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Top 10 holiday stain removal tips

Helpful holiday stain removal how-tos for red wine, cranberry sauce and other seasonal delights

Spilled Red Wine

Have a spill? Don’t panic — get smart with these helpful holiday stain removal how-tos for red wine, cranberry sauce and other seasonal delights!

In almost every case, the #1 key to dealing with holiday stains is to act quickly, and by using the right method for the problem.

With these tips on how to deal with common Thanksgiving stains, you won’t need to wait until the end of the night or the next day to manage spills and spots.

Here are ten quick and easy Thanksgiving stain removal tips from the experts!

Problem 1: Gravy spilled on your new tablecloth.

Solution: When you set the holiday table with your best linens, it’s a natural invitation for spots and stains. Treat the stains with a prewash spray, or pretreat with a product containing enzymes. Launder. If stain remains, re-launder with a fabric-safe bleach.

Problem 2: Someone dipped a sleeve in the sweet potatoes.

Solution: Scrape off excess sweet potatoes, then flush under cold running water to loosen the stain. Pre-treat the garment with a pre-wash stain remover. Wash using the warmest temperature water and bleach that is safe for the fabric.

Problem 3: Cranberry sauce spilled on fabric.

Solution: Launder in hottest water safe for the fabric. Do not use bar soap because it may set the stain (laundry detergent is okay). Removal of old stains may require washing in a fabric-safe bleach.

Problem 4: A mid-party spot on your favorite outfit.

Solution: If the garment is washable, as soon as the party’s over, treat the spot with a stain removal stick. This puts the stain “on hold,” and buys some time until you can tackle the laundry. If the garment is dry-clean-only, take it to the dry cleaner as soon as possible and let them know the cause of the stain.

Problem 5: Red wine spilled on your sofa.

Solution: Gently blot up any liquid. Don’t scrub or rub the spot. As soon as possible after the party, use an upholstery cleaner on the spot. Be sure to read and follow the product directions before using.

Problem 6: Candle wax dripped on to your fabric placemats.

Solution:  If the wax is still soft, freeze to harden it, and then scrape off excess wax. Sponge the stain with a dry-cleaning solution. Place stain between clean paper towels and press with a warm iron to transfer the wax to the paper towels. Replace the paper towels frequently to absorb more wax and prevent transferring the stain to other places on the fabric. Pre-treat the stain with a pre-wash stain remover. Launder. If any color remains, rewash using chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric, or oxygen bleach.

Problem 7: Soda pop was spilled on the carpet.

Solution: Blot with the detergent solution, then use a vinegar solution of one-third cup of white vinegar with two-thirds cup of water. Rinse with warm water. If a trace remains, dab with 3 percent-strength hydrogen peroxide.

Problem 8: Turkey fat dribbled on your skirt.

Solution: Pre-treat light stains with a spray stain remover, liquid laundry detergent or a detergent booster. Place heavy stains face down on clean paper towels. Apply cleaning liquid to the back of the stain. Replace towels frequently. Air dry; rinse. Launder in hottest water safe for that fabric. Before drying, inspect and — if stain remains — repeat treatment and washing.

Problem 9: Lipstick got smeared on your cloth napkins.

Solution: Blot with acetone-based nail-polish remover. Then try a store-bought cleaning solvent, such as Afta or Goo Gone. If that doesn’t work, try a detergent solution of 1 teaspoon of a mild clear or white dishwashing liquid — no bleach — in 1 cup of warm water, then rinse.

Problem 10: You found white ring marks on your wood coffee table.

Solution: Blot with an absorbent cloth, wipe with a damp cloth to help dissolve the stain, and dry with a soft cloth. If the stain remains, apply a little non-gel toothpaste, or liquid or cream car polish, rubbing with the grain. Wipe with a dry cloth and polish, if needed.

Sources: American Cleaning InstituteCotton IncorporatedConsumer Reports magazineNorth Carolina State University Cooperative Extension

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