Stain Removal

Thanksgiving Stains

7 Ways to Remove Cranberry Stains and other Thanksgiving Spills

A festive table set with your family gathered for a delicious dinner is what Thanksgiving dreams are made of, right? Unfortunately, all that tasty gravy, cranberry sauce, butter and pie can also stunt the celebration by staining your family’s turkey-day apparel.

For each dinner course, we’ve got stain-removal solutions to save time and your holiday wardrobe. So, kick back and enjoy the day without worrying about inevitable spills!

Pre-dinner drinks: Tips for getting wine stains out

Whether someone accidentally bumps their glass or drops fall during a pour, red wine spills are likely. Getting wine stains out doesn’t have to ruin the night. Red wine is a tannin-based stain like coffee and tea. Tannins are a naturally occurring plant dye and can be easily removed with the correct approach.

  • Use a clean paper towel to absorb excess wine. Don’t rub the wine stain into the fibers any further, but gently press the paper towel against the stain.
  • Run the stain under cold water. The goal here is to release additional wine from the fabric fibers.
  • Pre-treat fabric. Use a stain remover or liquid fabric detergent.
  • Use the hottest water the fabric will tolerate.
  • Line dry. Keep clothing out of the dryer so remaining tannins don’t become set in the fabric.

Main course laundry threats

All that roasted turkey and gravy causing everyone’s mouths to water might also claim some shirt or tablecloth casualties. Both turkey and gravy stains are combination protein-fat stains totally conquerable in four simple steps.

  • Gently scrape food from fabric. The edge of a plastic knife will remove the most food possible without damaging the fabric.
  • Sponge liquid dishwashing soap onto the stain. Choose dish soap formulated to fight oil for optimum grease breakdown.
  • Wipe the stain clean, and pre-treat. Spray your favorite pre-wash product onto the stain or cover the stain with liquid laundry soap for concentrated gravy stain removal.
  • Hot water is best for breaking down the grease, but make sure to base water temperature on the stained fabric’s care recommendations.

Side dish stains

Once the side dishes start going around the table, all bets for a tidy tablecloth are off. Be ready for the myriad of delicious side dishes (and their potential stains) with these tips.

Salad dressing stains

All salad dressing stains are oil-based and are treated a bit differently than protein-fat gravy stains.

  • Remove the remaining dressing. Based on the thickness of the dressing you may either scrape the remaining dressing off, or you might blot with a paper towel. Remember, blot without rubbing.
  • Pre-treat. Either stain remover or liquid laundry detergent will do.
  • Add baking soda to stain for extra oil absorption. Sprinkling baking soda over your pre-treatment will help draw out additional oil.
  • Launder garment. Customize the wash cycle based on the soil level and fabric.

Butter stain removal

When a butter stain makes its Thanksgiving debut, quick action is key.

  • Skip the initial rinse. Butter (oil/grease) doesn’t react to water.
  • Fight stain with dish soap. Rub liquid dish soap into the stain to break up the butter and oil saturated into the fabric.
  • Rinse out dish soap. Release butter from the fabric by running the fabric under cold water.
  • Pre-treat stain and wash. Grab that pre-wash spray and cover the stain before washing.

Remove cranberry stains

Beautiful cranberry sauces, salads and juice add color to our Thanksgiving table, but we can do without their bold red marks left behind. Luckily, all cranberry stains can be treated the same way.

  • Flush cranberry stain. Soak the clothing in a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar, one-half teaspoon liquid laundry detergent and 1 quart cool water for 15 – 30 minutes.
    • Bonus: The pre-wash setting on your Speed Queen Washing Machine is a super easy way to soak clothing in the cranberry stain solution. Soaking larger pieces of clothing or using the prewash cycle may require more soak solution. Use 4 parts water to 2 parts vinegar to 1 part dish soap or laundry detergent.
  • Rinse fabric in clean cool water. If using your Speed Queen machine, use an additional pre-wash cycle without soap or cleaning solution for a thorough rinse.
  • Sponge remaining stain with rubbing alcohol and rinse. Feel free to do this quick rinse in a sink and then return clothing to the washing machine.
  • If you are cleaning chlorine-friendly fabric, use chlorine bleach in your wash cycle for an extra cranberry stain fighter.

Avoid dessert stain disasters

You worked hard for your family to enjoy that scrumptious meal. Relaxing after dinner with good conversation, pumpkin pie and a cup of coffee is your reward. Don’t let stains derail that relaxation.

Berry pie clothing stains

  • Lift solids from fabric. The plastic knife is also a good choice here. Your guests may be tempted to just wipe the stain away with a dinner napkin, but that just works the berries into the fabric.
  • Run cold water over remaining stain. Flush the berries from the fabric fibers.
  • Wash garment. Enzymatic detergents or laundry boosters help break up the stain naturally. Use hot water, if it’s safe for the garment. Berry stains like cranberry stains can benefit from the pre-wash setting.

Pumpkin pie stains

Removing pumpkin stains can be similar to berry pie stains with a few alterations in how the stain is treated.

  • Scrape pumpkin from fabric. Unlike the berry stains, don’t worry if a little pumpkin works its way into the fabric.
  • Whipped cream or ice cream on the pie? Sprinkle baking soda on the stain after treating with dish soap. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse and pre-treat. Rinse dish soap and baking soda from fabric. Work stain remover into the fabric and let sit before washing.
  • Wash garment. Enzymatic detergents or laundry boosters might also be helpful for pumpkin stains. Use hot water, if it’s safe for the garment.

For all these stains, check the fabric after laundering and before drying. If the stain wasn’t fully removed in the wash, launder again. When the laundry is done, enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend full of family, fun and leftovers!