We’ve all been that guest who dips their sleeve in the gravy or drops sweet potato in their lap at the Thanksgiving table. But instead of a ruined shirt, our stain removal tips can make sure the only things you leave with are leftovers. Here’s how to remove Thanksgiving food stains from gravy to red wine with the right methods and supplies.
How to Remove Thanksgiving Food Stains
Quickly and Easily
Wondering how to remove Thanksgiving food stains successfully? The key is to act quickly with the right cleaning techniques. Our Thanksgiving stain removal guide has spot-specific methods that address each food’s unique properties.
As delicious as a bite of juicy turkey can be, meat or butter can leave an oily stain when spilled. Here’s how to remove grease stains from clothes to prevent a lasting mark:
- Gently rub a drop of dishwashing soap into the stain.
- Rinse under cold running water.
- Pretreat with a laundry stain remover for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Machine-wash in the hottest water the fabric allows.
- Only place clothing in the dryer if the stain is gone after washing. Repeat steps if necessary.
Gravy contains fat, protein, and dairy, making for difficult stain removal. While you can remove gravy stains with methods similar to those for grease, a few extra steps are required for this stubborn spot:
- Scrape off any pooled gravy.
- Rub a drop of dishwashing soap into the stain.
- Rinse stain under cold running water.
- Pretreat with a laundry stain remover or soak in an enzyme-based detergent and water for 10-15 minutes.
- Machine-wash in the hottest water the fabric can tolerate, adding chlorine or color-safe bleach as appropriate.
- Place clothing in the dryer only if the stain is completely removed.
A guide on how to remove Thanksgiving food stains would be incomplete without cranberry sauce. And while it may be on every table, this deep red berry can leave a permanent mark if not treated quickly. Follow these steps to get cranberry sauce stains out of clothes immediately:
- Rinse away excess cranberry sauce and flush the stain with cool running water.
- Mix a solution of ½ tsp laundry detergent, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, and a qt of cool water. Soak the stain in the solution for 15 minutes.
- Rinse with cool water.
- If the stain is still visible, apply 1-2 drops of rubbing alcohol and rinse again.
- Launder in hot water with either chlorine or color-safe bleach.
Did cranberry sauce spill on your area rug? Before you wash your rug, use these same pretreatment steps for effective stain removal.
Stains from sweet potatoes are unmistakable, leaving a lingering orange hue on clothing. Here’s how to remove these spots before they permanently set:
- Remove any remaining sweet potato pieces.
- Turn the fabric inside out and flush the stain under cold running water.
- Pretreat with a laundry stain remover.
- Machine-wash in hot water with chlorine or color-safe bleach.
Even a drop of red wine can leave a permanent mark if not treated right away. Remove red wine stains from clothes with these quick and simple steps:
- Soak clothing in cool water for 30 minutes.
- Pretreat stain with a laundry stain remover for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Launder clothing on a regular wash setting with chlorine or color-safe bleach.
Knowing how to remove Thanksgiving food stains is all well and good, but non-food spots can be just as tricky, especially candle wax. These specific steps can remove candle wax from clothing:
- Scrape off hardened wax with a dull knife. If the wax hasn’t hardened yet, place the garment in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
- Place the stain between two clean, dry paper towels and press it with a warm iron. This should transfer the remaining wax to the paper towel.
- Once the wax is gone, pretreat any lingering stain with laundry stain remover for 10-15 minutes.
- Machine wash in hot water, using chlorine or color-safe bleach.