Spills, drips, and splatters of food and drinks are inevitable during holiday entertaining. Unfortunately, these messes usually occur on our nicest linens, clothes, and recently shampooed carpet. So how can we treat potential stains on our valuable items? First rule, stains can usually be removed if dealt with immediately (and properly). Second, follow these simple steps and your grandmother’s tablecloth will be ready to use at your next family get-together.
For most stains caught early, use ice cold water on a clean terry cloth towel. Dab the material with the towel to extract the stain. Although most people are tempted, never rub the stain. This will only spread the stain further and deeper into the fabric. If this isn’t enough, follow the next steps depending on the type of stain.
Common Holiday Stains:
Wax – Use ice to freeze wax, or place item in the freezer; scrape or crack off as much as you can, then remove residue with an oil solvent or mineral spirits. Rinse with isopropyl alcohol; let dry. Treat with an enzyme detergent; wash.
Chocolate – Gently scrape off excess chocolate; spray area with diluted dish washing-soap solution. Follow up with an enzyme detergent to remove residue before washing.
Red Wine – Spray diluted dish washing-soap solution on stain; tamp with a soft-bristled brush. Flush with water, apply white vinegar, and tamp; let stand several minutes; flush again. If stain remains, apply hydrogen peroxide, and let stand. If stain persists, apply 1 or 2 drops of ammonia to wet area. Flush with water. Treat with an enzyme detergent; wash. If stain is still there, apply powdered non-chlorinated color-safe bleach, such as sodium percarbonate; rewash.
White Wine – Flush the stain with cold water, and spray with diluted dish washing-soap solution. Treat area with an enzyme detergent, and then wash.
Grease – Treat area with a dry solvent (such as mineral spirits or acetone) in a well-ventilated room. Using an eyedropper, rinse with isopropyl alcohol; dry well. Spray diluted dish washing-soap solution on any remaining residue and then soak the item in an enzyme detergent before washing.
Sauce – Scrape off sauce; spray area with diluted dish washing-soap solution. Soak in tepid water. If color remains, apply white vinegar with an eyedropper. Treat with an enzyme detergent; wash. If color persists, apply several drops of hydrogen peroxide; let sit. Rinse; treat again with enzyme detergent, and wash.