Tis the season for hosting, trimming and decking the halls. Whether you are hosting the holidays or getting together with family and friends, there can be some unfortunate and unwanted arrivals like red wine spills on the carpet, coffee stains on the table linens and more. To help combat stains, here are some cleaning tips when it comes to stain mishaps.

Before be begin, here are general cleaning tips:

  • When it comes to stains, time is of the essence. As soon as anything spills on clothing, upholstery or carpet, spring into action immediately. Don’t rub the stains but gently blot up or lift off as much of the stain as you can right away. The longer a spill sets the worse the stain.


  • All stains are not equal and wrong treatment might end up causing the stain to set, making it even more difficult to remove. So identify what is causing the stain and also take into consideration the material of the stained area, so you can decide on the right method for the issue.


  • Heat sets stains. So avoid the use of hot water to remove stains and definitely don’t put stained garments in the dryer until you have removed the stain.


  • Be sure to place a clean white cloth under the fabric you are removing the stain from, in order to prevent the stain from spreading to another surface.

Here are some common holiday stains

Candle wax

Wax is easier to remove once it dries. Allow the wax to harden then, scrape off excess wax gently using a butter knife or old credit or gift card. Then cover the area of wax with few sheets of paper towels and iron carefully with a medium-warm iron, no steam, until the wax is absorbed into the paper. Change paper towels as they absorb the wax. Repeat until no more wax comes up. Rub a little liquid laundry detergent into the stain and wash in warm or hot water, adding chlorine or oxygen bleach (whichever is safe for the fabric).

Red wine

Toasting wine is a favorite holiday classic but if it spills the stain is very stubborn so act immediately. Blot the spills as much as possible. If you don’t have stain remover at hand, or you are in middle of party, pour a good amount of salt or baking soda on top of the liquid to absorb it. Club soda also works well as the carbonation has lifting abilities.

After the party is over, mix 1 tablespoon mild dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 2 cups warm water.  Soak the clean cloth in the solution and rub the stain a little bit at a time. Blot with dry cloth as stain dissolves. When the stain is gone, rinse well with a clean, damp cloth and blot dry.

Gravy or butter stains

Gravy stains are combination of greasy and creamy so full stain removal, you need to tackle both parts. You have gravy splash in middle of dinner! Scrape off as much solids as you can. Then pour a bit of flour, cornstarch or baking soda on the spill to sop up some of the grease, blot with club soda. After the table is cleared, apply prewash stain remover and soak your tablecloth in cold water with some enzyme detergent after for several hours to soften the gravy. The next morning, launder using the hottest water and type of bleach that’s safe for the fabric.

Cranberry sauce

Scrape up excess sauce with spoon and sponge on a little cool water. Next, mix about a tablespoon of white vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent into cool water. Soak the stain for about 15 minutes. Rinsewith cold water. If the stain remains, sponge with rubbing alcohol or few drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Then launder.


Chocolate is a holiday favorite that can leave a mean mark on your clothes, carpets or furniture. Avoid using very hot water with chocolate stains, because it will end up melting it further and making an even bigger mess. Scrape off the chocolate as much as possible. Apply a pre-treatment stain remover to start dissolving the substance and wash the soiled garment.For stubborn chocolate stains, you can try mixing one tablespoon of ammonia with two cups warm water and using that on the stain as well.


These tips are for simple stains. For stubborn stains and spots, such as paints, you may need to hire a professional cleaning service. Holidays and special occasions may come and go, but stains can live forever, unless we clean them properly. Hopefully these cleaning tips will help you look forward to holidays, armed with the knowledge you need to eliminate pesky stains that often come with the celebration.

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