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Fake Blood, Pumpkin Guts, and Hair Dye, Oh My! How to Clean Up Every Type of Halloween Mess


Let’s face it: As adults, the only things that truly scare you come Halloween are the calorie counts on the back of your kids’ candy and the inevitable Halloween messes the holiday brings. From scooping pumpkin guts to cleaning blood — both fake and real — October is basically a month of nonstop chaos. To save your sanity, or at least reduce your stress levels, we’ve dug deep to find out how to clean Halloween messes. So stop frantically Googling “how to remove glitter” and take a moment to celebrate surviving Halloween — and then, when you’re ready, you can tackle stubborn Halloween messes with ease.

How to Clean a Blood Stain

As much as we try to prevent them, accidents happen. Whether it’s from a scraped knee or a small cut while carving pumpkins (even though you told your husband at least 100 times to be careful with that knife), blood stains can make your normally clean home look like a crime scene. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to remove blood from just about anything. Here’s how to get rid of a bloodstain in three easy steps.

  1. Soak the stain in cold water.
  2. Scrub the stain gently with a bar of soap. If you’re dealing with a spot on light-colored fabric, dab it with hydrogen peroxide, which acts as bleach.
  3. Toss your fabric into the washing machine, making sure to use an enzyme detergent that will break down the proteins (don’t worry, most detergents are enzyme-based!). Make sure the stain has lifted before throwing it into the dryer, because the high heat will set the stain.

How to Clean Fake Blood

It’s tempting to go all out with the Halloween decorations, and that means you’ll need fake blood. The bad news when it comes to fake blood is that the corn syrup and red dye can get sticky and stain. The good news is that fake blood’s a lot easier to clean than real blood. Simply wipe away the crimson stain with rubbing alcohol and you’ll have a blood-free home in no time.

How to Clean Glitter

Why is it that no matter how careful you are with the glitter, it always seems to end up everywhere? While glitter makes the perfect costume accessory (it’s also great for decorating no-carve pumpkins!), it can be your worst enemy come clean-up time. Lucky for you, there are many different ways to clean up glitter.

A vacuum is usually good enough to grab most of the glitter you notice. Once you’ve sucked up all the sparkles, go over the area with a spray mop to get any last bits. If you don’t want to get out the heavy machines, you can simply swipe your surfaces with a lint roller. This is especially handy for those pieces that you can’t pick up with your hands. 

How to Remove Colored Hairspray

Colored hairspray is an easy way to give your ‘do some pizzazz without committing to an actual box dye. And if you can herd your little ones into the bathroom to shower before they fall asleep, you’ll be able to get out the hairspray pretty easily. But let’s say they’re knackered from walking around the neighborhood — what do you do if they fall asleep and get colored hairspray all over their bedsheets and pillowcases?

All you have to do is spritz the area with a stain remover and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, toss everything in the laundry machine. Make sure the stains are all gone before chucking the sheets and pillowcases in the dryer.

How to Remove Costume Makeup

After a long night of trick-or-treating, nothing feels better than removing a full face of thick, oily makeup (well, except for digging into your kids’ sugary loot). A regular makeup remover should do the trick, but if you want to cut through the greasy, oily residue, you can use an oil-free makeup remover or rubbing alcohol. If you use the latter, make sure you follow with a moisturizing cream, as the rubbing alcohol can dry out your face.

How to Remove Throw Up

For some kids, the excitement of Halloween can be a bit too much. Throw in tons of sugary candy and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Even adults who’ve had a few drinks too many can be guilty of committing a Halloween party faux pas. Cleaning up after an accident is enough to make your hurl in disgust — but thankfully there’s an easy way to handle any accident. Here’s how to clean up vomit in six easy steps.

  1. Grab a pair of gloves. Vomit can transfer icky viruses, and while you will most likely be cleaning up after someone who’s had too much to drink rather than a sick person, you don’t want to take the risk of exposing yourself or your family.
  2. Start with the solids. Using a paper plate, a piece of cardboard, or rolled-up newspaper, scoop and shove as much as you can into a trash bag. 
  3. Cover the area with an absorbent substance. You can use kitty litter, cornstarch, baking soda, or anything similar to soak up as much liquid as possible. 
  4. Vacuum up the dried chunks. If you’re uneasy about the possibility of having vomit in your vacuum cleaner, simply wipe everything with paper towels and throw it away.
  5. Clean the area with a disinfectant.
  6. Take out the trash as soon as possible to minimize the transfer of germs. 

