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Dealing With Stains After a Party: A Case Study

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 23 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Stain Stain Remover Party Ketchup Stains

John and Rebecca had decided to give a house-warming party so their friends could see their new home. With 50 people coming and food and drink flowing freely, it was a rowdy party and everyone enjoyed themselves well into the night.

The Messy Aftermath

When the last guest finally left, Rebecca surveyed the damage for the first time.

“There were spills and stains everywhere!” Rebecca remembers. “My heart just sank – it was after midnight and all we wanted to do was collapse in bed. The last thing we felt like doing was getting down on our hands and knees to scrub the floor…”

John convinced Rebecca that the clean-up job could wait until the morning and the two hurried off to bed.

Stain Disaster

In the morning, whilst John stacked the dishwasher and cleared up the room, Rebecca rolled up her sleeves to start tackling the stains. She thought that a good scrub with a brush and some soapy water should do the trick but to her horror, it seemed like most of the stains had set deep into the carpet or upholstery. In a panic, she called her mother.

“I spoke to my mother and she immediately told us the first thing we’d done wrong,” says Rebecca ruefully. “We should have tackled the stains immediately! No matter how tired we were – we should have at least done some emergency management, like blotting up as much of the spillage as possible with paper towels, sprinkling bicarbonate soda on the stains to absorb the stain or just rinsing quickly with some soda water to dilute the stain. My mother explained that the quicker a stain was treated, the more likely it was to come out successfully.”

Rebecca also learnt that scrubbing violently at stains was not a good idea – harsh, physical methods are more likely to push the stain deeper into the carpet fibres or to spread the stain to a wider area. The best method was actually gentle treatment with the right stain remover.

Stain Removers Save The Day

Armed with her mother’s advice, Rebecca began tackling the stains the right way. First, she looked through her pantry and got hold of some bicarbonate soda, lemon juice and vinegar. She was also lucky to find some glycerine in their store cupboard.

“I worked out that there were basically 3 types of stains,” says Rebecca. “Most of the stains were actually from red wine, a couple were coffee stains and then there were one or two stains from the ketchup that was going around.”

Rebecca used a solution of one teaspoon of vinegar in one quart of cold water on the coffee stains – this solution helped to loosen the stain, then she was able to rinse it out by dabbing with soda water and then blotting dry – and repeating several times until the stain had lightened.

For the red wine stains on the table cloth, she was lucky that the fabric was machine-washable, although she followed her mother’s advice of pouring boiling water through the stain first. She made sure to check the cloth after it was washed before putting it in the dryer, to make sure that all traces of the stain had gone – otherwise the heat from the tumble dryer would set the stain permanently.

Finally, she tackled the ketchup stains by rubbing glycerine on the stains to loosen it, then gently dabbing with a solution of warm water and detergent, before rinsing with the dab and blot method.

“Thankfully, most of the stains did come out in the end,” says Rebecca. “But we sure learnt our lesson! Next time we have a party, we’ll deal with the stains immediately, no matter how tired we are!”

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