Try these tips for getting stains out of holiday clothes, linens, carpets or furniture.

It’s two days from the holiday party you’ve been planning to host for months and you unpack your favorite embroidered tablecloth, only to find a giant yellow stain. How did that happen? You washed it before packing it away last January!

The heat puts it on

Washing and drying your prize tablecloth before packing it for the year may have been a mistake if you didn’t notice the stain first. Just like with clothing, heat sets stains in your linens. But all may not be lost. A commercial stain remover might work, but be careful about using it on colored linens. Other removal techniques include rubbing liquid dish soap or detergent on the stain and letting it soak in before washing again or rubbing white chalk on a grease stain. Baking soda added to the wash also can remove some stains.

Prevention is worth a pound of stain

It’s best to prevent a stain from setting before throwing your best napkins, tablecloths or clothes into the washer after a holiday spill. Anything with grease, like gravies and butter-filled treats, should be blotted to soak up extra oil, then sprinkled with something that will soak up the rest. Baking soda or cornstarch are good choices sitting right in your kitchen cabinet. If still there the next day, the stains might come out if soaked in dish soap or rubbed gently with Goop. Take prevention a step further by adding starch to linens such as your tablecloth when ironing it in preparation for your holiday dinner. The starch adds a light layer of protection for fabrics.

And then there is wax

One of the biggest culprits for holiday stains is candle wax. Everybody’s having so much fun that they fail to notice the melting Santa candle still sitting on the table. To get out wax stains, first place ice on the dried wax to harden it more. Then scrape off as much of the wax as possible with the edge of a dull knife. You might be able to iron hardened wax off of fabric and onto paper bags placed on either side of the fabric. Treat the greasy spot that remains after removing wax with a commercial stain remover followed by scrubbing the stain with detergent and washing it in the warmest water the fabric can take.

Drink up

Drinks get spilled during holiday gatherings. With crowds, kids and revelers, accidents will happen. If you or a guest spills red wine on your carpet or furniture, immediately sprinkle some salt on the stain and blot it with a clean, absorbent cloth. Then add some white vinegar to a clean sponge and dab the stain until no more red appears on your sponge. Either a paste of borax and water or a soak with a sponge dabbed with rubbing alcohol, followed by an overnight soak with a wet cloth (pressed down with a heavy object) can help absorb any remaining color. Hydrogen peroxide might take away any stain that still remains the next day. You can also look for a commercial wine stain remover.

Be sure to follow directions on any commercial stain removers and test fabrics, especially carpets and furniture, for color-fastness as recommended before using!


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