There are very few items on classic holiday meal lists that remain isolated to the feasts themselves. People have turkey year-round, not just during Thanksgiving. You can eat a ham steak with breakfast or mashed potatoes with dinner any time of year, and nachos with guacamole aren’t just for the Super Bowl, are they? One item that seems common only during holiday feasts, however, is cranberries and cranberry sauce. And if cranberries spill on your carpet or rug, they can make a very stubborn stain.
A Little Cranberry History
Cranberries have been a food item since before the American colonies, as they were cultivated by Native Americans. They grow best in natural wetlands and need a period of dormancy during cold winter months to mature properly. Since their harvest season is six weeks from Mid-September to Mid-November, and their shelf life lasts for only a few weeks after that, the cranberry season leads right into the following holiday season. It was only logical that cranberries accompany American festivities, either at the table or in decorations.
In the early 1900s Marcus Urann left his career as a lawyer and began farming cranberries in Massachusetts. Using his savvy business sense, Marcus came up with ways to extend the six-week shelf life of fresh cranberries. In 1933 he began distributing cranberry juice cocktail and other types of cranberry syrups. In 1939 he invented a way to allow the natural pectin of cranberries to coalesce and gelatinize, allowing it to last for months when canned. When he finally introduced his “cranberry sauce” idea to the public, they simply ate it up. His creation allowed cranberries to be on the dinner table for holidays year-round. Marcus also helped to unify farmers into a coalition of cranberry suppliers, eventually becoming the well-known Ocean Spray.
Removing Cranberry Stains
The natural red color in cranberries or any of its products can easily stain a carpet. If allowed to set, you’ll have a pink or red blotch that might require carpet surgery to get rid of it. In order to avoid that possibility, prompt action is necessary. Try the following steps to address the stain until Preferred Carpet Care in Redding can arrive and professionally tend to the stain.
- Use a spoon or dull straight edge to remove any pulp, chunks, or excess material from the spill. Use a clean white set of paper towels to blot the stain and absorb as much liquid as possible. Blot from the outward edge in to avoid spreading the stain, and do not use a rubbing or scrubbing motion as that will work the liquid deeper into the carpet pile.
- Mix a solution of 2/3 cup isopropyl alcohol and one tablespoon of white vinegar in a glass or plastic bowl. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain to apply the mixture. Afterward, blot the stain with dry, clean white paper or cloth towels. You might have to repeat these steps several times until you see no more color transference.
- Time to rinse the area. Using plain cold water and a clean cloth, sponge and blot the area to rinse any residual cleaning solution. If you have distilled water, it works even better.
- If the stain is still noticeable, try mixing 1 tablespoon ammonia with 2 cups of warm water and use it to blot and dab the area. NOTE: ammonia is an alkali base, whereas vinegar is an acid. If enough vinegar is left behind when applying the ammonia, the two will cancel each other out and neutralize their cleaning power. Make sure the area is well-rinsed before applying an ammonia solution.
Although there are some cleaning products that claim to remove or neutralize cranberry stains, your best option by far is the skill, expertise, and equipment available from Preferred Carpet Care in Redding. The above suggestions might just be enough to hold you over until we can arrive and knock the red out of that cranberry stain. Of course, a full carpet cleaning with carpet protector added is a great way to get ready for the holidays and any unforeseen accidental spills. For more information, please give our office a call or schedule an appointment online.
- Posted by Rod Barth
- On December 9, 2021