Clean Tips For Tackling The Toughest Holiday Stains

wine stain

It’s the season of giving thanks… and tackling tough stains

Whether you are hosting the holidays or getting together with family and friends, there are bound to be some spilled wine, dripped gravy or dropped chocolate in your near future. Here are some clean tips to help make you a holiday hero when it comes to stain mishaps.

Identify and Act Immediately

Time is of the essence when it comes to stains. As soon as anything spills on clothing, upholstery, or carpet, that’s your cue to spring into action. Resist all urges to rub the stain. Instead, you want to blot up or lift off as much of the stain as you can right away.

All stains are not treated equally. The wrong treatment might end up causing the stain to set, which makes it even more difficult for you or a professional to get rid it. 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. Some of the most common holiday stains include:

Cranberry Sauce Stains

Cranberry stains are one of the toughest to remove and require quick action. First, lift away any remaining solids and use a cloth dipped in water to blot the stained area. For clothing, flush the stain with water, then treat with laundry detergent or dish soap before putting in the washing machine. For carpet or upholstery, blot up as much of the cranberry juice as possible, being careful not to spread the spot further. Mix a solution of 2/3 of a cup of rubbing alcohol and one tablespoon of white vinegar. Using this solution, sponge the spot with a clean white cloth. Next, blot at the stain until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the stain is removed from the upholstery.

Gravy or Butter Stains

Keep in mind, gravy stains are “combination stains,” with one part greasy and one part creamy, so for full stain removal, you need to tackle both parts. Begin by lifting away as much of the solids as you can. Then use a detergent or stain remover that contains enzymes, a type of protein that helps break down other proteins, greasy stains and dirt. Some common enzymes found in your laundry supplies are Amylase, which works on starch stains, Lipase which works on fatty and oily stains, Protease, which works on protein stains and Cellulase which helps remove particulate soil. Pretreat the stain with laundry stain remover. Wash in the hottest water possible that won’t damage the fabric.

Red Wine Stains

Oh red wine, a real staple of the holidays. What makes red wine stains so challenging is if the stain is left for too long and sinks in, it will permanently stain the fibers. The key is to act quickly to “lift” the red wine off the fibers by diluting and wicking away. So at the first sign of a red wine a spill, use a damp, plain white cloth or towel to blot up (do not rub!) the excess wine. Grab some club soda and pour over the stain to neutralize the wine. For clothing, flush it with cold water and use a stain remover specifically for food proteins to soak for 30 minutes. Launder the clothing, using chlorine bleach if the fabric will allow it, or color safe bleach if not. Be sure that the stain is completely gone before placing the garment in the dryer. If not, repeat the steps as many times as necessary to remove the stain.

For upholstery, mix a solution of two cups cool water and one tablespoon dishwashing liquid. Using this solution to sponge the stain. Then blot the stain with a clean white cloth, until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat steps 3-4 until the stain is removed from the upholstery.

Chocolate Stains

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. Otherwise, follow the same steps for removing a red wine stain. 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.

For stubborn stains and spots such as lipstick, permanent marker or paint, you may need to hire a professionally trained carpet or upholstery cleaner, equipped an arsenal of safe and effective stain removal products and equipment to knock that stain out for good.

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