Two Simple Wishes

Holiday Clean Up-Linens & Removing Stains

Holiday Clean Up…Part 2.  The decorations are put away, so now it’s time to tackle the clean up that is less than fun…LAUNDRY and stain removal.

Table Linens

Tablecloths are not something that get used a lot in our house.  But the holidays are definitely a time when they get pulled out and used.  Here is how I deal with them once the holidays are over.

Wash them as soon as possible.  If there are any stains, the sooner you clean them, the better chance you have of removing the stains.  (See the stain removal section below.)

Once they are clean, send them to a dry cleaner to be pressed…unless of course, you love to iron.  I don’t.

Hang the clean tablecloth up with a hanger in a closet, so it is ready to go when you need it.

Stain Removal

Holidays and stains go hand in hand.

So here is my holiday stain story.   We had Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws.  I helped myself to a generous portion of cranberries.  I unwittingly dropped an equally generous blob of cranberries on my chair.  Unaware, I sat down.  I sat there…for the entire meal…smashing them into the light green upholstered dining room chair.  When I finally got up, I was mortified when I saw what happened.  My mother-in-law is a saint and the model for how to handle a situation like this.  She said, “Don’t worry about it.” (Like that’s going to happen).  “The upholstery on those chairs has been there for years” she said.  I couldn’t just let it go; so while the rest of the gang cleaned up the dishes, I went to work on the chair.  I used a tried and truth method (although never tested on an upholstered chair); and it worked beautifully.  Imagine my relief.  I thought Black Friday shopping was going to include replacing the dining room chairs!

Berry Stains

(The following is a dramatic recreation…just not on a chair.)

Cranberry stain

ARRGGGH.  (There’s more, but it’s important to get that out of the way first, especially if you are dealing with a big juicy berry stain.)

Take a deep breath and soldier on.

You will need:  Boiling water, a bowl or strainer, and clips (I like using office binder clips).

Boil the water in something that is easy to pour, such as a tea kettle.

Tea kettle

While you wait for the water to boil, stretch the stained item over a bowl or strainer that has been placed in a sink.   Attach the item to the bowl with clips.  Make sure the item is stretched tight.  (I got this strainer at Ikea for $2.99 (!) for my laundry room sink.  When it isn’t being used to remove stains, it holds brushes and other things I used in the sink.)


Cranberry stain stretched out

Once the water boils, carefully pour the boiling water over the stain from a distance of at least 12 inches.

Boiling water

It may take more than one attempt.  This is what the stain looked like after the first attempt.

Cranberry stain 1st attempt

And then the second attempt.

Cranberry stain 2nd attempt


I have used this technique many times, and every time, I’m surprised it works.

For an upholstered dining chair:  Remove the seat from the chair.  Do not remove the fabric because it might shrink from the boiling water.  Place the chair seat on a large empty bowl in a sink.  Pour boiling water over the stain.  Since everything on the chair seat will get wet (wood, padding, fabric), it’s important to make sure it dries properly.  Set it in the sun, or place it in a warm spot, such as near a heating vent.

Red Wine Stains

The technique above also works for red wine stains.  The only difference is that you cover the stain first with salt before pouring the boiling water over it.

Wine stain with salt

Here is a before and after picture of one of my favorite shirts that got red wine on the front.

Wine stain before

Wine stain after

The wine stain was gone.  All that was left were the splatter stains from cooking dinner – which I handled with the following solution.

Other Stains

The never fail solution for most other stains is The Amazing Whip-It Stain Remover.


A 32 oz. bottle is $9.99.  I get mine at Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% coupon.  I love it because it has removed stains that I had given up on.  I love it even more, because it is eco-friendly, plant-based and non-toxic.  Our dear Dewey has put this stuff to the test (I’ll spare you the gross pictures) and it has won every time.

What stain removal tricks do you have up your sleeve?  Share them in the Comments below.

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