• Clean up holiday stains
You've cleaned your house, your decorations are immaculate, everything seems to be in order. As you're admiring your work, the celebratory glass of wine in your hand tilts and spills all over your new holiday outfit. Grandma Betty is so excited to give your kid a slobbery kiss that she knocks her coffee right off of the table. Stains happen. You get the picture.
The first rule is this: Never rub the stain! Instead, blot or vacuum, then ID the source and provide specific and swift treatment as listed below. (Knowing that you're not using toxic stain-removal products containing neurotoxic solvents from store products can help calm your aggravation.) Once you pretest the fabric and soak according to the natural stain remover that will work best, you can scrub with warm or cool water, but never hot—it can set stains.
Beer: White vinegar
Berries: White vinegar
Blood (Hey, it's tough being civil with relatives over the holidays!): Soak the affected item in cold water (or even cold salt water) before washing.
Candle Wax: Freeze the stain if you can by putting it in the freezer and pull off the wax. Then cover the wax stain with an absorbent cloth and melt the wax into the cloth with a hot iron, according to Home Enlightenment: Create a Nurturing, Healthy, and Toxin-Free Home (Rodale, 2008).
Chocolate: Soak in your homemade detergent and wash it. If that doesn't work, try the "Eat-It-Up Enzyme" recipe from Home Enlightenment. Be sure to always have enzymatic pepsin/papain tablets on hand for protein-based stains, or amylase for carb stains. (You can find them at most health food stores.) When an accident occurs, grind up a tablet or two and mix with water to make a paste to cover the stain so the enzymes can eat up the stain. Leave the paste on the stain for about a half hour, rub off the paste, and then scrub with warm water. Throw out the leftover paste.
Coffee and Tea: Spot-clean with vinegar, but if there was dairy in your beverage, soak the stain with the Eat-It-Up Enzyme mix.
Tomato Sauce: Vinegar
Wine: Pour boiling water from a height of 3 feet onto the affected article of clothing or cloth. Home Enlightenment suggests rubbing salt on the stain first could make the boiling bath even more effective. Just be careful not to burn yourself.
Sticky Candy Cane Gunk: Use old-fashioned soap and water to get sticky residue off of children’s hands, but be sure to avoid antibacterial soap, which can contain harmful, hormone-disrupting chemicals like triclosan. On surfaces, try the all-purpose cleaner below.
Published on: December 9, 2010
Updated on: December 10, 2010