Easy Party Cleanup Tricks

When the party's over and the guests are gone, you might find yourself alone with a pretty big mess. If you're not sure where to start, read on for great tips from Carolyn Forte at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

"The first thing you need to do is put all the food away," Carolyn says. "You don't want to keep any food out longer than two hours." So if you can muster up the energy to do only one thing, throw your leftovers in the fridge before you hit the hay.

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The immediate party aftermath is a great time to soak your tablecloth and linens. "Toss it in the washing machine, fill it up, and put it on a pre-soak cycle" if you want a head start on next morning's cleanup.

If stray drink glasses left water rings on your tables, never fear. Carolyn suggests taking a thick towel and placing it on top of the ring. Then, using a warm iron (without steam), gently iron over the towel. "What that's doing is softening the finish a little bit to release that moisture," Carolyn explains.

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To clean up broken glass, first sweep up large shards, and then wrap and throw them away. For the smaller harder-to-see bits, take a piece of soft bread and dab it over the area where the glass broke. "It will pick it right up," she says.

For the dreaded red wine spill, blot it and spritz the area with cool tap or seltzer water. "You've started to dissolve it and keep it from setting in, and you can address it the next day," Carolyn says. From there, she recommends Wine Away, which the Good Housekeeping Research Institute found as the best wine stain remover.

Finally, a cleanup tip from Ereka, herself. "Get your husband to help!"