How to Remove Chocolate Stains

If your kids’ chocolates last long enough, you’ll inevitably end up with chocolate stains somewhere — be it on their clothes or your curtains (seriously, how do kids even get chocolate on the curtains?!). To help, we’ve broken down the best way to clean chocolate stains from clothes, upholstery, and carpet.

How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Clothes

For chocolate stains on clothes, you want to treat the smudge just as you would with other plant-based stains, according to Dan Miller, CEO of Mulberrys Garment Care. But before you get to scrubbing, here’s a word of caution: The following cleaning method shouldn’t be used on silk or wool; both fabrics need to be treated at a dry cleaners. 

  1. Spray the stain with lemon juice or vinegar; this pretreatment will break everything down and make your job easier. Miller recommends lightly tapping the build-up with a toothbrush to soften things more.
  2. Douse your clothes with water to ensure the acid doesn’t damage the fabric.
  3. Rinse the underside of the fabric with a solution made of one tablespoon of dish detergent and three cups of water.
  4. Wash clothes in the washing machine. Only dry clothes once you’ve removed the stain.
  5. Treat the stain with an enzyme-based remover and let it sit for 15 minutes if the stain is still there. Then wash it in the machine.
  6. Use bleach or hydrogen peroxide as a last resort. This can cause color loss, so test the bleach first in an inconspicuous spot. If you use bleach, dilute it at a ratio of one teaspoon of bleach to one cup of water. Wash your clothes as usual.
  7. Take your clothes to a dry cleaners if all the above fails to remove the stain.

How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Upholstery

Chocolate stains on couches courtesy of kid fingers may seem like a nightmare to clean. You can’t put a love seat in the washing machine, can you? Luckily, removing chocolate messes requires only ice, soap, and water. Here’s how to remove chocolate stains from upholstery in seven easy steps.

  1. Scrape off as much chocolate as you can with a spoon. 
  2. Use an ice cube to harden the remaining chocolate puddle and then scrape off the chocolate again.
  3. Blot the leftover stain with a clean cloth moistened with a solution of one teaspoon of dish detergent and two cups of water. Continue blotting until the stain is gone.
  4. Clean off the detergent by alternating between blotting with a damp cloth and a dry cloth. 
  5. Sprinkle cornmeal on the stain if there’s anything left; this will absorb any remaining moisture.
  6. Brush away the cornmeal.
  7. Call a professional if the stain persists. 

How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Carpet

Because having nice things when there are kids in the home is nearly impossible, chances are you want to know how to remove chocolate stains from carpet. Whatever the story is behind how the candy got there, you know it’s going to be a hassle to clean — or will it? Here’s how to remove chocolate stains from carpet in five easy steps. 

  1. Remove as much loose chocolate as you can without spreading the mess.
  2. Vacuum up the remaining bits. 
  3. Use a clean cloth to dab a dry-cleaning spot remover on the stain. Make sure you go from the outer edges to the center, blotting but never rubbing.
  4. Dab the stain with water to rinse and blot dry. Use a wet/dry vacuum for faster drying.
  5. Call a professional carpet cleaner if the stain is still there.

How to Clean Melted Candy

For all other candy-related messes, we’ve got you covered! The process of cleaning melted candy is similar to removing chocolate stains, without the fear that you’ll somehow end up with a questionable brown stain on your carpet forever. Here’s how to clean melted candy in five easy steps.

  1. Scrape off as much candy as you can using the dull edge of a blunt knife.
  2. Mix a solution of two cups warm water and 1/2 teaspoon dish detergent and stir until suds form.
  3. Wet a cloth in the solution and hold on the stain for 30 seconds. Continue blotting until the stain is gone.
  4. Moisten another clean cloth and press on the stain to clean up the soapy residue.
  5. Blot the area dry with a clean cloth. 

