Combine good food and drink with a roomful of guests, excited children and a pet or two and there are bound to be a few mishaps. Just in time for preparation for the holiday season, Consumer Reports offers tips on cleaning up household “goofs,” like removing lipstick from cloth napkins and wine on carpet and fabric.
The advice is based on laboratory testing, professional expertise and years of cleaning up in the magazine’s labs. • Oops: Spills on carpet or fabric. For wine: First blot with water. Next use a detergent solution of 1 teaspoon of a mild clear or white dishwashing liquid – no bleach – in 1 cup of warm water. For red wine, you can then dab with 3 percent-strength hydrogen peroxide. For soda: Blot with the detergent solution, then use a vinegar solution of one-third cup of white vinegar with two-thirds cup of water. Rinse with warm water. If a trace remains, dab with 3 percent-strength hydrogen peroxide.
• Oops: White ring marks on wood. Blot with an absorbent cloth, wipe with a damp cloth to help dissolve the stain, and dry with a soft cloth. If the stain remains, apply a little non-gel toothpaste, or liquid or cream car polish, rubbing with the grain. Wipe with a dry cloth and polish, if needed.
• Oops: Candle wax on the tablecloth. Pour boiling water through the washable fabric from a height of 12 inches (the height increases the velocity of the water, which helps separate the wax from the fibers). If the fabric can’t be laundered, sandwich it between paper towels and apply a warm iron.
• Oops: Lipstick on cloth napkins. Blot with acetone-based nail-polish remover. Then try a store-bought cleaning solvent, such as Afta or Goo Gone. If that doesn’t work, try the detergent solution above, then rinse.
How to treat a stain:
1. When a spill or other accident occurs, act quickly.
2. Blot, don’t scrub, with a white cloth or towel until dry.
3. Follow all care labels for the garments, linens or rugs you’re treating.
4. Test the cleaning solution you’re using by applying several drops to an inconspicuous area and holding a wet white cloth on the area for one minute, then check the cloth for color transfer and fabric or carpet for color change or damage.
5. If there is none, proceed by applying a small amount of the cleaning solution to a white cloth. Gently work it into the outer edges of the stain and then toward the center.
6. Repeat with clean white cloths until you can’t transfer any more stain to the cloth.
7. Flush with water once the stain is gone to remove the cleaning solution. Then blot.