The holidays are a special time to celebrate with loved ones. But between shopping, whipping up delicious meals and hosting guests, it’s challenging to maintain a clean and orderly home.
To help keep the season stress-free and fun, Debra Johnson, home cleaning expert for Merry Maids, identifies the 12 toughest stains and pains that come with the holidays and offers smart solutions for holiday hosts to breeze through the most wonderful time of the year.
So, bring out the crowd-pleasers – red wine, cranberry sauce, gravy – and use these expert tips to keep your holidays both merry and bright.
Tipsy Tips for Red Wine Stains
While red wine is a favorite, it can be unkind to upholstery and carpets. To clean, blot with a microfiber or white cloth, pour on club soda and continue blotting. If the stain’s dry, whip up a quick solution of 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 2 cups warm water and blot the stain.
Cranberry sauce is a sure-shot darling of the holidays, until it spills on the new tablecloth. Quickly combine a solution of mild liquid detergent (1/2 tablespoon), vinegar (1 tablespoon) and one quart of cool water and let the stained cloth sit for 15 minutes; then wash with cool water.
No Crying Over Spilled Gravy
What’s a turkey without its best friend, gravy? If you’re stressing about what spilled gravy may do to your linens or new outfit, relax. Blot the spill to remove excess gravy, treat with laundry stain remover and soak in the washing machine for two hours. Wash, air dry and voila!
Bright and Melty Décor
When wax drips onto that special tablecloth, it’s a nightmare to remove. Place in the freezer and scrape with a blunt butter knife. If any wax remains, place a sheet of wax paper on the affected side of the linen and use an iron on the reverse side to transfer the spilled wax onto the paper.
Cup o’ Joe Overflow
Coffee is a crowd pleaser after every holiday feast, until sips turn into spills. Dab carpet stains with a microfiber or white cloth to remove excess coffee, and then blot with a mixture of 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap, 2 cups cool water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
Nothing says holidays like chocolate-y sweets. When stains occur, mix a solution of 1 tablespoon dish washing liquid and 2 cups cold water to blot the soiled area until no color transfers to the cloth. Continue to blot soiled area to assist with drying carpet and then place a fan over it until it’s completely dry.
Pesky Pine Needles
Real Christmas trees look beautiful and smell amazing, but those pesky pine needles can cause post-holiday frustration. First, empty out your vacuum and slowly vacuum over the needles. For those last few errant pine needles, press a lint roller over the area until it’s clean.
Safely Storing Memories
From family traditions to your baby’s first Christmas, holiday ornaments hold special memories. For easy and safe storage, glue plastic cups to strips of cardboard and stack them in a box, placing an ornament in each cup. To deal with shattered baubles and glitter, use a lint roller over the area to capture all the pieces.
Not So Bright and Shiny
The holidays are the perfect time to break out your finest dishware. To clean your silver before the party, use a soft cloth and gently rubbing polish over each piece. After the holidays, wrap silver in cotton or felt and store in an airtight container to prevent tarnish.
It’s a Wrap
Setting up a gift wrapping station is all about smarter storage. Use clothespins on both ends of wrapping paper to hang in a closet with string or yarn. Use a wire hanger to hang a spool of ribbon.
Fixings for a Feast
Holiday feasts usually call for an oven cleaning, before and after. To clean oven racks, place in garbage bags, spray with oven cleaner or a degreasing solution, leave for 30 minutes to an hour, rinse with soapy water and wipe dry.
Spruce in a Snap
To spruce up your home before guests arrive, sweep the porch, fold blankets in the living room and fluff throw pillows. Tidy the coffee table and swipe with a microfiber cloth, put away anything left on counters.
The holiday season can be filled with stress. Too much to do and too little time. Remember to enjoy time with family and friends. Take a step back from all the hustle and bustle to just enjoy the gift of the present. Relax and know you’re creating precious memories that your family will enjoy for a lifetime.