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Ask Dr. Laundry

Thanksgiving Stain Solutions

By Dr. Laundry November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. What’s not to like about counting your blessings and expressing gratitude, not to mention eating a wonderful meal made up of so many different side dishes? And of course I am thankful for leftovers!

My Thanksgiving menu has evolved over the years so that it includes traditional family favorites from my childhood (roast turkey, gravy, stuffing, yams, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce) plus new items or updated recipes that I have enjoyed as a guest of friends and my in-laws. Now we snack on an antipasto platter before dinner, and the turkey is stuffed with cornbread stuffing using my friend Jenny’s recipe. This year I’ll be trying a new sweet potato and apple side dish. And now we enjoy Pinot Noir with the world’s most difficult meal to match with wine.

Everyone who has tackled cooking a Thanksgiving dinner knows the more you do in advance, the easier it is to enjoy the day. But let’s face it, even with lots of planning, you can still count on having cranberry sauce, red wine, or gravy stains to get off your cloth napkins and tablecloth, and the sooner you wash them the easier it will be to get any stains out. So, when you are making your shopping list, be sure you have Clorox® Regular-Bleach, a Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel, and liquid Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster on hand. When the meal is over treating stains quickly will be a breeze. If your dining table has a protective pad under it, you can even treat any stains before you pull the table cloth off. This is especially helpful for really large tables!

First, have a laundry basket ready and start with any colored items. For napkins, lay them flat and apply Clorox2® directly to any stains, then transfer to the basket. Do the same with the tablecloth if it is also colored, transferring it to the basket. Then wipe down the table pad with a damp towel to remove any product that may have seeped through. Wait 3 -5 minutes (probably the amount of time it will take you to wipe the table pad, bring the basket to your washer, and start the washer to fill). Wash in the hottest water recommended using detergent and Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster. Or, if your linens are white, use a Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel to pretreat any stains (do this at the table ONLY if the table is protected by a water resistant table pad!) and then wash immediately in hot water with detergent and ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach. And if you have both colored and white items? Then wash the colored load first, and wait to pretreat any white items until you can wash them immediately after pretreating.

For additional on-the-go stain removal tips check out my toll-free Holiday Stain Hotline, 1-877-STAIN-411, offering step-by-step advice, in both English and Spanish, on how to cure some of the season’s most common and tricky leftover stains.

A little planning ahead to make stain removal easier in the midst of such a busy holiday is something else to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!