We know, Christmas is a few days away yet and you are still planning your New Year’s Eve celebrations. But we thought we’d follow the wise mantra ‘Forearmed is forewarned’ and take some of the sting out of the Post – Christmas clean up. With all the feasting and partying comes inevitable mess: tablecloth stains, spills, greasy ovens. Not a pretty sight. Stock up on simple household items in advance and you won’t need to worry about bothersome red wine spills, wax drips and gravy stains. And there’s no need for toxic, grease-busting products, all these ideas use environmentally-friendly, cheap and ready-to-hand items. You can simply sail through the festive season safe in the knowledge that you can deal with anything (drunken relatives notwithstanding).
Here’s our handy hints for stress-free, eco-friendly holiday-season cleaning.
Gravy is such an essential part of any big roast meal, whatever meat you are roasting, but it does have a tendency to drip and spill when people are passing it round the table. Never fear, your beautiful white linen tablecloth can be rescued. Here’s how:
- If you are mid-meal cover the gravy stain with table salt, cornstarch or baking soda (don’t whip off the tablecloth while your guests are still eating, just subtly sprinkle the stain)
- Scrape off any excess gravy with a knife
- Blot with a damp white cloth and some liquid dishwashing detergent
- Pretreat with an oxygen bleach solution – soak for a few hours
- Wash at the highest temperature possible, according to the item’s care instructions
We all love some festive candles, but occasionally we end up with wax spilling onto linens and other tableware. To avoid this, invest in some top quality candles as they burn better, make less mess and are easier to clean up. But if you do get wax on your linen tablecloth, fear not. Here’s what to do:
- Put the linens into the freezer, with the wax uppermost
- Once the wax has properly cooled, gently scrape off any excess bits with a blunt knife or your fingernail
- Place unwaxed brown paper (a paper bag cut in two will be perfect) or plain white kitchen towel under the fabric and on top of the wax stain
- Iron on as high a heat as your fabric will allow until all the oils from the stain have transferred onto the paper
- Spritz with water to see if there is any wax residue – this will resist the water – and repeat steps 3-4 if necessary
- Wash your linen according to the care instructions
Red wine stains
Mulled wine and red wine are integral to holiday festivities, but they are a nightmare where your table linens, and clothes, are concerned. Take these measures if there is a red wine spill and you can prevent any disasters.
- Act quickly (see here for more). Blot the excess liquid without rubbing in, or cover with table salt, cornstarch or baking soda to absorb the wine
- Dab with a white towel soaked in liquid dishwashing soap (bar soaps will just set the stain), white vinegar or a baking soda paste
- If someone has used a napkin to mop up and the stain has dried in, soak in club soda or natural stain remover
- Wash on a cool cycle to avoid setting the stain
Brilliant seasonal cleaning tips for when it’s all over and your kitchen looks like a bomb site
- Olive oil makes a brilliant cleaner to buff stainless steel pans. Mix with coarse salt to make a great scrub for cast iron skillets that have taken a battering over the holidays
- White vinegar will get rid of water stains on glasses
- To clean a post-turkey grease-filled oven, spritz inside the oven with water and make a simple paste from baking soda and water. Spread the paste around the entire inside of the oven (removing the racks first), using a paint brush or old pastry brush if you have one to hand. Leave to work its magic for a few hours, or overnight if possible. Wipe off the paste with a clean, damp cloth or spatula, spray with white vinegar and wipe out any remaining residue (which will form a kind of foam with the vinegar). Keep wiping and rinsing until the oven gleams. Make sure all the residue is gone before you turn the oven on. Voila: no toxic chemical cleaners that make your house stink, and no smoky self-cleaning settings. Just a little elbow grease and simple household ingredients.
Follow these tips and you can go into the New Year with a clear kitchen, if not a clear head.
Happy holidays all you lovely LinenMe customers!