Home & Family

How to Tackle 6 Common Thanksgiving Messes

Ready for Thanksgiving? We’re counting down with great stories that will get you ready (and inspired!) to make it a beautiful holiday. And don’t miss our collection of 40+ no-fail recipes!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful day filled with family, football, food, and all the cleanup that remains after the feast is finished. No matter who you are, where you live, or how many guests you’ll have, there’s no getting around the hazards that a food-focused holiday brings.

Before we begin, here are some important reminders when dealing with any stain:

– Treat pronto.

– Read the care label on any fabric or surface.

– Pre-test an inconspicuous area first.

– Blot (never rub!)

– Do not put fabrics in the dryer until stain is completely out – heat will set it.

Now, let’s get down to some simple ways to tackle the most common messes:

Seeing Red…Wine!

That pinot noir may have been the perfect choice with your turkey, but it isn’t so great on your blouse. Accidents happen, though, and help is only one glass of white wine away! As soon as possible:

1. Blot any excess, then cover with Kosher salt (its coarse texture is more effective).

2. Leave it on for a few minutes before wiping off.

3. Pour either white wine, white vinegar, or baking soda on the stain, and let it sit for a few minutes. (Note: You can actually use the white wine or vinegar first, and then sprinkle baking soda on to remove any odor. Hydrogen peroxide will also work, but only use it on whites, because it’s a natural bleach.)

4. Launder per usual.

Courtesy of VeganBaking.net/Flickr

Berry Berry Bad

Everyone loves to load up on cranberry sauce, but as they do it, they leave drips on your tablecloth. Simply reach for your aerosol hairspray to deal with the mess!

1. If any remains, remove with a butter knife first.

2. Douse with aerosol hairspray (the alcohol is an effective cleanser).

3. Blot with clean cloth or paper towels.

4. Launder per usual.

A Sinking (Gravy) Boat

Turkey without gravy is like a peanut butter sandwich without jelly. But this Thanksgiving necessity is seriously messy. Here’s an easy way to combat stains before they set:

1. Scrape off excess gravy.

2. Cover with baby powder, which will absorb the oil.

3. Leave on for about 15-20 minutes.

4. Launder with an enzyme detergent such as OxiCLean or Tide Original which are easily found in your local supermarket, drug or retail superstores. Enzymes help break down the proteins, making it easier to lift them out.

Shards from the Chardonnay: Broken Glass

Glass fragments are hard to pick up with your dust pan or hand-held vacuum, and you don’t want to accidentally cut yourself by using your hands. One way to help ensure that you don’t miss those slivers is to use bread.

1. Take a fresh piece of bread, and press it down on the area where the glass broke.

2. Lift and repeat until all the glass is gone.

Courtesy of echiner1/Flickr

Wax On…Wax Off

Candle drips can be a real pain in the you-know-what when they get all over your tablecloth. Here’s a simple way to make them melt away:

1. Heat your iron on a warm setting.

2. Put a paper towel or thin, clean cloth on top of the hardened wax.

3. Place the iron on top of the towel or cloth. DO NOT MOVE IT AROUND unless you wish to spread the wax!

4. Hold the iron in place for 5-10 seconds.

5. Remove the iron and the cloth or paper.

6. Repeat until all the wax is gone – and consider using non-drip candles next time!

Bonus: Celebrating Thanksgivukkah? Here’s how to tidy the candle wax from your menorah:

1. Use a blow dryer with nozzle on and set on high.

2. Direct the hot air into the base where the candles are held, and hold for 20-30 seconds until the residue wax melts.

3. Use a cotton swab to scoop up melted residue.

To prevent wax build-up in the future, spray the candle holder (non-precious metals only!) with cooking spray before you put in the candles.

Ring Around (and on) the Table: Watermarks

Careless guest left their drink on your wood furniture? While you’re whipping up turkey salad leftovers, use a dollop of mayonnaise to get rid of the rings they left behind.

1. Apply a generous amount of mayo directly onto the mark.

2. Rub it in with a paper towel, and leave it overnight.

3. Wipe and buff with a clean microfiber cloth.

Note: If you have any ashes from your fireplace, add them to the mayo to help create a gentle scrub. Use a 1:1 ration of ashes to mayo. If your table has a lot of wax, add a bit more ash. Rub the mix in the direction of the wood grain. Baking soda can be used as an alternative to the ashes.

[Top image courtesy of Flickr/gromgull]

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray