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Party Stain Survival Guide

Immediately The Morning After

Coffee

For black coffee, mist the stain with a solution of 1/4 tsp. dishwashing liquid and one cup of water; blot until color is no longer absorbed. Rinse with warm water. For coffee with cream/sugar, use a dry spotter with a cloth and blot until the cloth stops absorbing color. Don’t pour solvent directly onto the fabric. Saturate the area with water.

Smear glycerin over the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes, then repeat the steps from the night before. If any stain remains, spray on three-percent hydrogen peroxide and don’t rinse.

Key Tools: Dishwashing liquid, dry spotter, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide

Chocolate

Get up as much as you can with a slightly damp, absorbent cloth; then use a dry spotter solvent on a clean white cloth and blot. Don’t pour the solvent directly onto the fabric because it can dissolve the latex backings of many rugs and carpets. When the stain is gone, follow up by saturating the area with clean water.

If the spot remains, spray on three-percent hydrogen peroxide (not mixed with water) and don’t rinse.

Key Tools: Dry spotter solvent (K2R, Carbona, or Energine); hydrogen peroxide

Mud

If it’s a significant amount, try to wipe it up without driving it deeper into the fibers. DO NOT use water—most of the mud is probably just sitting on the surface, and water will only spread it down into the material. Just let the mud dry and wait until morning.

Vacuum it up (you’ll get 90 percent of the mud). Stain’s still there? Sponge with a few drops of white vinegar and finish by sponging again with warm water.

Key Tools: Vacuum, wet spotter, white vinegar

Red Wine

Sprinkle the stain with table salt and blot with a damp absorbent cloth; then sponge the stain with a few drops of white vinegar until no more color is being removed. Sponge with rubbing alcohol; saturate with water to flush out the spot. Still there? Spread a cloth over the stain and put a heavy book on top; leave it overnight.

If there is any remaining color, spray on three-percent hydrogen peroxide and don’t rinse. Or you can buy a product called Wine Away, which is miraculously effective at removing vino stains.

Key Tools: Salt, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Wine Away

Cocktail Sauce

Blot as much as you can with a slightly damp cloth, and then mist stain with a solution of ¼ tsp. dishwashing liquid and one cup of water. Agitate it gently with your fingers. Blog again. Spritz the area with water to remove the soap. Spread a cloth over the stain and put a heavy book on top of the cloth; leave it overnight.

If a stain remains, blot the area with a cloth soaked in a solution of one part white vinegar and two parts water until the stain disappears. Finish by flushing the area with warm water.

Key Tools: Dishwashing liquid, white vinegar

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