red wine

The holidays are chaos on a home. All manner of spills and messes occur when holiday parties get a little too merry. Christmas trees leave pinesap stains. There are…new…odors from all of the extra houseguests. Tablecloths end up looking like a food war was waged on them. Before you panic that Uncle Jerry spilled red wine on your new cream rug, check out these five eco cleaning solutions for typical holiday cleaning crises.

1. Red wine spills

When it comes to red wine spills, try to get at the stain before it sets. If the offending stain happens on your tablecloth, head to the sink, fill the kettle and pour boiling water over the area as soon as possible. For red wine stains on carpets, treat the spot with club soda. It should come out immediately. If not, blot the area with water and then sprinkle baking soda on top to form a paste. Let the baking soda sit for a while, and continue to keep the paste moist with water from a spray bottle. After a few hours, scrub to remove the stain.

2. Odors (all kinds)

Any odors the holidays bring your way, you can fight with white vinegar and baking soda. Clean out trashcans with a bit of white vinegar and a good scrubbing. Hide boxes of baking soda in every room to absorb odors. (Don’t forget to stash one inside the fridge too.) Nix funky toilet smell with the combined sudsy power of baking soda, vinegar and a good scrub.

Spritz fabrics (beds, curtains, tablecloths, carpets) with a fine mist of vinegar mixed with water to remove odors before guests arrive. Just spray the mixture enough in advance that the vinegar smell has time to dissipate. Or, try this trick: If you want to make your whole house smell amazing with little effort, fill a pot with about an inch of water. Add any leftover citrus peels you may have—orange, lemon, grapefruit—along with a few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg to the pot. Set the pot to boil and let it simmer. The mixture will emit an intoxicating smell that will fill your whole house. Continue to replace the water as it evaporates for as long as you want to enjoy the scent.

3. Pinesap problems

Did that fresh cut holiday tree brush up on your curtains or couch on the way to the front window? Maybe some tacky pinesap from those boughs fell on your carpet? If your Christmas tree created a sticky situation on the fabric in your home, you can remove it the eco-way with rubbing alcohol. Simple dab and scrub using a rag and your handy bottle of rubbing alcohol. Just be sure to spot-check a hidden area of the fabric before attacking the pinesap with your rubbing alcohol to make sure it doesn’t discolor the fabric. Oils are great for removing sticky pinesap residue from hands by the way. Use whatever you have on hand—vegetable, olive, your facial oil, it doesn’t matter.

4. Cranberry sauce stains

If a splotch of cranberry sauce falls on your tablecloth or clothes, start by flushing the stain with cool water. Don’t use hot water, or the stain will set. Soak the item in a sink filled with cool water, a splash of white vinegar, and a few squirts of a natural liquid laundry soap. Let it soak for about 30 minutes. If the pesky stain is still there, pat the area with rubbing alcohol and then soak it again.

5. Water rings on wood

When guests fail to use the provided coasters, you’re left with water rings on your favorite antique table. Don’t worry! Remove the stain by mixing cooking oil with enough salt to make a paste. Gently massage the stain with the oil-salt mixture until it disappears. You could also rub the stain with most any time of nut, although walnuts or almonds would probably work best. The natural oils in the nuts will return the wood to its former stain-free luster.

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image: donireewalker