The experts at the American Cleaning Institute spill the secrets for tackling messes on fabrics.

By Marisa Spyker
October 12, 2020
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Lauri Patterson/Getty Images
Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

The holiday season is here and you've set a gorgeous table. While everyone is always on their best behavior, mistakes happen. Glasses can spill, plates can be dropped, and candles can be left burning a little too long. Don't let these messes ruin your night. We reached out to the experts at the American Cleaning Institute to fix many of the stains you might encounter this holiday season.

Red Wine

Immediately: Soak or sponge stain in cool water; then use a dry paper towel to blot it dry.

Afterward: Treat with a prewash stain remover (some are formulated for red wine) or liquid laundry detergent. Launder using oxygen bleach or chlorine bleach, if safe for material.

Grease

Immediately: Blot as much as you can with a dry paper towel; then blot again with a little bit of hot water and dish soap on a cloth or napkin. Let air-dry.

Afterward: If the spot is still visible, treat with a stain remover before washing. Air-dry; repeat the process, if needed.

Coffee or Tea

Immediately: Soak or sponge the spot with cool water. Treat with a prewash stain remover or a liquid laundry detergent.

Afterward: Launder the item using oxygen bleach or chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric.

Chocolate

Immediately: Gently scrape off chocolate with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Afterward: Soak in cool water; then treat using a prewash stain remover. Launder in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.

Gravy

Immediately: Wipe the stain, and add spot remover, if available.

Afterward: Treat the item using a prewash stain remover with enzymes. Let soak overnight, and then launder in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric. Not machine washable? Wipe the stain, and dry-clean soon.

Salad Dressing

Immediately: Gently wipe away what you can. Blot (be careful not to rub) at the stain with a napkin or dry cloth.

Afterward: Treat using a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent that contains enzymes. Wash in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.

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Cranberry Sauce

Immediately: Rinse with cold water. Blot with a little liquid laundry soap and then with rubbing alcohol on a cloth.

Afterward: Wash the item as soon as you can using the warmest water possible and bleach, if safe for the fabric.

Pumpkin Pie

Immediately: Scrape off any excess pumpkin, and flush under cold water to loosen the stain.

Afterward: Treat with a prewash stain remover. Launder in the hottest water possible using chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric.

Wax

Immediately: Once dry, use a dull knife to scrape off surface wax.

Afterward: Place stain between paper towels and press with a warm iron, transferring the wax to the towels. Continue, using clean towels, until the wax no longer transfers. Then, place stain face down on another clean paper towel and sponge with a prewash stain remover; blot with paper towels. Let dry, then launder.

This story originally appeared on southernliving.com.