By: Brett Parent, Senior Chemist at BISSELL®.
Halloween is a holiday centered around all things spooky, and one of the scariest encounters of all can be the candy, decorating and costume makeup spills and stains! These are not your average, everyday stains – Halloween stains are seriously spooky stuff. Every season presents its own set of tricky stains, so I put together this guide specific to removing Halloween-related stains. In it, you’ll discover everything from how to get pumpkin smell out of carpet to how to get rid of fake blood stains on carpet to how to handle costume makeup mishaps.
Hands down, the scariest stains during Halloween are fake blood. (Of course, we can be serious and cover real blood, which is pretty scary too, but we cover how to get blood out of carpet and how to get blood out of fabric in this post). Believe it or not, real blood is an easier stain to remove than fake blood. I like to tell people to check the ingredients in the fake blood they plan to use. Unfortunately, most brands do not list their ingredients, but on the ones that do, you’ll most likely see red dye, FD&C Red #40 on the list. This dye is nearly impossible to get out of fabric. I like to compare it to dyes that are used on your clothes. Let’s say you have a red and white striped shirt. That shirt is dyed red, so the color stays on the fabric when you wash it. That’s essentially how FD&C Red #40 works, too.
That being said, I cannot guarantee these steps will diminish the stain, only because of the ingredients in fake blood, but they may help lessen the stain! They can also help remove stains from costume make up and regular makeup. Just be sure to test the recommended formulas for colorfastness on an inconspicuous section of your carpet or upholstery before using it on the stain.
- Start by spraying the stain with a grease-fighting solution like Tough Stain Pretreat for Carpet & Upholstery.
- Use a cloth to make light strokes starting at the edge of the stain and working towards the center.
- Let this sit for 5 minutes.
- While you’re waiting, prepare your upright carpet cleaner or portable carpet and upholstery cleaner. For this kind of stain, I recommend Professional Spot & Stain + Oxy for portable cleaners and PRO OXY Deep Clean Carpet Formula for full-size machines.
- Use your machine to clean the stain.
- Repeat steps 2-5 as needed until the stain is gone or at least lessened.
Other costume-related stains include nail polish and spray-on hair dye. To get nail polish out of carpet or other surfaces, check out this post. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them removing stains left by spray-on hair dye is actually pretty easy. It’s because the dye is temporary, so it’s designed to come out in just a few washes. That means getting it on carpet or fabric is easy to remove. Try the Tough Stain Pretreat I mentioned above and just follow the steps on the label to remove the stain. If you get hair dye on clothing, pretreat it and toss it in the wash with our InstaClean™ Laundry Boost & Multi-Purpose Stain Remover.
Not-So Sweet Stains
No Halloween post would be complete without taking about candy stains. There are so many types of candy that pop up around this time of year and that can mean endless possibilities when it comes to candy stains. Luckily, the steps for removing chocolate from carpet or sofas are almost identical to removing sticky and hard candy stains from the same surfaces. They’ll work for getting pumpkin stains and odors out of carpet, too. For all Halloween candy and food-related stains, I recommend these basic steps:
- Scrape up what you can.
- Pretreat with Tough Stain Pretreat for Carpet & Upholstery.
- Wait 5 minutes.
- Use a portable carpet and upholstery cleaner or an upright carpet cleaner, depending on how big the stain. Because food stains can also sometimes include odors, I recommend using Pet Stain & Odor Upright Carpet Cleaning Formula and this version for portable cleaners.
- Use your machine to clean the stain.
- Repeat steps 2-5, as needed.
For candy stains that are particularly sticky, like caramel, make sure when you get to step 4 your machine is filled with hot water (you can use water that’s as hot as 140° F). This will help loosen and melt some of the stain, so it’s easier to remove.
I hope these tips help make Halloween and its potential messes a little more fun and less frightening!
About Brett: Brett Parent has nearly 25 years of chemistry experience in the household cleaner industry. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University. In his role at BISSELL, he leads the development of innovative formulas that help remove the toughest stains life, and pets, throw our way.