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Holiday Cleaning Guide: How to Remove Thanksgiving Food Stains from Clothing

thanksgiving stains

In the minefield of Thanksgiving side dishes, drinks and condiments, most of us won’t escape without a few battle stains on our clothes. To avoid lasting scars, we’ll detail how to remove Thanksgiving food stains like cranberry, wine and sweet potato. With the right supplies and techniques, the day’s only lingering reminder will be your full stomach.

How to Remove Thanksgiving Food Stains Effectively

If there’s any rule about how to remove Thanksgiving food stains it’s that fast action is essential. Addressing the stain as soon as it happens can mean the difference between effective removal and a lasting mark. Here’s how a rapid response and stain-specific methods can banish most holiday splatters and smears.

Gravy

Gravy splashes, drips and dribbles are some of the most common Thanksgiving stains. Because this holiday staple contains fat and cream, some quick thinking is required. Here’s how to remove gravy stains to prevent a permanent mark:

  1. Scrape off any excess gravy.
  2. Rub a few drops of liquid dishwasher detergent into the stain.
  3. Rinse under cool running water.
  4. Pretreat with a laundry stain remover or soak the stain in an enzyme-based detergent for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Wash in the hottest water the fabric allows with chlorine or color-safe bleach, as appropriate.
  6. To avoid setting the stain, only place clothing in the dryer if the stain is completely removed after washing.

Cranberry Sauce

Turkey and cranberry sauce may be the perfect combination, but cranberry and clothing just don’t mix. Follow these steps to get cranberry sauce stains out before they set:

  1.  Flush the stain with cool, running water.
  2. Mix a solution of ½ tsp liquid laundry detergent, 1 Tbsp. white vinegar and 1 qt water. Soak the stain in the solution for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse again with cool water.
  4. If the stain is still visible, apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol and rinse again.
  5. Wash in the hottest water the fabric permits, with the appropriate chlorine or color-safe bleach.
how to remove Thanksgiving food stains

Pumpkin

As beloved as pumpkin spice dessert recipes can be, no one loves the orange marks they can leave behind on clothes. These steps can remove pumpkin stains with ease:

  1. Scrape off any excess pumpkin from clothing.
  2. Turn the fabric inside out and hold under cool, running water to flush the stain.
  3. Pretreat with a laundry stain remover, allowing it to soak for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Wash in the hottest water the fabric allows with chlorine or color-safe bleach.
Pretreat beet stains on clothing

Sweet Potatoes

Just like pumpkin, stains from sweet potatoes can linger on clothes. Here’s how to banish these bright orange spots before they take hold:

  1. Scrape away any remaining pieces of sweet potato.
  2. Turn the fabric inside and out and flush the stain under cool, running water.
  3. Pretreat the stain with laundry stain remover for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Wash clothing in the hottest water the fabric permits with either chlorine or color-safe bleach.

Beets

Wondering how to remove Thanksgiving food stains like beets? These dark red spots are notoriously permanent unless you move quickly with these steps:

  1. Lift away any remaining beet pieces with a spoon or knife.
  2. Blot the stain with a clean, dry paper towel.
  3. Turn the clothing inside and out and flush the stain under a stream of cold, running water.
  4. Pretreat beet stains on clothing with a laundry stain remover or an enzyme-based detergent for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Flush again with cold water.
  6. If traces of red remain, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and water in accordance with the bleach package instructions. 
  7. Soak the stain for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight, before washing the garment as usual.

Red Wine

Can you remove red wine stains before they become permanent? Fast action with these methods can save your clothing:

  1. Soak the stain in cool water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Pretreat with a laundry stain remover for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Machine wash as usual with chlorine or color-safe bleach, as appropriate.

Whether it’s how to remove Thanksgiving food stains or tackling a tough repair, our washing machine technicians have the answers. Call Same Day Appliance Service for all your laundry appliance needs! 

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