They say the holidays are the best time of year — and certainly one of the most chaotic. Indulgent feasts and holiday parties, combined with live bushes and colorful decorations in the house, can wreak havoc, leaving stained tablecloths, furniture and rugs, a hodgepodge of kitchens and bombs everywhere tree needles. As a cleaning expert, people are often surprised when I say that spring, my namesake cleaning job, isn’t my busiest of the year: the holidays are. Frankly, the holidays were a disaster.
To help ease the mess, I’ve rounded up the best products and tools for just about any holiday cleaning problem, and asked a few other experts to ask what products they swear by to clean up the most common holiday messes, from cranberry sauce to spilled wax .
Preparing and serving holiday meals can result in a lot of dishes to wash—including special-occasion items that require delicate handling. If you’re throwing a holiday party, add these items to your shopping list so you’ll have everything you need to clean up when the festivities are over.
15 dollars $13 Amazon
When faced with a lot of dishes, using a good quality degreaser will help make these tough cleaning jobs faster and more efficient.
A good dish soap will get you far, but a good sponge can also make a big difference in the ease and effectiveness of dishwashing. Do you need to replenish your kitchen sponge? Now is the time to do so.
Whether you’re washing something heavy or something very delicate, using the right sponge can make a big difference. Professional sponges like Dobie Pads and chain mail scrubbers are great when it comes to cleaning special occasion dishes and cookware.
20 dollars Amazon
One of the biggest mistakes people make when doing dishes for the holidays is not having enough dish towels on hand. Spread them on the countertop as a drainage station, use clean ones for drying freshly washed pots and pans, and have a separate unit for people to wipe their hands.
OxiClean is the secret to removing stains from light-colored interior or enamelled cast iron cookware. Fill the pot about halfway with water, add a tablespoon of OxiClean and bring the solution to a boil. Remove it from the heat, let it cool, pour off the solution, and wash the pan as usual. For more tips, check out my must-have kitchen cleaning products.
Spills and Stains
Of course, food messes in the kitchen – spills and splatters on clothes, tablecloths, furniture and rugs are a festive staple. Next, you’ll find the best products for common holiday stains like cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and red wine, along with tips on how to best use them. For more tips and product recommendations, check out my stain removal guide.
When dealing with spills like wine, cola, juice or sauces on carpets or upholstered furniture, the first thing to do is to blot up as much liquid as possible, says Brett Parent, a senior chemist at Bissell. “It’s best to use a white towel or cloth to clean the stain,” he says, “to make sure you’re not transferring any dye from the colored cloth.” Inexpensive mops are great for the job.
After blotting the liquid, Parent recommends treating the stain with an oxygenated stain remover such as Woolite Instaclean, which can be used on carpets and upholstery.
Large amounts of starchy foods, such as mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, or glazed carrots, can become gelatinous when dry during the holidays, making them difficult to remove from fabrics such as rugs, upholstery, or tablecloths; laundry expert Patrick Richardson recommends Use a laundry brush to remove as much food off the fabric as possible before tackling stains and washing.
$14 $12 Amazon
Once starchy foods are removed from fabrics, stains may remain. “Have orange sweet potatoes, yams and carrots,” says Richardson, “best removed with Amodex.”
$18 $17 Amazon
Red wine and cranberry sauce are holiday staples—they’re also Dickens-dyed. Luckily, Wine Away is not just for red wine stains, but for those stubborn cranberry sauce stains too.
5 USD Amazon
Another common stain found during the holidays is dye stains on items such as wrapping paper, ribbons, cocktail napkins, confetti, and more. already wet and bleeding. Rubbing alcohol is great for removing dye stains from fabrics and hard surfaces, and a spray bottle makes application a breeze.
For larger spills, or ones that have formed because you can’t get to them when they happen, Parent recommends Bissell SpotClean Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner. For more information on cleaning carpets and rugs, check out my Carpet Care Guide.
Needles, sap, wax and other sticky holiday messes
Holiday-specific messes like tree needles and sap, or wax drippings from candles are easy to clean up—as long as you know exactly how to deal with them, and use the right products.
$24 $18 on Amazon
If you decorate your home with live trees, wreaths, or garlands, you will inevitably have fir tree needles everywhere. Because the sap of tree needles is sticky, avoid traditional brush brooms and use a rubber broom where the needles won’t stick while sweeping them.
Vacuuming tree needles and rosette needles are also an option, but you’ll have to switch to a hose attachment or use a store vacuum, or the needles can get stuck in the bristles of the vacuum.
When removing sticky sap from hands, hard surfaces, clothes, and other fabrics, use what you probably already have: hand sanitizer. The alcohol in hand sanitizer acts as a solvent, dissolving the sap.
$9 $6 Amazon
Hand sanitizer can be used on almost any surface to remove sap, but it’s also worth noting that bug and tar removers designed for automotive exteriors can also be used to remove sap.
USD10 $9 Amazon
When saving your car from a major holiday mess, some planning can minimize cleanup time. “Ideally,” said Business Insider’s senior automotive reporter Kristen Lee, “if you’re shipping some clutter, you should have some tarp or covering, like an inner rubber pad or towel, to catch all the clutter. things.”
If candle wax drips onto rugs, tablecloths, or furniture, a simple trick can remove it: Lay a piece of brown paper over the wax and place a slightly hot iron on top of the paper. The heat of the iron will melt the wax and the paper will absorb it.
15 dollars USD10 Amazon
To remove wax drips from hard surfaces like countertops, tables, or floors, a blow dryer on a low heat setting can be used to a similar effect. When the wax becomes pliable, wipe it off with a paper towel, then remove any remaining waxy residue with a little soap and water.
20 dollars Amazon
Having extra trash bags on hand is essential during the holidays. Distribute gifts before opening them and ask people to manage their discarded wrapping paper. Line up the trash cans with extra bags so that when one is full, you can take it out of the bin and have the other ready. Garbage bags can also be used to protect the interior of a car when transporting Christmas trees and other holiday greenery.