No matter if you’re baking or decorating, here’s how to remove the season’s stains

It’s that time again when we encounter all sorts of messes and stain-makers we rarely see the rest of the year. The holidays are full of unwelcome surprises, like glitter and tree sap, and if any get on your clothes, you’ll want to know how to clean them up quickly and as safely as possible so they don’t damage your clothing.


It doesn’t matter how sparkly or what beautiful color it is, glitter is a real pain because of the sheer quantity of tiny, static-clinging pieces. You can use tape to remove the glitter bits, but nothing too sticky like duct tape. A lint roller works extremely well for removing large quantities of glitter, and you should always keep one handy for dealing with unexpected messes.

If you don’t need to wear the garment for a few days, you can wash and dry it as usual. Just make sure you grab a wet sponge to get rid of any and all loose glitter left behind in your washer or dryer.

Pine needles and tree sap

If you have a real tree or a wreath, you’ll find pine needles everywhere. And then some. Grab a lint roller and run it over any needles stuck to your clothing, then wash as usual.

If any sticky sap is on the needles, however, it’s likely to be on your clothes as well. Blot any staining sap residue with isopropyl rubbing alcohol until the sap is dissolved. Then blot the stain with either an enzyme booster or a solution of 1 teaspoon clear or white dishwashing liquid and 1 cup warm water until the stain has come out. Clean the area by dabbing it with cool water, then drying with a clean white cloth.

Cookie crumbs, flour and other baking messes

Like pine needles and glitter, the best way to clean up dusty particles when you’re getting creative in the kitchen is to use a lint roller. No matter what kind of dry ingredients you’re using—flour, sugar, baking powder and other baking staples—a lint roller is cleanup time’s best friend.

Candle ash and fireplace soot

If ash from a burnt candle wick dances onto your tablecloth, or you brush up against soot from the hearth, start by grabbing a vacuum cleaner. Hold the fabric taut, then use the hose attachment to suck up as much loose soot or ash as possible. Sprinkle baking soda on your fabric and let it sit for 10–15 minutes to absorb the stain, then vacuum again. Wash with laundry detergent in water as hot as the care instructions allow.

How to prevent yuletide trouble

No one wants to clean up when you should be celebrating instead. Here are four tips to help keep your clothes merry and bright and stain-free.

  1. Wear an apron. This will protect your clothes when cooking and baking, and there are plenty of fashionable aprons available if you’re worried about wearing one around guests.
  2. Wear dark colors, which are less likely to show stains than lighter ones.
  3. Keep a pretreating stain stick or cleaning pen nearby. The sooner you get to a stain, the easier it is to get out.
  4. Pretreat your linens. Stock up on a homemade pretreater, such as 1 part dish soap and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, and keep it in a spray bottle. Protecting your fabrics with a few spritzes will make laundry day that much easier, and save costly trips to the dry cleaner.

We hope this quick guide helps you tackle these holiday-specific mishaps quickly and easily! Happy Holidays!