Holiday Food Stains | 4 Cleaning Solutions

So, holiday dinner is not the time to nick-pick over spills; however, that cranberry sauce and gravy stains on the tablecloth haven’t left your gaze all evening.

Outwardly, you’re enjoying your meal with family and friends. Inwardly, you are freaking out!

Don’t worry, we have the solution!

With a little help from the American Cleaning Institute and Good Housekeeping, we have compiled a list of 4 cleaning solutions to holiday food stains.

#1 – Gravy Gone Wild

It warms your heart to see your guests devouring your grandmother’s homemade gravy recipe that took you years to perfect. But if their eating becomes a little too “enthusiastic” and that gravy’s gone wild all over your tablecloth, we have the cleaning solution

After dinner and your guests have all gone, prewash your linen tablecloth in an enzyme detergent overnight in the washing machine. Add in some fabric-safe bleach. Drain the washing machine the next morning, then start a new cycle with hot water and fabric-safe bleach. Inspect for remaining stains before drying.

*Note: For other oil-based stains like turkey, butter and salad dressing; pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.

#2 – Cranberry Catastrophe

Still eyeing that cranberry stain? These fruit-based stains must be treated right away. Scrape off the access with a spoon and run the fabric under cold water. As soon as you’re able to, wash the tablecloth in warm water and fabric-safe bleach. We like this!

*Note: Apple cider and pumpkin pie are other common types of holiday fruit-based stains and should be cleaned using the same method.

#3 – Sweet Slip-up

Stains resulting from colorful cakes and other desserts—which often has food-coloring added to them—can be a little harder to remove. But, removal isn’t impossible. Just like fruit-based stains, food-coloring stains should be tended to right away. First, promptly sponge the stain with cool water. Soak in cool water for an additional 30 minutes if the stain remains. Then, pre-treat it with a liquid laundry detergent or prewash stain remover. Now, you’re ready to launder!

#4 – Coffee Calamity

Coffee normally marks the end of the meal. Bellies full, everyone is beginning to wind down. But you are not in the clear just yet. If the inevitable happens and there is a coffee spill on your tablecloth, carpet, or upholstery, follow these quick tips:

Sponge or soak the stain in cool water. Pretreat the fabric with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent–much like food-coloring stains. Then, using oxygen or chlorine fabric-safe bleach, launder.

*Note: This method works for other beverage stains like red wine, tea and soda.

Now, stains don’t have to stop the fun. These 4 cleaning solutions to holiday food stains should keep your carpet, rugs, upholstery, and  linen holiday-ready for next year!


About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946 by Earl and Nancy Woodard. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Woodard services the greater metro area (Illinois, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Louis County, and many more). Woodard is proud to serve as the preferred provider for cleaning & restoration services. Our cleaning services include carpet, hard surface, furniture, and rug cleaning for both residential and commercial properties. We also provide water, fire, board-up, storm and smoke restoration services for residential and commercial clients. For information or questions submit a form online or call us at 314-227-3932.

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Updated 11/2/2014