Life’s Messy: Tips For Cleaning Wine, Chocolate And Other Sticky Situations

That's going to make a mess...  (Karen_Chappell)

That’s going to make a mess…
(Karen_Chappell)

Messes come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of stickiness. They can put a damper on a good dinner party when someone spills on your heirloom tablecloth. They can up the level of frustration you’re experiencing while potty-training your new puppy. Messes are, well, messy, but they don’t have to be permanent.

While we’re notoriously messy here at Consumerist, our friends at ShopSmart by Consumer Reports always have our backs. The April issue of ShopSmart gathers a group of cleaning pros to tackle the messes of our nightmares.

Pet Accidents
One of the most common problems new pet owners face? Accidents on the rug by their furry friends.

The ShopSmart stain experts say the secret to fixing that mess is to stomp it out. Blot the area using a clean, wet sponge. Next, place a folded towel under the rug and stomp on it to remove as much liquid as possible. Make sure to follow-up with a pet-odor remover.

Whatever you do, don’t overdose on the cleaner. The enzymes can attack fiber proteins ruining your rug’s fabric.

Pet expert Cesar Milan offers a cleaning alternative using a homemade baking soda scrub.

Wine
Everyone loves a good glass of wine. But no one loves the small heart attack you have when that beautiful red spills on your tablecloth.

To prevent a red blotch from staring guests down at your next dinner party follow these easy steps. First, soak-up excess liquid with a paper towel. To keep the spill from spreading, blot the area with a wet cloth. Make sure to move your cloth in the direction of the stain. Next, dab the spot with hydrogen peroxide to remove the color.

If you think white wine won’t stain, you’re wrong. The pros recommend following the same routine for the less colorful spills.

Don’t have hydrogen peroxide on hand? No worries, Martha Stewart offers another fix using salt and denatured alcohol.

Ink
We’re all guilty of accidentally swiping an ink pen on something other than paper.

To combat this unfriendly mark, blot out excess ink with a paper towel. Then use a cloth to dab the mark with rubbing alcohol. The solution should dissolve the remaining ink, but don’t get your hopes up too high. Ink stains are tough and it might not all come out.

Other ink removal options include dish soap and hairspray, according to TopCleaningSecrets.com.

Chocolate
Chocolate is delicious. The gooey stuff all over your rug, not so much.

When faced with the aftermath of your messy sweet-tooth craving, quickly scarp up the remaining glob of chocolate. Next, blot with dry paper towels followed by a wet sponge. Finally, tackle the spot with enzyme-based laundry detergent. If a stain remains, blot using a solution of one teaspoon enzyme detergent and a cup of warm water.

Still faced with a chocolately mess? Consumer Reports suggests using a vinegar solution.

The ShopSmart cleaning pros can’t fix all the messes in our lives, but they’ve given us a good start to at least clean our homes.