Create A Stain Resistant Dining Room

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Your dining room is probably the most elegant room in your home, and serves as a graceful gathering space for family meals and special occasion dinners. Unfortunately, the luxurious fabrics and ornate dining accessories you love to share can all too often be subjected to spills of all kinds.

Because it's a place where people eat and drink in a formal setting, keeping a dining room in pristine condition is challenging. With a little planning on your part, however, you can create a truly stain resistant dining room.

Easy-Clean Seating

Dining room chairs can take a beating, especially if you have young children. To protect your chairs from stains, here are a few easy options:

  • Chair covers: Attractive covers protect your valuable chairs and many can be tossed in the washing machine if they get soiled. You can find chair covers in colors and styles to fit in with your dining room.
  • Fabric-free chairs: Fine wooden chairs, when well oiled and finished can be quickly wiped clean when spills occur.
  • Stain-resistant fabric: You can wipe away most spills without any stains setting in if the fabric on your chairs is stain resistant.

Unfortunately, some stain resistant fabric contains chemicals that may be dangerous to your health. If you're concerned about the safety of certain stain resistant fabrics, another alternative is to stain-guard your chairs yourself. Commercial sprays are available that will safely stain-guard cotton or polyester blend chair fabric.

Keep in mind that stain-guard sprays are not effective on microfiber, which is already stain resistant. Leather chairs are best protected by treatment with the leather conditioner recommended by the manufacturer.

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Protecting Your Dining Room Table

Whatever food and drinks you serve at your dining room table are eventually bound to spill. Whether you've chosen a table made of deep rosewood, sunny maple or perhaps a Nordic teak, you'll want to protect your investment. The best way to start is by keeping fine woods well oiled and conditioned so that any unwanted spills that reach them won't penetrate.

Even with the best-conditioned wood, most people wouldn't go without some sort of protective table covering during a meal. You may want to try:

  • Glass or plastic toppers: A sheet of glass or plastic with polished edges, custom cut for your table, gives you an easy-to-clean surface and still allows you to see the color and grain of your tabletop. Many people also like to use these toppers to protect valuable heirloom tablecloths.
  • Placemats: Placemats compliment your color scheme and bring your room together. More importantly, they help keep the area around each place setting protected from spills. Placemats can be used over a bare table, tablecloth, or a glass or plastic topper.
  • Tablecloths: Depending on the occasion, you may prefer cloth, vinyl, disposable or one of the new treated cloth varieties that wipes clean like plastic.
  • Table pads: These provide an extra layer of protection for your fine wood, in case spills get through your tablecloth.

Keeping Your Dining Room Floors Clean

The law of gravity dictates that the final resting place for most dining room spills is the floor. The easiest way to keep your dining room floor clean is to choose a hard surface such as wood, laminate or tile for this area so that you can sweep or wipe away spills quickly.

If hard floors aren't an option for you, and your wall-to-wall carpeting isn't stain resistant, you may want to get an inexpensive stain-resistant area rug to keep under your table. Then if the area rug is ruined, you can just replace it. If you have very young children and a carpeted dining room, you may even want to consider a temporary plastic mat under the table.

When All Else Fails: Dealing with Occasional Stains

Stains are bound to happen once in a while, despite your best efforts. Here are some remedies for removing a few of the most stubborn stains from carpet or upholstery:

  • Beets: Mix two cups of cool water with one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. Sponge and blot. If the stain isn't gone after repeating a few times, sponge and blot with a solution of one half of a cup of cool water and one tablespoon of ammonia.
  • Curry: Mix two cups of cool water with one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon of white vinegar. Sponge the solution onto the stain with a white cloth and leave on for half an hour, blotting with a clean white cloth and additional solution every five minutes. Then sponge with cool water and blot. If stain remains, sponge with rubbing alcohol and blot. If it still remains, try one tablespoon of dish liquid and one tablespoon of ammonia in two cups of cool water. Leave on for 30 minutes, blotting every five minutes and then sponging with cold water as in the previous steps.
  • Gravy: Scrape away excess and sprinkle on baking soda or cornstarch. After 15 minutes, vacuum. Then sponge the area with dry-cleaning solution and a clean white cloth. Blot until absorbed and repeat sponging and blotting until stain is gone.
  • Red wine: Blot up as much liquid as you can. Then mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups of cool water for upholstery. For carpet stains, use two cups of warm water, one tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. Sponge solution on with a clean white cloth and blot, repeating this step until the stain is gone. Finish up by sponging with cold water and blotting dry.

The Best of Both Worlds

Your dining room really can be stain resistant and attractive. Taking the time to protect your dining room now will keep it looking like new at all your special dinners for many years to come.

Last Updated: January 18, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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