Holiday Messes Don’t Have to Stop the Party: 5 Easy Solutions

This guide for dealing with holiday messes comes from our guest editor Katie Bugbee, the senior managing editor at

There are your everyday messes, kid’s room messes and playroom disasters. And then there are the messes that come from hosting gaggles of family members for the holidays — and having to feed and shelter them day after day.

As a parent, you’ve probably mastered how to get your kids to pick up their toys. But here’s how to handle common disasters caused by in-law overload.


Wine on the Rug: It’s bound to happen to a couch, sweater or carpet near you. First, dab the spill with a clean cloth to remove the excess wine. Once the majority of the spill has been blotted up, spray hydrogen peroxide on the stain, then layer baking soda on top. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Then rinse with water. Repeat as needed. And if it’s a shirt or table cloth, put it right in the laundry. The only upside: your kids will be fascinated by this little science experiment. If you’re comfortable letting them help, give them the job of blotting. They can jump all over the towel (with bare feet).

shutterstock_121438672 (1)

Melted Chocolate on Clothes: “I only gave him one Hershey’s Kiss!” I can just see my family saying this to me as my child zooms around the house covered in chocolate. As parents we soon learn that chocolate plus hot, sticky hands, equals a potentially dangerous mess. Pre-treat clothes with detergent, spray or dishsoap. Scrub until it’s gone. Don’t put into a dryer unless you’re satisfied with the final result.  This is a great moment to talk to your kids about consequences. Yes, that chocolate was yummy, but next time, let’s eat it in the kitchen – with lots of napkins!


Candle Wax on the Table Cloth: You only ran to change a diaper – but no one blew out the dinner candles. And now wax has dripped all over your great-grandmother’s tablecloth – or the cute one you got at Target. Try a dull knife or paint scraper to remove the glob. Then melt the excess wax with an iron applied over several layers of paper towels. Dab up with a carpet cleaning solution, dry cleaning solution or rubbing alcohol.


Dirty Microwave: We all know that telltale popping noise that means your meal is now stuck to the inside walls of your appliance. Try this: Microwave a glass bowl with two cups of water and a splash of white vinegar for five minutes. The steam will eliminate any odors and loosen the caked-on food. Now wipe clean. This can actually be a really fun job for the kids, too. It helps teach them a nice trick – and creates a fun activity where they can feel grown up.


Stinky Disposal or Dishwasher: What’s that smell?! You know it’s bad when your guests turn up their noses – in horror — looking around at your kitchen. If it’s in your disposal, deodorize it by pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of hot white vinegar into the drain. Wait five minutes, and then run hot water from the faucet through the sink for a few minutes. Break up any food particles stuck to the blades by letting it chop a handful of ice cubes. And if the odor is in your dishwasher, do a quick cycle with just a bowl of white vinegar in the top tray.

What’s the worst mess you’ve balanced with houseguests over the holidays? Join the conversation in the comments below!


KatieBugbee100x151Katie Bugbee  is the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of A busy working mother of two, she’s an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter


  1. […] RESOLUTION #4: Deep-clean & deodorize now that the holiday get-togethers are over. […]