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What to Do When Halloween Sticks to Your Walls, Your Floor, Your Couch

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nov4homespunweb.jpgBy Barbara Mahany

RISMEDIA, Nov. 4, 2008-(MCT)-Psst, in case you hadn’t noticed, the annual rite of chocolate-smeared fingers and sticky-candy thumbprints is over. Now that the spooktacular holiday has past, your little goblins might have you shrieking, what with all the high-fructose havoc they and their tricky treats trail through your hallowed halls. But have no fear, we’re here to race to your cleanup rescue. In fact, sit back, rip the wrapper off your own leftover chocolate-peanut-butter bar and pay no mind to what the darlings dare to do. You’ve got it covered now.

1. When hard candy turns into icky sticky candy. You know how little people love to take a taste of anything under a clear crinkly wrapper? Only then they decide, after gobbing it around a while, they’d rather take a taste of something else? So they spit Sticky Something No. 1 out, or maybe just paw it long enough to make for sticky fingers that will surely leave tell-tale clues all over the walls, the rug, the bedsheets even. Well, relax, and make yourself a Halloween cleanup cocktail: Mix 1/3 cup of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of water, and blot, blot, blot. Blot once more with detergent water, and finish by blotting with clean water. When in doubt, a fine all-purpose cleaner-upper is 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid to 8 cups hot water.

2. When your smiley jack-o’-lantern starts drooling wax. Downright spooky, isn’t it? Raise your hand if you’ve never ever forgotten to blow out the candle, after the last of the tricksters trickled to your door. All right then, for those of us without our arms waving in the air, let’s get down to spilled wax. The easiest, best cleanup for wax that oozes or splatters onto your kitchen table, couch or your grandma’s tablecloth is Weiman Wax Away Candle Wax Remover ($5.99 for an 8-ounce bottle). All you do is dribble a few drops right onto the spill, or onto a cotton ball that you can then dab onto the wax. Hold it there for three to five minutes, then carefully scrape away, using your fingernail, or a butter knife, or whatever will gently scrape off the wax without scratching the surface. The folks at Weiman Products, makers of fine furniture creams, polishes and cleaning solutions, say that Wax Away works best on wood, or plastic-coated or painted furniture. If you’re getting wax off any sort of fabric, place an absorbent cloth underneath, then squirt Wax Away directly on the splotch and soak for five minutes. If it’s on a rug, squirt Wax Away onto a clean white cloth and rub until wax is removed. Clean right away with hot soapy water.

3. By golly, what’s that wad of gum doing on the wall? The folks at Weiman, who field cleaning calls all day long, all year, but especially at Halloween, say the No. 1 cleanup crisis is bits or blobs of gum stuck where they shouldn’t be. It’s a cinch, says Libby Gerberi, marketing manager for Weiman who adds: “You don’t even need a product.” All you need is ice. And a plastic baggie. Just hold your ice-filled bag over the gum wad, until it freezes hard. It’ll then be a snap to loosen and peel right off.

4. But what if Dracula spills blood? Now there’s a pointed question. Before you faint, grab the salts. And we mean table salt here, folks. Douse it all over the spilled faux blood to absorb the moisture in the stain. Then, dab with a concoction of ½ cup hydrogen peroxide to 3 cups water. Depending how dark the stain is, you might need to follow up with heavy-duty carpet cleaner or, double drat, call in the carpet-scrub brigade.

5. Hey, who decked the halls (and the brand-new leather couch) in chocolate? Egad, you gasp, when waking up the morning after, only to find a trail of chocolate smeared all the way from the front stoop to the couch, where at last the sugar-loaded sweet ones fell into a hyperglycemic stupor. First, grab your morning-after cleaner-upper cocktail (remember, the all-purpose dish-soap ‘n’ water up in Things to Know No.1). Get it off the walls and floors with that, and when you get to the leather couch, switch to a clean, dry cloth. Blot away the excess candy. Avoid wiping, as that will only spread the stain. Then, stand back and let the stain dissipate into the leather. Do not apply water, or try to wash. Once it’s dried completely, try a leather wipe or whatever conditioner the couch-maker recommends. Now, lie down and count the days till December holidays bring on the sugarplums and candy canes.

© 2008, Chicago Tribune.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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