From Turkey to Cranberry Sauce and Everything In-between: How to Clean Up Thanksgiving Dinner When Everything Goes Wrong

From Turkey to Cranberry Sauce and Everything In-between: How to Clean Up Thanksgiving Dinner When Everything Goes Wrong

The holiday season is here with all of its holiday messes. Along with your favorite dishes, the Thanksgiving table provides a healthy serving of stubborn stains. Whether you’re trying to clean cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie off of your tablecloth, area rug, or both, Charlie’s Soap has you covered. Let’s talk about the best ways to clean up Thanksgiving messes.

Oil and Grease

Unsurprisingly, many of the best Thanksgiving dishes are the ones leaving oil and grease behind. This includes gravy, mashed potatoes, and the holiday-defining centerpiece: the turkey. For these messes, you’ll want to act fast with the right products.

For greasy stains on fabrics, carpets, and upholstery, start by removing as much excess oil as possible with paper towels or a wet/dry vacuum. To make the next steps more effective, cover the stain with baking soda to absorb the remaining oil, and let it rest until the baking soda is damp.


At this point, you can pretreat to lift the stain. Liquid dish soap is a popular DIY solution. It can break through the oil—but its gentle formula makes it ineffective as a stain remover. For a more powerful cleaning, try covering the stained area with liquid laundry detergent. Our recommendation? Charlie’s Soap biodegradable liquid laundry detergent. It’s got the cleaning power to handle even the greasiest Thanksgiving food.

After you’ve let the stain soak in the detergent for thirty minutes, wash according to care instructions. We recommend air-drying to ensure that the stain has been completely lifted before exposing the garment to heat from the dryer.

Carpet and Upholstery

After you’ve removed the excess oil from the carpet or upholstery, you just need a powerful cleaning solution. That’s where Charlie’s Soap indoor and outdoor surface cleaner comes in. It’s the perfect solution to dozens of household cleaning conundrums—including upholstery and carpet stains. Wet the area with cool water, spray the cleaner once on every stain as big as your hand, and allow it to sit for fifteen minutes. Then, using a stiff cleaning brush or an old toothbrush, gently work the cleaner into the material. Afterward, blot up the residue using a clean cloth and cool water. Tada! Your area rug or upholstered dining chair is restored to its former glory.

Cranberry Sauce

Anyone who’s tried to remove cranberry juice stains can understand why we’ve given cranberry sauce its own section. The tannins in cranberry juice—the same thing that makes red wine spills such a problem—can turn a single cranberry sauce stain into a permanent fixture.

Can’t seem to make a dent in the red stains on your white tablecloth? Try upgrading your cleaning agent. When it comes to cranberry sauce, you need a strong product designed to lift tough stains. Flushing the stain with a water/ammonia solution or a cup of rubbing alcohol are popular options. Like chlorine bleach, ammonia, and rubbing alcohol are strong enough to break through the stain—but they can also damage colors and delicate fabrics. Colored clothes, silk tablecloths, and cushioned chairs are all at risk with these kinds of cleaners.

To get the same clean without the risk, try the oxygen bleach from Charlie’s Soap. Color-safe and gentle, it’s considered an all-material cleaner. It even works on your carpets and upholstery. You can make a convenient and powerful cleaning solution by mixing together a cup of cool water and a tablespoon of oxygen bleach in a spray bottle.


For cranberry stains on fabrics, spray the oxygen bleach directly onto the stained area. We recommend allowing it to soak for at least ten minutes so the oxygen bleach can work its magic. When you’re ready to wash, add two tablespoons of oxygen bleach to the drum of the washing machine. For best results, wash with a powerful laundry detergent using hot or warm water. Afterward, allow it to air-dry.

Carpet and Upholstery

For carpet and upholstery, our indoor and outdoor surface cleaner can help with even cranberry stains. After wetting the stained area, spray the cleaner once on every stain as large as your hand. Once it’s been soaking for fifteen minutes, scrub the stain, then blot away the excess with cool water and a clean cloth. 

Still dealing with a cranberry mess? For tough stains, you can also use the oxygen bleach mixture to remove cranberry stains on your carpet and upholstery. Start by spraying the stain with the cleaning solution, and let it soak for thirty minutes. Then, flush the area with cold water and blot away the residue. Just like that, cranberry sauce stains are a thing of the past.


Pumpkin pie, whipped cream, chocolate treats. Whatever you have for dessert on Thanksgiving, cleaning up the aftermath can be a breeze. Before you begin, remove any solid residue, so you’re ready to tackle the stain. From there, simply let the products do the heavy lifting.

For fabrics, pre-treat the stained area with a powerful cleaning agent, like our biodegradable laundry pre-spray stain remover before washing. Carpet or upholstery? Mix a tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent with a cup of cool water and blot it away. Easy as pie.

Need a Hand for the Holidays?

With so much going on during the holiday season, it’s no wonder it’s such a messy time of year. Charlie’s Soap has got your back. No matter what the season sends your way, we have a cleaning solution to clean it up. Discover the right Charlie’s Soap products for you.


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