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Holidays | Organization | Stains and Fabric Care

Halloween Clean-Up 101

October 26, 2023

Cleaning up after Halloween can be a real scream. Costumes, candy, decorations and party aftermath; this holiday can give you cleaning nightmares. But we have a few ‘tricks’ up our sleeves. Let’s get down to it and exorcise those Halloween messes.

Halloween Food Clean-Up

Spilled and melted candy stash, pumpkin guts, or party foods all need quick action to avoid permanent stains. See this article for help with a variety of food stains.

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  • Pumpkin: Pumpkin pulp is pretty easy to clean up after carving, but it can be a tough stain to remove from clothes or surfaces if left too long.
    • Fabric care:
      • Run the stain under warm water and use either powdered Tide® (USA) (Canada) or Tide® Rescue (USA) (Canada) to pre-treat the stain.
      • Throw the item in the laundry and run a regular cycle.
      • Heat from a dryer will set in stains so check that the stain is gone before drying as usual. 
    • Wood/furniture :
      • For wood, throw a dash of powdered Tide® in some warm water and wipe the wood surface with a microfiber cloth to remove the stain. If there’s a moisture mark remaining, see this page for our remedy. 
      • For upholstery, use a little bit of dish soap, powdered Tide®, or Tide® Rescue on a wet cloth. Dab and lift the pumpkin out of the fabric. 
  • Food coloring: Most food coloring comes out with soap and water. If you have a tougher stain try using vinegar or baking soda with some water to treat the stain. If it’s on fabric, then run it through a wash cycle in cold water after pre-treating it. 
  • Chocolate/Candy: One of our favorite ways to deal with chocolate or marshmallow, caramel or other sticky candy is to freeze it.
    1. Pop the article of clothing into the freezer, or rub the spot with an ice cube.
    2. Scrape off what you can with a dull knife or spoon.
    3. Treat the remaining stain with Tide® Rescue..
    4. Rinse, then launder as usual (if possible). 
    5. Another option is a cloth with dish soap and warm water to loosen and lift it up.

Make-Up Clean-Up

Halloween makeup can be very pigmented and hard to remove. This includes fake blood, body paint, glue for prosthetic or latex pieces, and glitter. Make-up removers are your best bet to try first, but if that doesn’t work, keep reading:

  • Fake Blood: 
    • On skin: Try an oil based product, like vaseline or coconut oil. Cover the stain on your skin then gently scrub until the stain is gone. Repeat as needed and then rinse with soap.
    • On costumes/clothes: Always check the wash instructions first. Depending on the fake blood you used, this stain could be permanent so proceed with caution. Rinse the fake blood with warm water and then pre-treat using powdered Tide® or Tide® Rescue to remove as much of the stain as you can. Wash normally, then check to see if the stain is gone. If not, repeat this process. Then dry as usual.
  • Water and oil based makeup:
    • On skin: Depending on the base of your makeup, be sure to use the same type cleanser or remover. For water based makeup try a foaming cleanser specific for that. Oil cleansers or olive oil ( almond/coconut oil will also work) is good for oil-based makeup and prosthetic removal. Don’t rip off prosthetics from your skin! Gently work the oils under it to remove.
    • On Clothes: Run the stain under warm water and use either powdered Tide® or Tide® Rescue to pre-treat the stain. Throw the item in the laundry and run a regular cycle. Check if the stain is gone before drying as usual. 
    • Brushes: If you used brushes to apply the makeup, we have an article to help you clean those too.  
  • Colored hairspray:
    • On skin and hair: Temporary hair dye should wash out fairly easily in the shower with a cleansing shampoo. It may take a few washes for bright colors. 
    • On clothes: Tide® Rescue or powdered Tide® and water to pretreat the stain. Machine wash in cold water. Check to see that all color has washed away before drying.
  • Glitter: It should easily wash off your face and body. As for your living space, vacuum thoroughly and use packing tape to clean up the sparkly mess.

Decor Clean-Up 

Setting up for Halloween is scary fun, but cleaning it all afterwards can be frightful. Here’s how we clean the most tricky messes.

  • Candle wax drips: Check out this article for how to clean up those drippy messes.
  • Pumpkin stains on surfaces: If your pumpkin left a stain outside where it was sitting, try hot water and blue Dawn® dish soap to wash it away.
  • Adhesive residue for decorations: Hanging decorations can leave a sticky residue behind if you use tape, glue or anything tacky. We’ve had the most luck using Goo Gone® (USA) (Canada) as it’s a great adhesive remover on most surfaces (check the package directions). Another home remedy is to use white vinegar to bring it up. Just soak a cloth or paper towel and lay it on the surface for a few minutes. This should loosen the residue enough to gently remove it. Use a clean rag or plastic scraper to gently remove the residue, careful to not scratch the surface.
  • Egged house? The best way to clean it up is to act fast before the egg dries. Use a pressure washer (USA) (Canada) or garden hose to wash it away. If the egg has dried, use a tsp of powdered Tide® in a gallon of warm water to soften and wipe it away. Blue Dawn® dish soap and water works wonders on windows to clean up any eggs thrown there.
  • Were you toilet papered? It’s best to act fast and remove it while it’s dry. (If it gets wet you may need to pressure wash it away or let mother nature take care of it over time.) Use poles or brooms (and ladders if needed) to knock down the toilet paper and collect it. Use caution if it was thrown up in high places such as roofs or in trees.
  • Fog machine cleaning: Cleaning a fog machine is similar to cleaning a coffee machine. First check the machine’s cleaning instructions. Either use a fog machine cleaner (USA) (Canada) and follow the directions on the bottle, or do the following:
    • Unplug and empty the machine reservoir if there is any liquid in it. 
    • Mix 2 tbps of white vinegar and 1 cup of water and place in the reservoir. 
    • Turn on and run the machine and let it run until the reservoir is almost empty.
    • Empty the reservoir of any remaining fluid and refill with a cup of distilled water and run the cycles again. If it still smells like vinegar, keep running the water through until the smell is gone. 

Spooky Storage

We can get a little batty about cleaning and it doesn’t stop there. Take some time to look at how to better store your decorations for next year. Invest in bins (USA) (Canada) and label (USA) (Canada) what is inside them. You will thank yourself next year. 

For more stain removal tips check out our Stains and Fabric Care section in our blog.

  • Denise @GoCleanCo

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