Removing Halloween stains

You can trick food, candy and make-up stains when you know how to treat them!

The candles in your pumpkins have all burned down, treats have been counted, classified and sampled, and you’re staring at tired green faces and purple hair. After closer inspection, there is green face paint on a sleeve here and some kind of stringy goo hanging off an elbow there. The trick to cleaning up Halloween doesn’t have to be ghoulish. See these solutions to find your children’s faces and grimy costumes after the howling is done.

  • One of the messiest Halloween traditions is pumpkin carving. Stringy and sticky “guts” dry and harden like glue. Spray with warm water containing a couple drops of dish soap and those guts and seeds left behind after carving will loosen allowing you to wipe them up.
  • Glitter on the floor can be easily vacuumed, but glitter mixed with glue requires a wet cloth. It may take a couple of swipes, but it will come off. Rinsing your cloth will in turn cause the glitter to cover the sink but that can easily be washed down the drain.
  • Make-up on faces can be removed using a product for that purpose or using baby oil followed by warm, soapy water. Makeup on costumes depends on the fabric. Check the label first and if you don’t find cleaning instructions on the costume look for instructions on a commercial stain remover.
  • Face paint can be oil-based or water-based. Oil-based face paint that has found its way to clothing needs to be treated with a prewash solution. Check the face paint label and the label of the clothing for washing directions. Water-based face paint can be treated with warm, soapy water. For clothing use cold, soapy water to suck the stain out!
  • For cleaning upholstery read Michigan State University Extension’s Upholstery Stain Removal directions.
  • Candle wax can be a screeching mess. If the wax is on the porch try wrapping a dinner knife with a soft cloth and scrapping the cooled wax off. Wax on clothing or carpeting requires a heat source such as an iron, a piece of cloth and patience. With a warm iron and the cloth between the wax and the iron, place the iron on the wax and wipe with the cloth. This procedure may be better left to a professional if you aren’t sure the results will be what you want.
  • Melted chocolate is a challenge but don’t let your head spin trying to get this stain out. Dishwasher liquid is a great resource for removing this delicious stain. Use cold water to wet the area and apply the dishwasher liquid. Let this sit for at least 30 minutes before scrubbing. Re-apply as needed.
  • If goblins have left your trees covered in toilet paper cleaning it up will be easier if the toilet paper is dry. Wet toilet paper will fall apart and make clean up much more difficult.
  • Lastly, once the streets are quiet and costumed visitors have returned home, make a quick inspection of your house and also your vehicle if it’s sitting in the driveway. Shaving cream and eggs can stain vehicles and siding. Spray eggs with your garden hose to loosen the slimy mess and follow up with warm, soapy water. Rinse shaving cream off with warm water. If shaving cream on your car has dried you may need to contact a local vehicle cleaning source.

Don’t let creepy stains dampen your Halloween fun. These Halloween leftovers are usually easily removed and will only be a ghostly and ghastly memory.

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