The most wonderful time of the year is not without some particularly festive spills, stains, and sticky spots on your carpets. Before you let these common and not-so-merry mishaps have you "bah humbug!"-ing the rest of your holiday season, give these quick and easy cleaning tips and tricks a try. Not only are they effective in a pinch, but they only require things you already have at home!
Holiday Decorations: Tree Sap
Believe it or not, removing tree sap and pine oil is easy!
- On your hands/skin? Use a hand sanitizer that has an alcohol base, then use a cloth to wipe it away.
- On your floor/counter? Use a hard floor cleaning solution or apply a little hand sanitizer to it and wipe it up with a wet cloth.
- On your furniture or carpet? Use an upholstery and carpet cleaning solution with a pretreat.
- On your clothes? Try using some baby oil or a little rubbing alcohol and dab the stain with a damp washcloth. Just be sure not to rub the stain or it will set in more! Traditional laundry stain removers work as well, just be sure to remove the sticky residue before putting it through the wash.
Holiday Cooking: Oven Cleaning
There are few messes more frustrating than those inside an oven. They're hard to reach, usually gross, and just plain stubborn. Plus, they can lead to dangerous situations if overlooked or ignored. Luckily, there is an easy cleaning hack for unfortunate cooking or baking situations in your oven, and all it requires is some time and a little holiday magic.
Everything you need for a refreshed oven:
- Baking Soda
So how does it work?
First, mix 1/2 Cup of baking soda with 1/2 Cup of water to make a paste. Spread the paste on the stuck-on messes within your oven. Do not use the paste on any cleaning elements inside the oven (the sources of heat within your oven).
The baking soda paste needs time to break down the burnt-on foods and oils, so leave it for a few hours and come back to it later.
Now it's time for that holiday magic! Fill a clean spray bottle, half white vinegar and half water. Spray the mixture on the spots of baking soda paste. Baking soda and vinegar react together, causing the combination to foam up as carbon dioxide is released. This will greatly help loosen the stuck on mess and make it easy to clean. Leave the oven just like that for another half hour.
All that's left is to wipe everything away with a damp rag or cloth. The mess should wipe away with it!
Holiday Vibes: Dripping Candle Wax
To combat the coldest and darkest time of the year, many turn to candles. Whether for the comfort of its flickering flame, to celebrate the holidays, or to fill a room with festive scents, candles are great – until they drip wax. No worries: there's an easy way to clean that.
- A clean towel, preferably cotton
- An iron
This process is quick: just dampen the towel, fold it in half, and place over the dripped wax. Press an iron set to "high" over the towel for 10 seconds. The burst of heat will draw the wax out of the carpet and stick it to the wet towel. Repeat as necessary.
If the towel dries out, rewet it before continuing. Similarly, if the towel becomes covered in wax, replace it before continuing!
Holiday Treats: Chocolate and Peppermint
These sweat treats can be a stain nightmare if left sitting. If you can't get to it immediately, soak the spot in cold salty water to keep the stain from completely setting.
For both these sticky candy stains, you'll need:
- Warm and cold water
- Clean cloths
- White vinegar
- Dish soap
- A utensil with a dull edge for scraping (spatulas, butter knives, spoons are great options)
Remove chocolate stains in as little as three steps:
- Scrape away excess chocolate
- Saturate and blot with cold water and soap; wait 15 minutes, then rinse
- Apply vinegar/water solution to remove leftover soap; wait another 15 minutes, then rinse again!
First, scrape away as much chocolate from the carpet fibers as possible with a kitchen utensil. Make sure to wipe off the utensil between each scrape. A fork is a great option here – just check how the prongs affect the carpet fibers. If they're starting to pull the fibers apart, change utensils.
Tip: If the chocolate is soft, place an ice cube on it to harden it up. Hardened chocolate is easier to chip away at, and it will leave less of a mess to deal with!
Next, run cold water over the remaining chocolate to saturate the spot. Apply a clean cloth with a bit of dish soap to the spot, then blot until the chocolate lifts. Leave the spot for 15 minutes so the soap can do its work, then use a new, clean cloth to soak up the excess liquid.
Lastly, ensure there's no soap residue left behind in the carpet by applying a solution of vinegar and water (half a cup of vinegar to a full cup of water will work!). Dip a clean cloth into the solution and thoroughly blot the treated area. Dirt tends to stick to soapy fibers, so this solution will help keep that from happening. Leave the spot for another 15 minutes, then come back and blot with lukewarm water.
You can use this same method with clothing – minus the vinegar solution! Simply rinse it inside-out with cold water to loosen the chocolate from the material. Apply your favorite stain remover, laundry detergent, or even some dish soap to the spot and let soak for 30 minutes in cold water. Repeat as necessary, then wash.
Tip: Have a really old chocolate stain on a piece of clothing? Try this: heavy cream. Heavy cream breaks apart the fatty parts of chocolate, therefore breaking down the stain. After applying and letting the cream set in, use the steps above!
Remove candy cane stains is similar to removing chocolate stains:
- Scrape excess candy cane from carpet
- Apply warm water and vinegar, then rinse
- Use hydrogen peroxide on remaining red dye
For any surface peppermint decides to stick to – carpet, wood, clothing – the key to removing this sticky holiday treat is warm water and vinegar.
First things first: just like the chocolate tips above, remove larger pieces of the candy cane before going after the leftover red stickiness. Spray a mixture of warm water and vinegar onto the candy cane to ease the removal process as needed.
Apply a mixture of soap and warm water to the stain. Cover the stain thoroughly by blotting with the mixture. Then, blot with a clean cloth to absorb the soap.
Repeat this process as necessary!
Tip: You'll know you've gotten the sugary remnants out if your carpet if it feels light and fluffy to the touch, not hard and brittle!
If there's still some red dye left over, spray it with a little hydrogen peroxide to break down the color. As always, be sure to spot test a small, hidden area of your carpet before applying a solution to make sure it won't discolor your carpet. Don't immediately wipe the solution away; wait for ten minutes for the best results. Reapply as needed over the following few days!