Entertaining, Holidays, Organization

Tips for Cleaning Up Common Holiday Messes in Your New Home

Congratulations! As a proud new homeowner, you can’t wait to welcome guests into your new abode for holiday gatherings. But having house guests usually means having a mess! And who wants that in their new digs?

Portrait of happy guys and girls enjoying New Year party with champagne and Bengal lights.

Getting a little dirty goes hand-in-hand with festive celebrations. And getting in the spirit becomes harder when you’re worried about protecting your new investment. Not to fear! Know these handy tips for when your guests go home, so while they’re there, you can enjoy your guests’ presence as much as their presents.

1. Vinegar Is Your Friend

Anyone who has spent any time in the cleaning aisle knows there’s a unique formulation for every mess imaginable, and the cost of cleaning supplies can add up quickly. Don’t waste your money on expensive specialty products when a bit of vinegar solution will do for most messes.

To make the solution, mix 2/3 cup water with 1/3 cup of pure white vinegar. Siphon into a spray bottle and use for anything from the bathroom sink to that delicate flat cook top. You can also pre-treat clothing stains with this solution, and the smell will wash out along with the stain in the washer.

2. Fight Red Wine with White

While it may seem illogical to treat a wine spill with more wine, using white wine to remove red wine stains has a scientific aim. The proteins in the white wine neutralize the proteins in red wine. For best results, dab up as much of the spill as possible. Mix one tablespoon baking soda with eight ounces of white wine. Pour over the stain and dab it up gently. If the wine stain is on clothing or your new white tablecloth, make sure you’ve fully removed the stain before putting the item in the dryer, so the heat doesn’t further set the stain.

A toppled glass of red wine with a dirty carpet.

3. Clean Candy from Carpet

Christmas candies can do more than cause cavities. It can create a sticky mess on your brand-new rug! Should your darling little gumdrop get chocolate on the rug, remove as much of the solid part as you can. Add a dash of cold water, and, using a white towel, dab clear dish soap on the stain. Let this sit for about five minutes, then wipe up the stain.

4. Tackle the Oven

Your oven takes a beating while roasting that Christmas turkey! To easily clean your oven, start while it’s still warm from baking. Boil a pot of water with one cup ammonia. Leave the pot in the oven overnight to loosen greasy stains, then wipe away the grime in the morning! If you have a stubborn sticky spot that won’t wipe off easily, use a bit of baking soda to scrape the gunk away.

5. Get Steamed!

Steam cleaners provide an environmentally safe way to keep your couches looking brand-new, as well as keeping your clothes wrinkle-free. Use the wide attachment for the wand, and steam over sofa stains. You can even remove spilled candle wax using this method! Use a butter knife to scrape away the excess wax, and use the steamy heat, along with a paper towel, to remove the rest.

6. Keep the Potty Polished

Nobody likes using a dirty bathroom but having a plethora of people using it can make it filthy quickly. To quickly clean a messy toilet, dump some straight white vinegar in the top of the tank, and spray the rest with your vinegar/water solution. Once you’ve let it soak, place a layer of toilet paper to sop up the unsightly spots. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe up the paper, flush and you’re done!

7. Remove Pine Sap

Love trekking into the woods for a real Christmas tree like Clark Griswold, but hate the sticky mess pine sap leaves behind? Don’t let fear of sap keep you from finding the perfect Douglas fir. You should already have hand sanitizer available during the cold and flu season. Put it to an additional use by dabbing a bit on a cotton ball and applying to the sap after scraping off as much as you can. Wait a few minutes for the alcohol to penetrate the sap, and gently rub away using a circular motion.

8. Un-Deck the Halls

Holiday decorating is a blast, but taking those festive wreaths and garlands down? Not so much. Tape leaves behind dirt-attracting residue that can quickly make your white walls dingy. Your vinegar solution should do the trick without damaging the paint. However, if any stubborn spots remain, mix baking soda and water into a paste. Let it nearly dry, then wipe with water.

Woman removing wreath from a wall.

Your new house is your castle, and you want your guests to enjoy your home and hospitality. So don’t panic when your Uncle Joe spills a glass of Cabernet or your little cousins decorate your new paint job with fingerprints. Keep these tips in mind, and your holidays will be merry, bright and sparkling clean! Don’t forget to show your yard some love this holiday season as well.

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