‘Tis the season for hosting, celebrating and decking the halls. But since all that fun can lead to spills and stains too, here is a handy guide to take those tough holiday messes that can be left behind.

  • Cranberry sauce on a cloth napkin: Cranberries produce a tannin stain, which can usually be removed only when it’s fresh. Use a dull knife or spoon edge to lift away sauce (but don’t rub or wipe it because that may push the sauce deeper in the fabric fibres). Rinse the cloth in cold water for one minute, then soak it for 15 minutes in cold water with 1 tbsp each of white vinegar and liquid laundry soap. Blot remaining stain with a clean cloth.
  • Sips of eggnog – down the front of your shirt: Dissolve a small amount of enzyme-containing liquid laundry detergent in cool water and stir until completely dissolved. Immerse the stained part of the shirt into the solution and soak for 30 minutes (or up to several hours if needed). After soaking, the stain should be gone. Immediately wash garment as normal.
  • Gravy on a linen tablecloth: Wipe and pre-treat the spot with a store-bought spot remover. Scrub the stain lightly with a soft bristled brush and rinse in hot water. Soak in enzyme detergent and water overnight. Wash in the hottest water possible, and dry normally.
  • Sticky candy cane on the tablecloth: Remove the candy cane pieces and soak the tablecloth for 30 minutes in cold water with a few drops of ammonia. Rinse, then soak for another 30 minutes in cold water with 1 tbsp white vinegar. Rinse, then hang to dry.