Holiday Stains and How to Remove Them: 5 Toughest Holiday Stains Removed

Cloth napkins: 

I will assume you pull out the good cloth napkins at the holidays, although you can use them all year long. Just sayin. The easiest way to treat cloth napkins stains is to soak them as soon as the meal is over.  I know many families use the same cloth napkins for several rounds of meals. They leave the napkin at their individual place settings and use them repeatedly during the day. To avoid working harder to remove stains later, use a clean cloth napkin for each meal. It might appear to be more eco by reusing the same napkin, but we are taking stains here and it takes a lot of napkins to make a full load. Stains are easily conquered when treated quickly. Most likely you will not be washing clothes on a holiday so keep a large bowl or bucket ready and when possible, filled with dissolved oxygen bleach aka sodium percarbonate. Best results if soaked overnight. The longer oxygen bleach is given to work, the better it will work!

Tablecloth stains can be a bit tougher. If you are like me, you will not be changing your tablecloth during the festivities, altho not a bad idea now that I say it out loud; but we can talk about that another day. We know it’s best to treat stain right away so the same goes for the tablecloth. Using a butter knife or a straight edge to remove solid pieces; like they do for you at fancy restaurants. Your guests will appreciate your attention to the finer details. Best to treat stains and remove excess food as soon as possible. 

If you see a liquid mess, do your best to blot it up then spot treat it. When solid and liquids have been removed from the stain, then Tangie Stain Remover Bar. You can then toss the tablecloth into the washing machine after the festivities. When possible, soak the tablecloth at the end of the day instead of in the morning. The overnight soak in a prepared water solution with some sodium percarbonate will also brighten and whiten your fabrics.


This stain can be tough because of all the starch in the gravy. The key is to keep it moist until ready to launder. When you see the gravy spill, use your handy crumb scraper to pick up what you can then soak a piece of bread (white, don’t get more fancy) with club soda and place on the gravy stain. Leave the bread until you are ready to wash the fabric. Try rinsing out the stain using cold water, it may come out completely before you put it in the washer. If the stain is still present after rinsing, mix up a cup of water and a little natural laundry or dish soap, blotting until clean; then launder as usual.  

Cranberry Sauce: 

This is a problem around my house. For years I have used the stain removing process I learned from an article I cut out from a Good Housekeeping magazine; and yes I still do that, when I have a magazine. I checked Good Housekeeping’s website and found this great article detailing removal from upholstery and carpets, and that seems valuable.  

For now, the discussion is about removing cranberry sauce from fabric. First thing is to flush the stain with water. Fill a bowl with 32 ounces of water, 1 tsp of the best plastic free laundry detergent and 1 tsp white vinegar. Stir until blended, add stained item and soak for minimum 15 minutes, then rinse with water. Blot until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the stain disappears.If you have oxygen bleach aka sodium percarbonate available, use it. It is like magic! Dissolve 1 tsp in the water before soaking. Stubborn stains may need a little more attention. You can sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol and rinse thoroughly until the stain is gone, then launder as usual. 

Red Wine: 

Yes, the #1 stain made over the holidays is from red wine. Best removed when wet and BLOT do not rub! If the stain remains after blotting, try rinsing the spot with white wine or club soda. If the stains persist try pouring salt or baking soda on the spot and allow it to soak up the stain. Do NOT scrub. Have an old dried red wine stain? Try the steps provided here– hopefully it will still come out with a little more effort.

With any stain, treating it asap is best. You can remove most stains with a good rinse in cold water (not scrubbing), then treating the spot with a quality natural stain remover and laundering immediately. 

REMEMBER: Always check the stain spot BEFORE placing the item in the dryer.  If the stain is still visible, repeat the process again. The dryer can set the stain into the fibers so be sure to check the stain prior to drying. Be careful using vinegar in your rinse cycle of the washing machine. Vinegar can set in come stains, making them harder to remove.


#1. Blot, not rub.

#2. Keep a ‘soak bucket’ ready to drop stain items into.

#2. Club Soda is a must around the holidays and not just for cocktails.

#3. Tangie cleaning products work together so you don’t have to work harder.

#4. Life gets messy. Enjoy making the stains. Sometimes they tell the best stories.

The holidays produce enough waste, so when possible always choose the best zero waste and plastic-free products. The planet will appreciate it and so will your garbage collector!


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