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Treating Christmas Clothing Stains

Judith Haeusler- Getty Images

We’ve all been there. You’ve bought an adorable Christmas outfit and the next thing you know you’ve spilled gravy down the front of your shirt.  Panic sets in when you look down because you know how much you spent on the outfit and you’re worried that you won’t be able to salvage it. Whether its gravy, wine, candy canes (who hasn’t had a small child dribble candy cane on them?) or cranberry sauce, here’s to treat the stain so your clothes aren’t permanently ruined.

Candy Canes.  Soak the piece of clothing for 30 minutes in cold water with a few drops of ammonia in it.  Then rinse it, and soak it for another 30 minutes in cold water, with a tablespoon of white vinegar.

Eggnog.  Blot it with a rag, then soak it for 30 minutes in cold water with a little detergent, and wash it like you normally would. I’m told if you spill eggnog on the rug, you’re supposed to blot it with nail polish remover (non acetone!), then spray it with a mix of warm water and dish soap and blot it until the stain is gone.  Don’t take my word for it though- I don’t drink eggnog.

Wine and Beer.  For red wine, you’re supposed to pour boiling water on the stain but obviously not if it might make the colors run.  Then hand clean it with a mix of cold water and dish soap. For white wine, you just have to pour cold water on the stain, and blot it with a rag. For beer, hand wash it in 10 parts water and 1 part hydrogen peroxide until you can’t see the stain anymore.  Then let it air dry. Or you can always wet the spot a little with cold water and then pour salt over top.  Put a paper towel on the inside of your shirt and use another paper towel on the outside to blot the wine into the paper towel underneath.  The salt is amazing at picking out the wine.

Candle Wax.  Scrape away any excess wax using a dull knife, like a butter knife.  Then iron it on a low setting, with a paper bag between the iron and the fabric. Most of the wax should stick to the bag.  Then treat the remaining stain with hydrogen peroxide, and wash it like you would normally.  I’ve done this several times and it works like a charm.

Gravy.  Wipe it off, but make sure you don’t grind it in by scrubbing back-and-forth.  Then soak it overnight in the washing machine with fabric-safe bleach.  And again, use the hottest water you can. If you spill gravy on the carpet, sprinkle baking soda on it.  Then after about 15 minutes, blot it with a clean rag.

Butter.  Sprinkle salt on the stain and let it sit for a while.  Then pretreat it with spot remover or dish soap, and wash it in hot water.

Cranberry Sauce.  First you have to rinse it in cold water for about a minute.  Then soak it for 15 minutes in cold water with a tablespoon of white vinegar and a tablespoon of laundry detergent. If it still doesn’t come out, don’t dry it yet.  First blot it with rubbing alcohol and wash it again.

Chocolate.  Pre-treat it with a spot remover.  Rub it gently, but don’t grind it in.  Then wash it in hot water if possible, and use fabric-safe bleach.

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