True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

Thanksgiving holiday stains: Do's and don'ts


Thanksgiving dinner

The Thanksgiving holiday is near and the conversation is all about food and food preparation.

But along with Thanksgiving comes the risk of food and other spills on your fine garments and table linens. There's the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, wine and coffee. Even lipstick marks on napkins and candlewax on table cloths and runners. And don't forget those grass and sand stains from touch football in the backyard as you're burning off those holiday calories. 

But Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without the obligatory TV news segment featuring some local dry cleaner dispensing advice about how to remove gravy or cranberry sauce stains from a garment or table linen.

My advice? Ignore that advice.

Here's what you should know ...

There are 5 important things to bear in mind when it comes to treating those Thanksgiving holiday stains:

  • Ignore the advice of those around you.

Clearly, they're just trying to be helpful in an awkward situation. Unfortunately, they're not skilled stain removal technicians, and don't have the technical knowledge, tools, chemical agents, and specialized equipment necessary to "treat" the garment or table linen.

  • Don't apply any quick-fix miracle cures.

Their "advice" may sound plausible because it often involves "stuff" you've heard about: ammonia, baby wipes, baking soda, club soda, coca cola, dishwashing liquid, hairspray, hydrogen peroxide, hot/cold water, laundry detergent/soap, lemon juice, lighter fluid, meat tenderizer, salt, sun, vinegar, WD-40, water or white wine. Commercial products such as OxyClean and Wine Away. And let's not forget those "guaranteed" spot removers promoted on late night TV, at supermarket check outs, and in TV guides and tabloid newspapers.

Truth is, their "advice" is probably nothing more than a mixture of folklore, old wives tales, home remedies, and hazy memories about something they'd heard from someone at Thanksgiving a few years back.

Most of these quick-fix miracle cures just spread the stain, result in the formation of rings, bleed the dyes, and "pull" the color out of the fabric. Furthermore, they make future removal or restoration by a skilled stain removal technician a difficult, if not impossible task.

I can't begin to recall the number of ruined garments and table linens we've seen accompanied by the comment: "I know I shouldn't have done anything, but..."

  • Gently blot the spill, splash or splatter with a white cotton napkin or towel. Never wipe. Never rub. Never scrub.

I'll repeat that: Never wipe. Never rub. Never scrub. Just gently blot the fabric to absorb as much of the spill, splash or splatter as possible. They leave it alone and take it to a true quality cleaner who is recognized for their stain removal and restoration skills.

  • Oil-based stains such as turkey grease, gravy and butter as well as candlewax need to be emulsified or dissolved by dry cleaning solvent or fluid before they're laundered.

So if you have tablecloths and napkins with grease stains, for example, you need to dry clean first. Otherwise you run the risk of oxidizing these grease stains when you put those table linens in the dryer and apply heat. Oxidized oil stains manifest themselves as yellow spots on your fine table linens.

  • Water-based stains such as juice, coffee, wine and beer can generally be removed by using a wet cleaning process.

When in doubt, consult your true quality cleaner.

Happy holidays.

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1 comment(s) for “Thanksgiving holiday stains: Do's and don'ts ”
  1. Gravatar of Stain Removal
    Stain Removal Says:
    I don't agree with your conclusion "don't apply any quick fix miracle cures". In a case you didn't know, in every household in the world exists many of stuffs that can be usable in stain removal, for example: lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda etc.
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