Prevent Upholstrey Spots After Thanksgiving Feast From Cranberries and Red Wine

You know the scene all too well. The big Thanksgiving Feast is almost over, your guests are slowly getting up from the beautiful no-longer-perfect table, the laughter is faint as everyone walks into the living room to watch some TV or continue the conversation and you look around, proud of another year, a great meal and a great holiday. Then you see it, a spot of red, it’s almost staring you in the face. You immediately search your thoughts, trying to piece together who was sitting in that chair? Is it cranberry sauce, red wine? You served both. Instead of going into a panic, you laugh a little to yourself. “it wouldn’t be a holiday without a spot somewhere”.

Cranberry sauce – whether homemade or from the can as well as red wine is part of the biggest headaches when it comes to spills and drops on your upholstery. If you are lucky, you have removable chair covers, removable chair covers – once removed can be spot treated and then run through the washing machine, if you do not have removable covers, it can be a little more difficult and can be time consuming to remove any spots.

How to remove cranberry stains

Beautiful cranberry sauces and cranberry juice adds bold color to your Thanksgiving table, but wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to completely eliminate any red spot or mark from your table cloth and or upholstery? Luckily, all cranberry stains can be treated the same way.

First thing you do when you see a spot or a spill of cranberry juice or sauce is to flush the area with room temperature or warm water. Soak the chair cover in a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar, one-half teaspoon liquid laundry detergent, and 1 quart cool water for 15 – 30 minutes.

Rinse fabric in clean cool water. Next, use a damp sponge, dab the remaining stain with rubbing alcohol, then rinse again. After spot treating your fabric place in the washing machine and run through a gentle cycle. When using your washing machine, use an additional pre-wash cycle without soap or cleaning solution for a thorough rinse. If you are cleaning chlorine-friendly fabric, use chlorine bleach in your wash cycle for an extra cranberry stain fighter.

If your chairs do not have removable chair covers, you should follow the same steps as described, however, you may have to repeat the first few steps multiple times.

Red wine is another culprit of red spots that just appear after a holiday celebration. They will appear anywhere on your furniture, dining room chairs, armrests, headrests, sofas, and even your clothing. To clean up a red wine stain or spot, you would follow the same steps as when cleaning up a cranberry spot or smudge.

The Anatomy of a Red Wine Stain

Although you can take care of a red wine spot(s) in the morning after your holiday get-together, addressing them immediately is the best way to get rid of them.  

With the exception of a few types of fabrics, most fabrics are highly porous. When liquid matter gets into the fibers, they become immersed into the fabric’s pores. Unlike many of the other drinks we enjoy, red wine’s color is completely natural. The grape-based beverage contains chromogens, the primary substance in many colorful plants that are responsible for dyes.  Red wine is essentially a giant bottle of dye molecules. Combine this with red wine’s naturally occurring tannins, an organic substance also used in many ink productions, and your red wine stain is essentially a DIY tie-dye experiment gone wrong.

Once red wine hits a fabric, it begins to sink into the fibers, with the liquid moving throughout the fiber’s pores wherever it can find space. Red wine, like all liquids, will move in two directions: down and outward.

One trick when spilling wine on a carpet is using salt. Blot as much of the wine spill as you can with a paper towel, and then cover the entire stain with salt until you can’t see the red wine stain anymore. Let the salt soak into the wet stain and then dry. As the salt dries, it should suck up the stain. Then, simply vacuum everything up.

Another way to clean up a wine spill or spot is by using a mix of Dawn dish liquid and hydrogen peroxide (which is also great when treating clothing for red spots).  Mix together an equal part of Dawn dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide. Pour the mix over the wine spot and allow it to soak in. The redness should start to fade almost immediately. After you have allowed the mixture to soak into the spot, put the clothing or removable upholstery in the laundry as you normally would. This procedure works best on light colored clothing and upholstery because hydrogen peroxide has a tendency to bleach.

Now that you know how to remove red wine drips and cranberry spots and smudges, here is a small treat for you. A simple cranberry recipe for the holidays.

Homemade cranberry sauce recipe:

what you will need:
1 bag (12oz) fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp orange zest (optional)
small dash of salt

In a small saucepan combine water and sugar over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Add cranberries and bring to a boil until the cranberries burst – approximately 10 minutes. Stir in orange zest and salt. Remove from heat and let cool. Allowing the cranberries to rest will thicken the sauce. Once cooled, remove from pan, place in a serving dish and let the cranberries sit in the fridge for about two hours before serving.. Cranberry sauce will last in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy and Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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