Quick Cleaning & Stain Fighting Tips to Prepare for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and, if you are hosting dinner, you are probably getting ready for it. I know I am. We usually have around 45 people, so I have to start in early November.

This morning, I was on the Morning Living show on Martha Stewart Living Radio with hosts Kim Fernandez and Betsy Karetnick talking about stain fighting recipes from pantry staples in preparation for Thanksgiving. So, I thought I was share some of them with you.

Since we have dogs, one of my chores in preparation for Thanksgiving is to doggy deodorize the carpets, rugs and upholestered furnitue. What I do is just sprinkle some baking soda on the carpet and rugs, and on the couch cushions that aren’t removable. I let it sit at least 30 minutes – the longer the better – and then vacuum up. Deodorizing done!

To clean my wood floors, I just use a mixture of vinegar and water – at a one to one ratio. If I need some cleaning boost, I’ll squirt in some castile soap. Now, for those of you who don’t like the odor of vineger, I’ve got a  tip for you. Simmer some water on the stove or use an electric water pot, and add your favorite essential oils (pure essential oils, not synthetic) or add some cinnamon, cloves, orange peels, pine needles, whatever you like. Do this while you are cleaning and you won’t notice the vinegar. Plus, your whole house will smell amazing without phthalate-containing synthetic scents.

Okay, now what about fighting stains? For a fresh red wine stain (doesn’t somebody always spill red wine?), blot up what you can (don’t rub, you don’t want to force it into the carpet fiber) and then throw on some coarse salt. Be generous. The salt will absorb the color and keep it from setting while you figure out what to do. You can leave it on overnight and then vacuum in the morning. Then mix 1 cup cool water, 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) and a very small squirt of dishwashing soap. Spray this on the area, and gently blot up, working the stain out. Don’t saturate the carpet. Once done, put a clean white rag or towel over the area to wick up the moisture. Be careful with the soap – you don’t want soap residue on your carpet which can then attract dirt in the future. And, if you have a wool carpet, use hydrogen peroxide sparingly and skip the squirt of dishwashing soap.

Another option is to use white wine to neutralize the red wine and then blot up. Then follow with the salt and cleaning solution routine.

For coffee, you need to replace the acidic coffee (which gets into the carpet fiber) with a stronger acid. First, blot up what you can using a dry, clean towel. The blot with a mixture of water and distilled white vinegar, and let that sit for 15 minutes. Then blot up with a slighty damp rag.

For greasy food stains, take up what you can and then try a mixture of vinegar and water. Vinegar cuts grease, and usually will perform well.

For candle wax, freeze it by adding ice cubes in a ziploc bag or frozen veggies in a ziploc bag. Then gently lift what you can using a blunt knife. Then, use paper towels or a paper bag, placing these over the spot. The use a clean rag, and iron gently on the lowest setting. Be careful if your carpeting is synthetic – you do not want to melt the fibers. Check the paper towel or paper bag repeatedly, and switch out once you see a stain.

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