How to Clean Pumpkin Stains

Carving pumpkins can get messy. Sometimes it’s easier to hold your gourd close to your body to stabilize it, but then you’ll look down and notice stringy orange pumpkin guts all over your white T-shirt. Here’s how to clean pumpkin stains from clothes in five easy steps and save your favorite top.

  1. Scrub the stain and rinse with cold water as soon as possible.
  2. Soak your clothes in cool water with a liquid detergent for half an hour.
  3. Pretreat with a stain remover and let sit for 10 minutes; do not let the stain remover dry on your clothes.
  4. Wash your clothes using your machine’s hottest setting.
  5. Inspect for stains once the cycle has finished. If you still notice splotches and discoloration, soak again and wash. Clean clothes can then be added to the dryer.

How to Remove Dried Eggs From Your House

Egging is a common Halloween prank that can you leave you with a mess that’s egg-straordinarily (sorry, we had to!) hard to clean. The worst part is that you probably won’t know you’ve been the victim of an egging until the next morning, at which point it’s very difficult to remove dried eggs from your house. The good news is that it is possible to clean dried egg bits with a little bit of elbow grease, especially if you act fast. Here’s how to remove dried eggs from your house in three easy steps. 

  1. Moisten the stain before trying to remove anything. For houses with light siding, you can dab the spot with hydrogen peroxide. Non-bleach detergents are the best option for darker paints. 
  2. Let the stain sit for a few minutes.
  3. Scrub the stain with a bristle brush and a mixture of warm water and one cup of non-bleach laundry detergent. A non-alkaline household cleaner is another option, as is a solution of equal parts vinegar and warm water. 

How to Clean Silly String

Another traditional Halloween prank involves spraying an unsuspecting person’s house with silly string. If its been allowed to sit and dry, cleanup can be a real pain in the patoot. Depending on where the silly string is will determine the best cleaning method.

Silly string that’s still fresh can be cleaned with just a pressure washer. This is the best cleanup method because it removes gunk without damaging the surfaces underneath. For silly string messes indoors, a pressure washer isn’t practical. In these cases, soap, warm water, and a brush should be good enough. If you’re cleaning more delicate objects, a stiff sponge or soft brush will do the trick. And for those hard-to-reach crevices, use a Q-tip.

Dried-on silly string requires a little more effort on your part. Start by removing as much as you can with your bare hands and throwing it away. Then, go in an soak the area with a solution of 1/4 cup of dish detergent and a gallon of water to loosen the residue. Next, you want to scrub the area with a nylon scrub brush or a soft bristle brush. Lastly, clean up the soapy leftovers and let everything dry. 

How to Clean Spray Paint

Spray paint is a staple in any crafter’s toolbox, so knowing how to clean spray paint — whether it’s from decorating no-carve pumpkins or you’re the victim of another Halloween prank — is important. Unfortunately, unlike regular paint, spray paint won’t come off with just a quick rinse. But don’t worry about looking like the tin man forever just because you got some silver spray paint on yourself. Here’s how to clean spray paint from hands and clothes in a few easy steps.

Spray Paint on Skin

  1. Soak a cotton ball with baby oil, vegetable oil, or cooking spray and dab the stain. Cooking spray is OK to spritz directly on the skin.
  2. Rub the oil into your skin vigorously but not hard enough to hurt yourself. Scrub the area with a washcloth for extra exfoliation.
  3. Wash the area with soap and water once the spray paint has loosened up.
  4. Exfoliate problem spots gently with a pumice stone.

Spray Paint on Clothes

  1. Run the stain under cold water to remove as much paint as possible.
  2. Spray the stain with hairspray. The alcohol in the hairspray will break down the paint’s bonds. Other alcohol-based products like nail polish remover or rubbing alchol can also be used, but be sure to test these on another patch of fabric before coating the stain.
  3. Rub the stain with a clean cloth. The color may transfer to the cloth, so use a rag you don’t mind tossing.
  4. Machine wash your clothes on the coldest setting. If the stain is still there, let the fabric dry before repeating the above steps. 
  5. Take your clothes to a professional cleaner if the stain persists. 

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