There’s nothing scarier than watching your kid dressed as Elsa eat their sticky Halloween candy in your silk dress. Unless it’s their friend dressed as Frankenstein holding a dangerously full glass of punch over your new beige carpet.
As a parent, I know just how messy even a typical day can get. So on Halloween, I prepare myself for the worst. Luckily, I’ve perfected my stain removal on carpets and clothes over many years and many spills. So, parents, it’s time for your Halloween treat: my complete guide to Halloween cleaning.
Plus, if you’re throwing a Halloween party this year, I’ve got you covered with some cleaning tips that will make November 1st less of a fright.
Messy Kids Alert: Trick Or Treating Tips for Parents
It’s basically a guarantee that if you’re a parent, you have messy kids. Like, what kid isn’t messy? But on Halloween, the mess can get to a whole new level. You’ve got kids hyped up on sugar and excited about the holiday brandishing melted chocolate bars and gooey caramels and sticky lollipops, oh my!
But don’t feel like you have to be the wicked witch to avoid disaster. Instead, be prepared before messes happen. Catching messes and stains as soon as possible is one of the keys to removing them.
While you’re trick-or-treating, bring Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer (germs, am I right?) as well as paper towels. If stains happen while you’re trick-or-treating, dab or scrape as much of the offending sweet off the clothing as possible. This will help prevent the stain from setting and help you remove it more easily when you get home.
And when you get home with that pillowcase full of candy, make sure it doesn’t get dumped out on the carpet. Instead, clear a safe space for candy, and lay down a garbage bag or old towel, so nothing gets stained.
Stain Removal on Clothes
If you make it through an entire Halloween with kids without any stains on their clothing, you must be a wizard. But, for the mortals reading this, I’ve got some tips that you might just think are magic.
Caramel and Chocolate Stains
So you have to deal with the dreaded chocolate or caramel stain. OK, just breathe and remember you can do this.
- Scrape and dab as much of the chocolate off as possible. You can use a dull knife or the side of a credit card to scrape. Do this as soon as you can to prevent the stain from setting.
- Pre-treat the stain by soaking in dish soap or laundry detergent for 10 minutes.
- Wash as you normally would with cool water.
- If the item is still stained after washing, mix 2 parts hydrogen peroxide to one part dish soap and leave the stain to soak in your solution for one hour. Then wash as usual in cold water. If the item is still stained, repeat this step.
If you’re working with clothing that can be bleached, you can try soaking in oxygen bleach instead of the hydrogen peroxide and dish soap solution.
They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors: candy stains! They’re sticky, and they’re gross, but don’t let them defeat you.
- Pick off as much of the candy as possible and dab with a paper towel. Get all the candy and colour off that you can before moving to the next step.
- Mix vinegar with warm water and rinse the stained area thoroughly.
- If you have a stain remover or pre-treater solution, soak for five minutes.
- Wash in cold water as you normally would.
- If your garment is still stained, soak in oxygen bleach for 30 minutes, then rewash in cold water.
If you want to be extra-prepared for Halloween, make sure you have oxygen bleach, vinegar, dish soap, and stain remover on hand so you can get to those stains as soon as possible. And if you have even more Halloween stain concerns, we have a whole for you on common Halloween stains and how to remove them.
Stain Removal On Carpets
Now it’s time to talk about carpet stains. People are always asking me how to get stains out of carpets. There are different ways to deal with each kind of carpet stain, so let’s talk about two that you might encounter after a Halloween party: mud and red wine.
So your kids and their friends tracked mud all over your carpet after trick-or-treating. What the heck do you do now?!
- Wait until the mud is dry. Then vacuum over it thoroughly, removing as much mud as possible.
- Make a solution of one part dishwashing soap and two cups of warm water. Sponge the stain with your cleaning solution and blot until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this step until the mud is gone.
- Sponge with cold water to remove any excess mud and cleaning solution.
You can even use these tips for your little dog, too… when they track mud all over your new rug.
Red Wine Stain Removal
So maybe the adults at your Halloween party are a little messy too. You’re going to need to know how to get red wine out of a carpet, just in case.
- Blot the stain with a paper towel, absorbing as much wine as possible.
- Pour a small amount of club soda over the stain, just enough to cover.
- Blot the club soda with more paper towels, and repeat steps two and three until the stain is gone.
Knowing how to properly remove carpet stains is a great Halloween tip and excellent after-party clean-up information.
Clean Up After A Party
Cleaning up after a party can feel overwhelming. So before the party starts, remember that preventative measures are essential.
Put out SO MANY COASTERS. More coasters than you have people coming. Cover your entire home with coasters! OK, maybe don’t go that far, but having ample coasters available will encourage your guests to use them, which could save you from dealing with drink rings on your furniture. If you do end up with dreaded wet rings check out our article on Wood Furniture Cleaning Secrets.
Have paper towels handy to deal with any spills on the spot. And remember, the biggest part of cleaning up will probably be dirty dishes, so make sure you have an empty dishwasher at the beginning of the party. Then, if you have time, load your dishwasher throughout the night, saving you some clean-up in the morning.
The Next Day
Of course, you don’t want to spend your party cleaning, so let’s talk about the day after. Start by filling the dishwasher and running it. You may have to do more than one load, so let’s get this started as soon as possible.
Now grab a garbage bag and collect all the garbage. Repeat with the recycling. Once you’ve cleared trash and recycling, what’s left is much more manageable. As soon as your dishwasher is done, put in another load if needed.
Next, grab your microfiber cloth and your all-purpose cleaner. Wipe down all surfaces and heavily touched areas, like door handles. Use this time to put chairs back where they belong and straighten tables and pillows.
Finally, it’s vacuum time. You know what to do!
Halloween Doesn’t Have To Be Scary
Now you’re ready to jump into Halloween without fear. Or at least without fear of stains and party clean-up. So remember, always be prepared with your magic wand, some paper towel, and trusty stain remover.