Tis The Season For Food Stains

The holidays are among us and I’m sure most of us have already seen our fair share of stubborn stains on fancy tablecloths, shirts and carpets.  With that being said, thought I’d take a moment to address some of the more common food stains and how to keep them from hanging around long after the holidays are warm memories.

Gravy Stains On The Tablecloth – This is a fairly easy battle to win.  Scrape off the excess gravy, treat it with a pre-wash stain remover and then wash it in the hottest water that the fabric will safely endure.

Gravy Stains On Upholstery – If your family is anything like mine, you no sooner finish dessert before someone breaks out the leftovers for another round of feasting; except this round usually takes place in front of the TV.  So what happens if gravy makes its way to the upholstery?  First of all, relax.  This one can also be made to disappear.  Scrape off the excess and sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes; these two kitchen staples serve as absorbents and will help to soak up the stain.  Use a white cloth to blot the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent.  Repeat the steps until the stain is gone.

Cranberry Sauce On The Fabric – This is tricky, but not impossible.  Flush the stain with cold water.  Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent and one quart of cold water.  Soak the fabric in the solution for 15 minutes.  Rinse with cold water.  If the stain remains, sponge it lightly with rubbing alcohol.  Launder and use chlorine bleach if the fabric allows it.

Sweet Potatoes –  Now THIS can be stubborn.  Prepare for battle.  Remove sweet potatoes from the fabric.  Run cold water through the back of the stain as quickly as possible, which will force the stain through the fabric.  Rub liquid detergent into the stain.  If the fabric is white or will tolerate mild bleaching, apply hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar or lemon juice to the stain & rinse well.  If repeating these steps doesn’t get rid of the stain, apply a stain remover stick, gel or spray and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.  Launder with detergent and check the stain before drying the fabric.  If it persists, rub detergent into the stain and soak in warm water for 30 minutes.  Rinse well.  If the stain remains, apply another round of stain remover and launder the fabric, again.  This should do the trick!

Wine – Forget about the tablecloth for just a minute.  Spilling wine on your shirt can be an event that nearly stops your heart.  Whether the spill is on the table or on your shirt, you should treat the stain immediately by flushing it with cold water.  Ideally, you will do this through the back of the stain, in order to force it out, but if you’re wearing the shirt, applying water to the front of it is better than not doing it at all.  Blot the stain with a dry cloth.  Sprinkle salt onto it and allow it to sit for 2 – 3 minutes.  Rinse with cold water, while rubbing the stain with cold water.  Repeat both of these steps until the stain is gone.  If it refuses to leave, rub liquid laundry detergent onto it and allow it to sit for 3 – 5 minutes before rinsing with cold water.  Apply a stain remover and then launder according to directions.

The key to preventing stains from ruining your favorite fabrics is to treat them early.  If you use our laundry service, do not simply toss your stained clothes into a laundry bag and expect them to come back from the wash good as new.  Time is of the essence.  Pre-treat the fabric and be sure to mention the stain to your Laundry Care Associate.

Happy holidays!

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