Home & Living

Where You Live Might Say A Lot About The Stains In Your House

01/08/2015 07:00am ET | Updated January 12, 2015

Now that the holidays are over, you may have glanced around your house and noticed some new stains in places where they weren't before. According to a survey by The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), where you live might determine the types of stains you're most likely to encounter this time of year.

An online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the institute between November 13-17 revealed the types of stains people typically encountered between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. And while the survey sample was small -- just 2,014 people over age 18 -- the results were interesting nonetheless.

Chocolate and fruit punch/dye-based drinks caused the most stains.

Chocolate and fruit punch/dye-based drinks tied at 26 percent as the top stains found during the holiday season. Jessika James, an IICRC instructor, credits this to the prevalence of children in homes during this time. "I would imagine with the running around and the holidays, the Tangs and fruit juices get spilled on the floor," says James. The next popular stains were grease (23 percent), red or white wine (21 percent) and candle wax (19 percent).

To get rid of chocolate stains, the University of Illinois Extension has some great advice: Saturate the area with laundry stain remover. For fruit juices, you'll want to soak the stain in hand dishwashing detergent and white vinegar. And for red wine, don't even think about using white wine.

If you live in the Midwest, you're more likely to see vomit stains more than those who live in the Northeast or the West.

The explanation for this one is unclear. "Usually when we see vomit, it is associated with a hospital situation or an elderly situation," says James. "Maybe this area had a larger percentage of college students and children who could have been overeating." Whichever is the case, removing the stains are not fun. Here's how the University of Illinois advises to do so: Scrape off the excess material and soak it for 15 minutes in lukewarm water with hand dishwashing detergent and ammonia.

People in the Northeast probably ate more cranberry sauce than people in the Midwest.

If you're one of those people who ate a ton of cranberry sauce this holiday season and it's showing all over your house, treat it with a mix of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar.

Banana Peel
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Use a banana peel to polish your silverware -- blend the peels with a little bit of water to make a polishing paste.
Cucumber
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Use cucumber slices to polish stainless steel pots, pans or your faucet and sink. Also use it to remove marks from walls -- it works like an eraser.
Onions
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Get your grill piping hot and use an onion half (stuck onto the prongs of a long-handled fork) to scrub the grates clean.
Tea
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Use your used tea bags (cooled) to clean wood surfaces like cabinets and floors and use the cooled tea as a polish -- the tea's tannins do all the work of cleaning.
Walnuts
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Use a walnut half to remove scratches from wood cabinetry or furniture -- its natural oils help lift scratches.
Rice
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Use a small amount of rice to clean out your coffee grinder -- just whizz and dump.
Ketchup
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Use ketchup to polish all kinds of copper: pots, pans and bowls. The natural acidity of the tomatoes will make the copper shine.
Stale Bread
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Use stale bread to clean your spice grinder or coffee grinder -- it will remove any leftover residue and smell.
Coffee Grinds
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Use used coffee grinds as a hand scrub or a cleaning scrub for greasy surfaces. You can also use the grinds to deodorize your fridge.
Club Soda
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Use club soda to remove stains from fabrics and carpeting. It's also great for cleaning your cast-iron skillet -- just pour some into your hot skillet after cooking and let it work its magic.
Olive Oil
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Use olive oil to buff your stainless steel pots and pans. Also use it to clean your cast-iron skillet -- make a paste with some coarse salt and scrub.
Salt
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Coarse salt is great as a natural scouring agent. Use it to scrub your wood cutting board (with a lemon half). Pour some table salt onto an oven spill to make it easier to clean up later. Table salt also works to lift a fresh wine stain from a tablecloth -- wash the fabric soon after.
Lemon
The natural acidity of lemons is great for cleaning. Use a lemon half to clean and remove stains from your wood cutting board and use it to polish your copper (with some baking soda). It also works to remove lime scale from your kitchen faucet. Put a lemon half down your garbage disposal to deodorize.
Vinegar
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White vinegar can be used as an all-purpose surface cleaner -- for tough cleaning use it straight but for general cleaning halve it with water. Also use vinegar to remove water stains from glasses.
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