The holidays are here and with them come festive celebrations, and you guessed it, those pesky stains caused by jubilant party goers. It’s inevitable. Someone will spill something. Don’t panic. With a little ingenuity, it’s easy to eliminate spots and drips and keep them from ruining your carpet and your merrymaking.
Here is a short guide to cleaning the most common holiday stains. As with any type of accident, the key is to act immediately.
- Red Wine
- Candle Wax
Unless you plan to serve only white wine at your party, you take a chance with serving a Merlot or Cabernet. When your neighbor spills his glass on your carpet or tablecloth, saturate the stain with salt to absorb the liquid. Let the salt sit for at least 2-4 hours. Vacuum or scrap the salt away. If you don’t have salt or the stain remains, pour white wine over it and let it soak in. Then blot the stain until it disappears.
Somehow the after-dinner coffee ended up on your carpet. Not a problem. Act quickly to blot the liquid with a paper towel or clean cloth. Next carefully saturate the stain with cold water. Be careful to pour the water only on the area of the stain and just enough to absorb into the fibers. Blot again. Repeat this step until the stain is gone or almost gone. Finally, treat the stain with a mixture of one part white vinegar to three parts water and blot again. This method will also work for stains on fabric.
The candle you thought was dripless isn’t. Now what? The key is to let the wax harden. If the wax is on fabric, put the cloth in your freezer. When the wax is hard, scrape or break off the pieces. If any stain remains, sandwich the area between layers of paper towel and iron at a low setting. Repeat this process until the stain is almost gone then wash the fabric like normal. If the wax has hardened on a wood surface, remove the wax by carefully scraping with a credit card or driver’s license. If any wax remains, soften it by using a hair dryer at its lowest setting. Carefully wipe up the melted wax with paper towels. Use a wood furniture polish to restore the luster of the wood.
At some point, everyone dribbles dip on his clothes. Party dips are usually oil-based or dairy-based. Oil-based dips should be pretreated with a solvent-based stain removing product. No stain-removing product? Create your own by mixing one part vinegar with two parts water. After treating the stain, wash as usual in very hot water. Treat dairy-based stains just the opposite. Because dairy products contain protein, their stains should be soaked in cold water for 30 minutes before washing. Then launder in mild detergent with color-safe bleach.
Your kids love chocolate, but now it’s on their clothes. What to do? Let the chocolate harden. Trying to remove wet chocolate will only spread the stain. Scrape away as much of the food as possible. Pre-treat the stain with liquid laundry detergent or a spray stain removal product and let the fabric sit for 10 minutes. Then lightly scrub the area with a brush and launder as usual.
Somehow the gravy that was to be poured on the turkey ended up on the tablecloth. Not to worry. Quickly scoop up any excess of the liquid. After dinner, turn the tablecloth upside down. If the fabric is washable, pre-treat each gravy stain with a grease-fighting liquid detergent. Use a small brush to rub the liquid into the stain. Wait 20 minutes then machine wash the tablecloth using an enzyme-fighting detergent.