Accidents happen, but our quick-fix cleaning tips for emergency spills will save your party guests from embarrassment and get the party rolling in no time at all. Whether it's red wine on carpet or lipstick on napkins, our cleaning tricks will help you remain the star hostess.

By Holly D'Anna
June 09, 2015
Emergency cleanup kit

Accidental spills are unavoidable at any party. Our emergency cleanup tips help you take care of them quickly and easily so you and your guests can get back to having a good time. We've put together a downloadable guide at the bottom of the page, so when you're hosting a party, you'll be able to make party spills disappear in a pinch.

Cleaning Kit for Party Spills

Keep the following items on hand -- you'll already have most of them around the house -- so you can quickly get rid of wine, condiment, and other troublesome stains:

-- Artificial sweetener

-- Distilled white vinegar

-- Club soda

-- Wine Away (available at most liquor and wine stores)

-- Dishwashing liquid

-- Mineral spirits

-- Rubbing alcohol

-- Enzyme detergent

When hosting a party, keep all of these items together so you can reach them before a stain has time to set. Read on for our helpful and fast stain-removing tips.

How-To: Clean Up Spilled Wine

Spilled red wine

Nothing can dampen party spirits more than spilled red wine on carpet or on white clothing. Keep these tips for neutralizing and removing wine stains handy if you're serving some at your next party.

Red Wine on Carpet: If a party guest spills red wine on your carpet, immediately pour white wine over the spill to neutralize it. Next, sprinkle the spill heavily with table salt and cover with a damp white towel. Later, once your guests have left for the evening, press the stain with dry white cloths until they come up clean. If the stain is stubborn, use carpet cleaner to remove it after following the other steps.

Red Wine on Tablecloth: If there's a wine spill at dinner, cover the stain with artificial sweetener and let it sit. Within 24 hours, rinse the tablecloth in cold water after brushing off the sweetener. If the material is cotton, a cotton blend, or permanent press, tackle the stain with distilled white vinegar and wash as usual.

Red Wine on Clothing: Wine spilled on clothes can be the most embarrassing; to get rid of the stain quickly, blot it with a clean white towel dampened with club soda. A wine-removal product called Wine Away, available at most liquor and wine stores, also works wonders with wine stains on clothing.

White Wine: These stains are less easy to spot, but when you notice them, flush them with cold water or club soda and blot dry with a clean towel.

How-To: Get Rid of Condiment & Beverage Stains

For stains caused by tomato-based condiments, such as pasta sauce, ketchup, or barbeque sauce, dab the affected area with dishwashing liquid, then rinse with distilled white vinegar.

Mustard, coffee, and tea stains can easily be tackled with white vinegar and a cool-water rinse.

How-To: Neutralize Other Troublesome Party Stains

Lipstick Stains on Napkins: After your guests leave, separate the lipstick-stained cloth napkins from the others and remove excess lipstick from them with a dull knife. Apply mineral spirits to the stained area with a dropper and a brush, then rinse the area with rubbing alcohol. Repeat these two steps as many times as needed until the stain is removed, then wash the napkins using an enzyme detergent.

Dripped Wax on Tablecloth: If you notice wax stains after the party, place your tablecloth in the freezer for an hour to help crack the wax. Remove excess wax, and get rid of the remaining residue by rubbing mineral spirits into the wax. Rinse the tablecloth with rubbing alcohol, let dry completely, then wash it using an enzyme detergent.


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