Tomato stain removal is the most frustrating aspect of cleaning up after a cookout. Next to the stubborn red of Solanum lycopersicum, removing coffee stains is a snap. Of course, as a seasoned hostess you already know that in addition to tomato splatter and coffee cup rings, there will be wine stains and the inevitable grease. While you may wonder what your guests were doing with the napkins you so generously provided, now is not the time to cry over spilled sauce. Use a few creative ways to remove stains most commonly left behind by guests, and you may just find yourself in the mood for another cookout.
Removing Coffee Stains like a Pro
The acrylic fibers of your patio tablecloths may resist fading in the sunlight, but the prolonged contact with spilled coffee left a mark. Since you do not know if the offending guest took the coffee black or diluted it with cream, begin with the classic vinegar soak. Shake out the tablecloth, soak it in lukewarm water with a tablespoon each of dishwashing detergent and white vinegar and follow up with a rinse in cool water. Is the problem solved? No? You may have to tackle lingering dairy enzymes. Grab an old toothbrush and rub a few drops of ammonia and laundry detergent into the fabric. Rinse and repeat as often as necessary to get the stain out.
Wine Stain Removal Advice from the Experts
So your guests spilled some red wine on the throw rug? Not a problem! While the ways to remove stains caused by the fruit of the vine run the gamut, Food Network experts have broken down the task to a few surprisingly simple steps. Rinse the stain with white wine -- do not use the good kind -- and blot the stain in between treatments. Once sufficiently removed, follow up with a club soda and a white vinegar rinse. Repeat this cycle until the wine stain is only a distant memory.
Removing Grease Stains from Fabrics
If you said it once, you said it a hundred times: Do not touch the curtains with greasy hands. Did your guests -- in particular the pint-sized ones -- listen? No! So get out your old toothbrush, mix together powdered bathtub cleaner, baking soda and lukewarm water, and start scrubbing. Let the paste sit on the grease stain for half an hour and then rinse it with lukewarm water. If the stain is still there, repeat.
Tomato Stain Removal Advice from the Trenches
Brush off any dried on tomato residue. Cut open a fresh lemon and squeeze its juice onto the tomato stain. Rub in the juice and then rinse the fabric with cool water. If the tomato proves tougher than the lemon, soak the fabric in lukewarm water. Add a tablespoon each of white vinegar and dishwashing detergent and agitate the fabric. Scrub the stain with the old toothbrush. Rinse and repeat until the tomato capitulates.
Warning: Remember the Fabric Test!
While these tried and true ways to remove stains have yielded success, remember that your fabrics and mine are probably very different. Test any pastes and liquids on a hidden corner of the fabric to ensure that the cure does not cause bigger problems than the stains.
More Stain Removal Advice from Sylvia Cochran