Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011: Homemade Stain Solutions

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As you begin to take our your Christmas decorations after being stored for a year or so, you may see that some of the items are stained. Luckily, getting your holiday d├ęcor in tip-top shape for parties or guests is a breeze when you use simple household ingredients.

Note: I was reminded of many of these recipes after reading last week’s American Profile magazine (I want to give credit where credit is due).

Coffee Cup Stains

One of my favorite holiday displays is a collection of snowman coffee mugs I put in the hutch cabinet in my kitchen. But during the holidays, I often serve my guests hot chocolate and tea, which tend to leave stains in the bottom of the cups. The solution? A teaspoon of baking soda and water to fill the cup will do the trick. For really stubborn stains, fill the cup with plain white vinegar and allow to sit overnight.

White Tablecloths and Linens

Tablecloths that are stored for long periods of time tend to get yellow. Make them bright white again by soaking in a basin of cool water to which the juice of one lemon has been added (you can also do this in your washing machine prior to running a regular washing cycle). Use a tablespoon of vinegar in the rinse cycle for even more brightening.

Before washing a load of whites, let them soak for half an hour first in the washing machine with 1 to 2 cups hydrogen peroxide added to the normal amount of laundry detergent.

To remove grease stains from napkins, rub in a bit of liquid dish detergent before laundering.
Carpet Stains

I haven’t tried this one myself yet, but Mary Findley, quoted in the American Profile article, claims that shaving cream works well to remove stains from furniture because it stays on top of the fabric. The same concept should hold true for carpet; just be sure to test it on an inconspicuous spot first in case it has an adverse effect on the dye.

Plain sudsy ammonia, diluted with warm water, works well on small carpet stains. Spray it on and then use an absorbent white cloth to absorb the liquid (use the bottom of your foot to dab at the stain with the cloth). Repeat as many times as necessary to remove the stain. This works well on spilled red wine, juice or soda.

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