The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Holiday Stains


Treat and wash stains promptly!

Holiday entertaining is fraught with potential disasters. But a cool head and the right products will keep a mini-crisis from becoming a major problem. Here are some quick and easy remedies from the American Cleaning Institute:


Turkey, gravy, butter, and salad dressing (oil-based stains): Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.

Cranberry sauce, apple cider, and pumpkin pie (fruit-based stains): Treat these stains promptly. Remove excess fruit and run the fabric under cold water. Wash the item as soon as possible using the warmest water and bleach that are safe for the fabric.

Coffee, tea, wine, and soft drinks (beverage stains): Soak or sponge stain in cool water. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Launder using oxygen bleach or chlorine bleach, if safe for fabric.

Colorful cakes and desserts (food-coloring stains): Sponge stain promptly with cool water. If this doesn’t remove stain, soak stain in cool water for at least 30 minutes. After soaking, pretreat with a prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent, then launder.

Wax stains: Use a dull knife to scrape off surface wax. 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 facedown on another clean paper towel and sponge with a prewash stain remover; blot with paper towels. Let dry, then launder.

Soot Stains: Shake out garment. Don’t rub; you may make the stain worse. Launder washable garments using laundry detergent and the hottest water suitable for the garments. Continue laundering garments until soot and/or smoke odor are removed. You may have to launder as many as five times.


Restroom: If guests leave the bathroom smelling less than fresh, take a multi task approach: toilet bowl cleaners in tablet or gel form for quick cleaning and fabric refreshers for bathroom window treatments.

Cooking: Hopefully what you’re cooking smells great, but sometimes it can linger longer than desired. In which case, open up the windows and let the fresh air in. Then spray fabric refresher on window treatments, upholstery, rugs and carpets.

Cigarette smoke: If a smell of smoke lingers after the guests have left, take a similar approach to the cooking smells. Let in fresh air and grab the fabric refresher.