Company’s coming. So are spills, stains and other minor entertaining disasters of the season. So we consulted with a cleaning expert on five common stains of the holiday hosting marathon.
Bridget Bodoano, author of the new book “A Spotless Home,” seemed like the perfect person to dish on the topic. Her book promises “the low-down on all those useful cheats and tricks” that make cleaning less of a time-consuming chore. Bodoano, who is also a designer and illustrator, says she wanted to provide simple, time-proven solutions for the well-being and cleanliness of homes. “Some young people have never learned much about keeping house or cleaning,” Bodoano says. “There’s a lot to learn about loving your home and looking after it.”
Here’s one tip from her book: Invest in some good cloths. Many cleaning chores require a clean cloth that can stand up to rubbing and give a bit of friction. She suggests absorbent cloths with natural fibers. You can create a stack of these yourself by cutting up old towels, sheets or T-shirts. These can live on as “good, general wipers-down and moppers-up.”
So get your cloths ready and read about some scenarios that could happen in your home as you toast to Christmas or the new year. Bodoano spoke with us last week from her very clean one-bedroom flat in London.
Your hipster sister wiped off her Miley Cyrus-pink lipstick on your brand-new linen napkins.
“Lipstick has wax in it, and that can be a problem,” Bodoano says. “Rinse the napkin in cool water and rub some laundry detergent onto the stain. Wash it in the washing machine on warm as soon as you can.”
The neighbor stopped by for a cup of cheer and spilled some pinot noir on your taupe carpet.
“Work fast. Get a lot of damp cloths ready. Mop up what you can with the cloths and keep going over the stain and blotting it. Hopefully, most of it will come out. If all else fails, you can try a professional stain remover, but I try to avoid those because of the chemicals.”
At the end of the night, you blew out that pine-scented candle and sprayed hot wax on your wall.
“After it’s dry, scrape any bits or lumps of wax off the wall using a butter knife. Then put a few sheets of kitchen paper [known in America as paper towels] over the area of wax and iron carefully with a medium-warm iron, with no steam, until the wax is absorbed into the paper. Consider investing in a candle snuffer.”
Your daughter was diligent in watering the Christmas tree, but she missed the mark several times and now there’s a big water stain on your hardwood floor.
“This is a dodgy one. First wipe the spot clean with cold water on a cloth to get rid of any dirt. Dry as best as possible; let it dry thoroughly. You will probably see a white spot appearing on the wood. Sand it lightly with a bit of steel wool or sandpaper. Wait a few weeks to let it really dry. Then assess the damage and rub in some oil or wax on a cloth, depending on the finish of your floors.”
Somebody plopped a chunk of buche de noel on your new beige sofa.
“First scrape off anything you can with a knife. If you have loose covers [slipcovers], throw them into the washing machine using the cold-water setting. If not, blot the stain with a towel soaked in cold water. You could also try rubbing in a bit of liquid laundry detergent and keep blotting with wet cloths. Don’t worry about it. I’m a believer in living with a patina. You just tell people, ‘That’s where my child dropped a bit of chocolate.’ ”