Stains Be Gone

Consumer Watch But Pat Slaven, Consumer Reports resident stain expert, says with a few simple products, you can get most stains out at home.

Take cranberry sauce a holiday favorite but not on your carpet. Pat recommends mixing one teaspoon of clear or white detergent with a cup of warm water. Then blot the stain.

"If there's still a little bit of a mark left, try a red-dye remover like Didi Seven," said Pat Slaven.

Gravy drippings on your tablecloth?

"Mix up a bit of Fels Naptha with water and use it to pretreat oily stains," said Pat Slaven.

Then wash as usual. And what about red wine? If it spills on your carpet, first blot the excess with water, then a detergent solution. If that doesn't work, try hydrogen peroxide to lift out the color. But with red wine on your clothes pretreat it with a laundry booster like shout or spray 'n wash.

And don't make the mistake of ignoring white wine spills or champagne and ginger ale. You'll be sorry later on.

"We spilled white wine on this carpet swatch about a year ago. Eventually the sugars will caramelize and leave this," said Pat Slaven.

So while the dry cleaners may be the pros, with a few key products you may be able to get stains out like a pro. And save some money while you're at it.


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