Scary Halloween Stain Removal: An Earth-Friendly Guide

Neil Patrick Harris and family all dressed up for Halloween. The scariest part? All that makeup is going to leave a terrifying mess!

Neil Patrick Harris and family all dressed up for Halloween. The scariest part? All that makeup is going to leave a terrifying mess!

Halloween is right around the corner! Everyone at my house is busy decorating, planning costumes, and preparing treats. Every year we go all out on Halloween, trying to outdo each other for the scariest costumes and decorations, and every year the clean up is the scariest part! If your family loves Halloween, you probably know what I mean. But never fear! I have compiled this handy, non-toxic Halloween stain guide to help you combat the ghosties that linger behind on your carpet, your clothes, and even your skin!

I’d recommend reading over this guide thoroughly before Halloween night, so that you’ll be prepared if any of these terrifying stains occur on your watch. Be vigilant! Most stains can be removed, but most require immediate attention in order to prevent them from overstaying their welcome.

Dealing with Common Halloween Party Disasters

Oops! Looks like Dracula had a little accident.

Oops! Looks like Dracula had a little accident.

If you’re throwing a Halloween party, hosting a haunted house, or even having a couple of friends over to sip wine and eat chocolate while you hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, these tips might just come in handy.

  • Wine Stains on Carpet- For a red wine stain on carpet or upholstery, immediately soak the stained area with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the peroxide to penetrate the fibers. Then, spritz the area with a mixture of water and white vinegar and blot with a clean cloth until the stain is removed. Note: you must get started on this right away, before the wine dries, or it will be nearly impossible to remove.

  • Candle Wax on Carpet- DON’T ATTEMPT TO CLEAN WHILE WAX IS STILL WARM!!! Wait for the wax to cool, then scrape up what you can with a table knife or spatula. Then, fold paper towels into three layers and place over the stain. With an iron set to low, go back and forth over the stain until the paper towel absorbs the wax. You may have to repeat three or more times with fresh paper towels each time.

Getting Halloween Stains out of Clothes and Costumes

It's all fun and games until someone melts a snickers bar in their back pocket.

It's all fun and games until someone melts a snickers bar in their back pocket.

Post-Halloween laundry is ten times scarier than anything you’ll see on Halloween night. Trust me. In the world of cleaning, it’s right up there with vacuuming between the toddler seats in a minivan. But I do have a few non-toxic tricks up my sleeve when it comes to common Halloween stain culprits. The first thing to remember is that the sooner you attack the stain, the more likely you will be to claim a victory.

  • Chocolate- Soak stained area in detergent and let sit for 15-30 minutes, then launder as usual. Alternately, you might try soaking with an enzyme based stain remover or 3% hydrogen peroxide.

  • Cosmetics- Try 3-5 drops of glycerin, being careful to concentrate the glycerin directly over the stain. Attempt to scrape the stain off with a plastic spatula, then pretreat with your regular laundry detergent and wash in hot water.

  • Fake Blood- Give the tips in this article on how to clean fake blood off clothes a try.

Removing Costume Makeup and Adhesives from Skin

Pro-tip: Don't sleep in your zombie makeup.

Pro-tip: Don't sleep in your zombie makeup.

So you’re home from the evening’s festivities, and you’re probably ready to cue up Night of the Living Dead on Netflix and pass out on the couch. But! You can’t. You have to somehow remove all of that costume makeup from your face, neck and arms first. This is not the most awesome part of Halloween. Not by a long shot. But it must be done, or your skin will break out and your pillow will look like Frankenstein’s monster. First things first. Check the label of the cosmetic in question. Sometimes, it will tell you exactly how to remove it safely from your skin. If not, here are some methods to try.

  • Liquid Latex- Comes off with just soap and warm water.

  • Body Glue- Wipe with rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, cotton ball or cotton cosmetic pad.

  • Cosmetic Stains- If soap and water won’t get all of the costume makeup off your skin, try shaving cream, lotion or a small amount of gentle essential oil like lavender or tea tree oil.

Have a safe and happy Halloween, and don’t let those scary stains drive you to an early grave!

8 Things You're Probably Forgetting to Clean


"Out of sight, out of mind" goes the old proverb. This can be a good thing- like avoiding your ex when you are healing from the end of a relationship, or skipping the cookie aisle at the grocery store when you are trying to lose weight. Or, it can be a bad thing, like when your stack of work papers for the big deadline are hidden under a pile of junk mail.

In the context of a healthy home, there are many integral pieces that must, for various reasons, remain out of sight, but don't let that keep you from cleaning them. Here's a handy checklist of the eight most important things that need periodic or seasonal cleaning, that you are probably forgetting about. Print it out and hang it on your fridge or schedule a seasonal cleaning day in your calendar to address these sneaky "out of sight" tasks.

1. Your heating and air conditioning filters. In the off seasons, these could probably get by with just a vacuuming. But before the extreme temperatures kick in, be sure to replace the filters so that you and your family can breathe easy!

2. Your refrigerator coil. It can get pretty dusty back there! You want to pull out your fridge twice a year to clean all the fallen crumbs and morsels that can attract pests. While you're back there, clean the coil with a damp cloth (unplug the fridge first.) letting dust and cobwebs build up back there could pose a fire hazard. Bonus points if you clean the top of the fridge while you're at it!


3. Your floor vents. Those floor vent covers let nice, warm air into your house in the winter, but they also let dirt, pet hair, and all kinds of grub in to your heating ducts. Vacuum these out at least four times a year. More if you have indoor pets. Your family's lungs will thank you!

4. Under the rugs. Another age old proverb! Even though you probably aren't "sweeping it under the rug", it can get dirty under there just from normal use. Twice a year (more if you have pets), roll up your area rugs and vacuum underneath.

5. Behind the toilet. If you're like most people, when you clean your toilet, you are probably only getting the bowl and the visible parts on the front and side of the column. The back of the toilet is nearly impossible to see, and kind of difficult to get to. But this is an area that should be cleaned regularly in order to prevent bacteria and odor buildup. Try doing it every second or third time you clean the bathroom, depending on how high-traffic the bathroom is.

6. The pantry. Two to three times a year, go through all of your pantry storage areas and throw out food that is past the expiration date. Then take everything out, dust the shelves or inside the cupboards, and reorganize the food. This is a good time to introduce airtight plastic containers for things like rice, pasta, oatmeal and other foodstuffs that attract pests. (Pro Tip: use square, stackable containers for more economical use of space.)


7. The oven and range. At least twice a year, pull your oven out and clean the floor and walls around it. Take your drip pans out and scrub them (or replace if needed.) Clean the grease and dust that has probably collected on the hood, especially the parts you can't normally see. Finally, clean the inside of the oven.

8. Your kitchen cabinets. Spiders love to make their homes here. And dust can be a problem, as well. Twice a year or so, take all of the dishes, glasses and cookware out of your cabinets and vacuum. Then clean the shelves with a vinegar-water solution if necessary.

Hope this checklist helps you to keep your home clean, green and healthy! (Even the parts you don't see.)