The holidays are often the busiest time of year—and the messiest. While the season is a time for family gatherings full of warm and cheery greetings, the stains left behind should not be how memories are made. From that first jingle sung to the very last ornament hung, you are sure to run into more than one of these 12 holiday stains.

Whirlpool’s Institute of Home Science helps make stain removal a cinch. First rule of thumb–read the care label. After that, follow the instructions below and have a Happy Holidays.

 

12 personalized holiday cards

Signing all those Christmas cards can leave an ink stain behind. Stretch the fabric with the stained area over a glass or the mouth of a jar. Drip rubbing alcohol through the stain so the ink drops into the container. If necessary, follow up with a wash in color-safe bleach. Air dry.

 

11 hot chocolate spills

Blot out excess hot chocolate from fabric. Rub liquid detergent into the stain, and then wash it in the warmest water safe for the garment (found on your care label). If necessary, follow-up with a soak in a mixture of detergent and water, then rewash. Air dry.

 

10 greasy food fingers

Pretreat the stain with liquid detergent and allow it to work for 15 minutes. Wash in the hottest water safe for the fabric. Air dry.

 

9 buffet stations

Whatever kind of delicious food fills the buffet, you’re sure to have some spills and splatters that could leave your white tablecloth looking more like a Jackson Pollock piece. To remove a gravy splatter, soak the stained area in a mixture of detergent and water. Wash in the warmest water safe for the tablecloth/garment. If necessary, follow up with a wash in color-safe bleach. Air dry.

 

8 rusty silver candle holders

Use a commercial rust remover designed for fabrics. Be sure to follow package directions carefully. Follow-up with a wash in the warmest water safe for the garment. If necessary, follow-up with a wash in color-safe bleach. Do not use liquid chlorine bleach as it will cause rust stains to darken. Air dry.

 

7 cups of tea

Soak the garment in a mixture of detergent and water before washing in the warmest water safe for the garment. If necessary, follow-up with a wash in color-safe bleach for colors or liquid chlorine bleach for whites. Air dry.

 

6 guests sweating

Whether you’re meeting the parents for the first time or the pressure is on you to produce the best Christmas feast ever, there’s bound to be some nervousness kicking your sweat glands into overdrive. Soak the stained fabric in a mixture of detergent and water for up to 30 minutes before washing in the warmest water safe for the garment. If necessary, repeat or follow-up with a wash in color-safe bleach. Air dry.

 

5 wine glasses toasting

Blot excess liquid from fabric—do not rub. Rinse in cold water to dilute the stain and prevent it from setting. Wash garment in warmest water safe for the garment. If necessary, follow-up with a wash in color-safe bleach for colors or liquid chlorine bleach for whites. Air dry.

 

4 handmade ornaments

A little glitter and glue could make a pretty ornament, but leave a messy stain. For glue stains, check to see if the glue is water soluble or water proof. If it is water soluble, remove by rinsing with cool water and wash according to care label on garment. If it is waterproof glue, consult the garment’s care label or bring to a dry cleaner.

 

3 fondue sticks falling

The melted cheese in fondue can be a delicious treat, but can leave behind an oily mess. Using a spoon or the back of a butter knife, scrape the excess cheese off of the fabric. Pretreat the stain with liquid detergent and allow it to work for 15 minutes. Wash in the hottest water safe for the fabric. Air dry.

 

2 of Grandma’s lipstick kisses

If the stain is heavy, scrape off any remaining lipstick with a spoon or the back of a butter knife. Rub in liquid detergent and soak in a mixture of detergent and water for up to 30 minutes. Wash in the warmest water safe for the garment. If necessary, repeat treatment, or follow-up with a wash in color-safe bleach for colors, or liquid chlorine bleach for whites. Air dry.

 

And sap from a Christmas tree

Pretreat the stain with liquid detergent. Wash cotton in warmest water safe for the garment. If necessary, follow-up with a wash in color-safe bleach or liquid chlorine bleach. Air dry.

 

For more stain removal advice, visit our Stain Assist tool here.

 

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