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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Sam Wylie-Harris

How to get rid of red wine and other Christmas spillages

When you’ve nailed every festive detail – and a few Santa-sized surprises along the way, there’s no room for error. Not when you’re the host or hostess with the mostest, anyway.

But there’s always the unexpected. Especially with so much going on, and lots of running around to keep everyone happy.

Here’s how to salvage any spills or marks with our expert tips…

Red Wine

“Probably one of the most common Christmas stains, this isn’t the easiest to remove,” says Lynsey Crombie, TV cleaning expert and bestselling author. “And please don’t chuck a glass of white wine over it, as it will be a complete waste. The trick never works.”

She says the key is to get to the stain as soon as possible. “Use cold water to try and release the stain, hydrogen peroxide works well on carpets, but do patch test your carpet first, ensure you dab and do not rub, as rubbing will make the stain worse,” warns Crombie.

For clothes, she says to liberally spray the stain with white vinegar and then after five minutes, soak in cold water. “Chuck in a few ice cubes too, so the water’s really cold.”

Failing this, she says to bag a bottle of Wine No More! Red Wine Stain Remover Spray (£8.99, Lakeland).

Candle Wax

Christmas and candles go hand in hand, but when the wax starts oozing or gets knocked, don’t panic.

“Wax is easy to remove,” says Crombie. “Start by using a blunt knife and scrape off as much as you can. Next, cover with brown paper or some kitchen roll and then apply heat.”

She says you can use your iron or hairdryer for this. “Put on a mid-heat setting and heat over the covered wax – the wax will liquidise and make it easier to remove.”

This will also work if wax gets splattered onto your walls, says Crombie. “After heating, wipe off as much as you can and remove any left residue with a soapy cloth.”


Imagine it. Dropping a delicious chocolate truffle on the carpet, or finding one trodden into the pile. “If the chocolate has dried, take a butter knife and gently remove as much as possible,” advises Jemma Dayman, carpet buyer for Carpetright. “However, if the chocolate has melted, blot with cold water to solidify.”

She says this will stop the spread of the stain and make it easier to remove. “Blot washing up liquid mix onto the stain with a clean cloth, using small circular motions to remove the stain.” Dayman continues. “Remove any excess water with a cloth. Brush with a soft brush if needs be, and allow to dry.”

Cranberry Sauce

A festive food favourite, Crombie says to rinse or blot any cranberry sauce spillages with cold water, spray with white vinegar and rub in some washing up liquid. “Let it sit, then blot using a white cloth, so you can see if the stain is lifting – and then wash as normal.”


Turkey, lashings of gravy, and then the spills. “Scrape of as much as you can using a blunt knife,” urges Crombie. “Then use warm water and washing up liquid, and it will easily remove.”

Sofa spillage

 Accidentally spilled something on your fabric sofa? “Try blotting it up as soon as possible,” recommends Gisela Lancaster, buying manager for Sofology.

“Use a clean, dry cloth and gently dab (never rub), moving the liquid towards the centre of the spillage. Once excess liquid has been removed, gently wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth, rinsing regularly until the stain has been removed.” she continues. “Dry naturally and then vacuum to revive the pile.”

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