hang it up to dry

Next, place the runner on a flat surface or outside on a laundry line so that it can hang dry. If drying the runner indoors, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated room. If drying it outside, make sure to place the runner in a shaded area. Keep in mind that the table runner may take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to dry completely.

Method 2. Machine-wash the table runner

1. Load the table runner

Start by double-checking the care tag instruction on the table runner to ensure that it is machine washable. Next, load the table runner into the washing machine by itself. Set the washing machine on a delicate setting and set the water to a warm temperature.

When laying the table runner in the washing machine, be sure to lay it so that it wraps around the width of the washing machine, as opposed to being bunched up in one section. This will ensure that it gets a thorough wash.

2. Add laundry detergent

Next, add a mild detergent to the washing machine. Use anywhere from two to four tablespoons of detergent, depending on the size of your table runner. Keep in mind that you won't need as much detergent as you would for a full load of laundry.

Read more about this Arm & Hammer laundry detergent on Amazon.

3. Gently shake the table runner

Once you remove the table runner from the dryer, shake it gently for about one to two minutes to remove any wrinkles. You want the table runner to dry as wrinkle-free as possible.

4. Hang it up to dry

Generally, burlap fabric isn't meant to be machine-dried due to shedding, so you'll likely need to hang-dry the runner. Next, hang the runner on a clothesline or over a chair or two. Also, be sure to hang it in a well-ventilated area or outside in a shaded area.

How Do You Get The Smell Out Of A Burlap Table Runner?

An up close photo of a burlap table runner

Oftentimes burlap fabric can have a unique smell that may be off-putting. However, there are ways to get rid of the smell. Let's take a look at a few common ones.

Sprinkle it with baking soda

Baking soda is one of the most popular all-natural deodorizers that you can purchase for everyday use. Consider giving your table runner a baking soda bath to get rid of the smell. To do this, and the runner to a sink full of lukewarm water and pour in about two to three tablespoons of baking soda. Next, let the runner sit in the solution for about 15 minutes, rinse it off, and hang it dry. 

Find baking soda on Amazon.

Use distilled white vinegar

You can also use distilled vinegar to help rid your table runner of the common burlap smell. To do this, you can simply spray the table runner with a spray bottle full of diluted vinegar and water in a 1:3 ratio solution. Or you can bathe the table runner in diluted vinegar. To do this, fill a sink or tub with warm water and three tablespoons of vinegar. Next, let the table runner sit in the solution for about 10 to 15 minutes. Afterward, rinse the runner and then hang it dry.

Read more about distilled vinegar on Amazon.

How Do You Get Water Stains Out Of Burlap?

You can gently dab the stained area with distilled vinegar to remove the stain. To do this, use a clean lint-free cloth and a diluted vinegar and water solution in a 1:3 ratio. Next, take a hairdryer and dry the wet area by holding the dryer at least six to eight inches from the garment. Be sure to place the dryer on a low setting.

Read more about this Revlon hairdryer on Amazon.

Can Burlap Be Ironed?

Yes, burlap can be ironed. However, the fibers are known to get stuck on the iron, so you'll want to make sure to use a steam setting, Scotchgard, or a soft cloth on top of the fabric when ironing it.

Learn more about Scotchgard on Amazon.

Can You Make Burlap Soft?

The easiest way to make burlap soft is to throw it in the washer with a liquid fabric softener. When washing the garment, be sure to set the machine to the warm water setting on the delicate cycle.

Find this Downy liquid fabric softener on Amazon.

How Do You Keep Burlap From Shedding?

Unfortunately, the makeup of the fabric makes it hard to prevent shedding completely. And the type and brand that you have will determine how much it was, as all burlap isn't created equal. You'll find, however, that higher-quality garments will shed less than others. You can minimize this by using a fabric shaver or lint roller.

Find out more about this fabric shaver on Amazon.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has helped explain the best methods to use to clean burlap table runners. Remember, it's best not to machine dry the table runner as it can cause it to shrink or tear.

Check out our other posts before you go:

11 Stunning Dining Room Table Centerpiece Ideas

How To Hang Curtains On A Sloped Ceiling In 5 Steps