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Ultimate stain remover cheat sheet

Yup, things were going so well until that stemless glass toppled and Cabernet seeped through your linen like a slow in-coming tide.

You watched in slo-mo as that gravy drip descended in a silent death-fall and ended with splatter.

And the cranberry sauce? She’s saucy, for sure, but definitely lacking grace as she crashed the table party with an audible ‘glop.’

Of course, none of this has actually happened yet because we haven’t hit the Christmas dinner hour. But, there’s a very good chance all three things will come to pass. Instead of panicking, be prepared. Make sure you download the emergency stain remover sheet at the end of this blog, complete with all the necessary ingredients ready and waiting at your stain-fighting side.

But first, the shopping list to remove stains (includes stain remover for clothes and table clothes:

You’ll need:

White vinegar

Baking soda

Ammonia Clear dishwashing soap



Colour-safe bleach

Laundry detergent

Red wine stain removal: Martha’s method

There are a lot of excited kids and a lot of wine glasses happening over the holidays. And kids + wine glasses = 100% spill-expectancy rates. Now, when that happens, you would normally be frantically googling “how to get rid of wine stains” but we’re here to save you time. The best-reviewed method was from …. Drum roll, please … Martha Stewart, to absolutely no one’s surprise.

When in doubt, do what Martha does. Here’s her 5-step stain remover system for wine:

  1. Dilute dishwashing soap with water and spray on the stain; Martha says “tamp” the stain with a soft-bristled brush – that just means gently work the stain with the brush with a tapping motion.
  2. Flush the stain with water. Then apply white vinegar, and tamp. Then let it stand for several minutes and flush with water again.
  3. If stain is still visible, apply hydrogen peroxide, and let it stand before rinsing again.
  4. If the stain still persists, apply 1 or 2 drops of ammonia to the wet area. Flush with water. Treat with an enzyme detergent and wash.
  5. If the stain is still there, whoa. That’s a stubborn stain. Apply a powdered non-chlorinated and color-safe bleach, like a sodium percarbonate, and rewash.

Gravy drips: Just add bread?

Even the best gravy boat and ladle system can’t stop all the drips. Gravy is like the perfect storm for fabrics; it’s got the fat and it’s got the starch, which combine for one stubborn stain. Luckily, there are some things you can do right away, and then more stain-fighting actions you can take when the guests are gone. Here’s how to remove gravy stains from clothes and table clothes:

When the drip hits:

1. Use a dull knife to sweep as much of the gravy off of the table cloth as possible.

2. Then, shake a bit of salt or baking soda onto the spill area to sop things up a bit more. You can leave that on the stain until your guests have finished up and left. Or, you can put a piece of white bread over the drip area and then soak the bread in club soda or cold water. That’ll help soak it up as well.

When your guests have gone:

1. Soak your table cloth in cold water overnight. This will help loosen the stain.

2. The next morning, mix ¼ teaspoon of clear dishwashing soap with a couple of drops of ammonia and ½ cup of warm water. Sponge the stain with a clean cloth or towel; just press, don’t rub.

3. Wash your tablecloth in the hottest setting advised by the washing instructions on the label.

4. Let the tablecloth air-dry … never use your dryer if the stain is still there – you’ll just permanently set the stain. If you can still see the stain after air-drying, repeat the process.

Cranberry stain remover: Sayonara, sauce stain

Does cranberry stain? Yes, yes it does. A cranberry sauce spill is not the kind of “saucy” that makes a great dinner party, trust us. But it’s highly likely your tablecloth will fall victim to an errant splotch or two, so when that happens, use a dull table knife to gently scoop up anything you can. Don’t rub it, just remove what you can and leave it. Then, when guests are gone:

1. Rinse the stain with cool water.

2. Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent with one litre of cool water. Soak in this solution for 15 minutes.

3. Rinse with water. 4. If the stain is still there, sponge it with rubbing alcohol and rinse thoroughly. 5. Wash as directed using chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric.

Remember: Team work makes the dream work!

You take care of the stains, and pass the rest of the cleaning to a pro. You’re going to need a lot more than a load of laundry to clean up after a fruitful and festive holiday season, and now is the time to plan ahead and book a cleaning appointment to swoop in and save the last of your sanity.



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