How to remove common party stains

The only thing we want left after a party is the memory of a good time. What we don't want are the wine, candle, beer, salsa and other common party stains left behind by guests.There will be no movie magic to clean up the mess after a party. You'll need some basic ingredients, elbow grease and patience. Use these tips to save your linens, carpet or upholstery.

Remove Wine Stains

*Clothing - The quicker you get to work on this tannin-based stain on clothing or slip covers, the better. When the wine stain is on clothing, soak the fabric with a half a teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one quart of warm water. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar. Avoid pre-treaters, bar soap or powder soaps. Treat stains caused by beer, other alcoholic drinks, coffee or soda the same way. Soak for 15 to 30 minutes and rinse. Stubborn or older stains may require bleach (if that's appropriate the fabric type and color).

Tip: This also works for beer, soda, fruit juices, coffees, salsa and other foods that contain tannins.

* Carpet - Mix a solution of one cup of water with one teaspoon liquid detergent (no alkali or bleach). Use a clean rag, like a sock with a hole in it, to dip in the solution. Blot the wine stained carpet. Next mix two-thirds of a cup of water with one-third of a cup of white vinegar. Blot again. If the stain remains, go back to the first mixture. Finish removing the wine stain from the carpet by dabbing the area with a damp, clean sponge.

Candle wax

Candles create ambiance, but hardened candle wax can make a mess of upholstery or table linens. Place an ice cube in a plastic bag and rub it against candle wax that's still soft to remove the wax. Next you need to remove any dyes left behind by the melted candle wax. Wipe the area with a clean cloth. Blot dry cleaning blotted on the spot that remains. Continue wiping with clean cloth and blotting with the dry cleaning solution until the candle wax spot is gone.

Mystery stains

The most perplexing stains are the ones you can't identify. Smelling the stain can help you figure out what it is, if you're brave. Otherwise, start with the most mild solutions for stain removal and then advance to the stronger ones. Begin with liquid dish detergent and water. Move on to vinegar and water. For clothing, pre-treat with a color- and fabric-safe treater and wash. Go ahead and use bleach on white items.