The 12 Stains of Christmas

It’s that time of year again! The tree is up, the music is blaring, and everyone’s getting ready for the festive break. And even though this year might look a little different than usual, there is no reason we can’t get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy spending some time with our family in our holiday bubbles.

But with family get-togethers come spillages, which can very easily lead to stains. Christmas is a very tough time for your carpets, but if you act quickly, you can stop a little accident from turning into a permanent reminder. This year, we’ve put together a list of the 12 most common carpet stains we see at Christmas (both at home and when doing repairs!), and some tips on how you can deal with them before they set in. Starting with the food stains.

Red Wine

Whether you serve it at room temperature or mulled, red wine is a pretty popular festive drink. And it’s also one of the worst things you can spill on your carpet. Red wine stains are notoriously difficult to get out, so it’s important to treat it before it has the chance to set it. So as soon as you see it, you need to spray or drizzle some water over the area to keep it wet. Then grab an old tea towel and blot up as much of the wine as you can, being careful not to spread the stain. Keep applying water and dabbing it up to dilute the area as much as possible. When you think you’ve done as much as you can, apply carpet cleaner.


Have sticky fingers turned into a sticky carpet? Not to worry. Mix some washing-up liquid in warm water, and use a sponge to work the bubbly water into the stained area. You might need to do this a few times, but the stain should lift fairly easily and not require any further attention.

Cranberry Sauce

It wouldn’t be a Christmas meal without cranberry sauce. But while it might taste delicious, that signature red look is notorious for staining – and many a tablecloth has been thrown out because of it. First, you need to remove the excess from the surface, and mix some washing-up liquid with warm water. Use a sponge to blot at the affected area (not wipe), and keep repeating this until the stain is gone.


Like cranberry sauce, gravy is one of those things that aren’t spilt, so much as ‘dripped’ all over the place. If yours has splashed or run onto your carpet, you can deal with it in a very similar way. Once again, clean away the excess and then break out your trusty washing-up liquid and warm water. Once you’ve sponged away as much of the stain as you can, get a new sponge and dab it with cold water, before drying with a dry cloth.

Mince Pies / Christmas Puddings

Crumbly, sticky and sweet, it wouldn’t be Christmas without mince pies and Christmas pudding. But a spoonful landing on your carpet could get very messy, especially if there’s brandy butter involved. But as with all of the food stains, it’s your trusty washing-up liquid and water to the rescue again – once you’ve scraped off as much of the excess as you can. With mince pies, you might want to run a hoover over the spot to make sure you aren’t crushing pastry crumbs into the carpet.


Whether it’s a pick-me-up early Christmas morning or a way to wind down you’re evening once all the presents are open, spilling coffee is something that can and does happen to almost everyone. If this happens to you, grab some bicarbonate of soda and mix it with warm water to form a paste. Apply a thick layer to the stain and leave it to work its magic, around 10 minutes usually does the trick. Then when you think it’s ready, use a sturdy brush to work the stain out of the carpet, and you should have a clean carpet again.


The creamy dips you get with sharing platters and snack foods are delicious, but they can be a disaster for your carpet. Arm yourself with some kitchen roll and get up as much of the creamy dip as you can. The best thing to do next is to apply some rubbing alcohol onto cotton wool and apply to the affected area. If it’s a particularly smelly dip (like garlic), you may need to mix some water with white wine vinegar and apply that to the stain. This is a natural de-oderiser that won’t damage your carpets.

Candle Wax

Oops! Did you knock over that lovely Christmas candle (or just get a bit too enthusiastic blowing it out) and splatter wax all over your tablecloth and carpets? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! For this one, you’ll need some kitchen roll and an iron. Heat up the iron to the appropriate setting for the fibres of your carpet (being careful not to overdo it if it’s polyester). While it’s warming up, scrape up as much of the wax as you can from the surface using a spoon – you should be able to get a fair amount off this way. Then, place your kitchen roll sheets on top of the wax, and slowly run the iron over the area. This will liquify the wax, allowing it to be absorbed by the kitchen roll. Keep repeating this until the wax is gone. For other methods and more detailed instructions, check out our candle wax blog.


STEP AWAY FROM THE WATER! We know that most of the other cleaning methods will recommend water, but this is one you want to avoid. Soot is made of oil, and oil and water never go well together. So if you add water to a soot stain, it will spread around and just make it worse. Instead, try to remove as much of the soot as you can from the surface – first with a hoover, then with a DRY sponge. If you still have some staining left, put some rubbing alcohol on the edge of a sponge and dab it away. This is normally enough to remove the stain completely.

Tree Sap

If you’ve got a real tree in your house, then you’re also going to have sap. It’s a natural substance produced by trees, but it’s very thick and sticky, and can leave some nasty yellow stains if you’re not careful. First, make sure the sap is dry before you try to treat the stain. Once it is, you should be able to peel off the excess, and this should get rid of a lot of the problem. For any staining or sap left over, warm water and washing up liquid should be enough to clear up the rest.

Tree Water

When it comes time to get rid of the tree, or if you just overwater it, you can end up with some nasty coloured water sloshing onto your carpet. First, use kitchen roll or a clean cloth to mop up the water. Then use a solution of vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) on the area. This will neutralise the browning effect of the Christmas tree water. If you’re still left with some rust stains, then you may need to hire a professional cleaning service to handle that – as it’s one of the most stubborn stains out there!

Dirt & Mud

And finally, all that lovely dirt and mud being brought in and trodden down into the fibres of your carpet by visitors and family. Prevention is the cure with this one. Making sure you have quality doormats at the front and back doors means you’ll lose most of the dirt and mud there, and asking people to remove their shoes is also a good move. However, if you still end up with mud caked into the carpet, a good thorough vacuum, potentially with some shop-bought carpet cleaner, should be enough to get your carpet looking good as new.

And with that, we’ve finished our 12 stains of Christmas! We hope you’ve found some useful tips in here that can help you keep your carpets clean throughout the festive season. If you have some more festive stains to add, or if you’re looking to replace your carpets in the new year, we would love to help. Just get in touch with the team today and book your free consultation.

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