Nightmare Messes & How to Clean Them

If you have children, pets or guests, then you will know that accidents around the house are always bound to happen. Life is too short to let nightmare messes ruin your day – here are a few remedies that we like to recommend.

Best Cleaning Solutions for Nightmare Messes

There are some stains and spills that can be a real pain to clean up – But with the right tricks up your sleeve, you can tackle these nightmare messes with more ease than you thought. Some of the most common stains to give us grief are red wine, glue, gum, or permanent marker. Here are some clever techniques to help you handle these problems like a pro!

Red Wine


With red wine spills you want to make sure to treat the stain as quickly as possible before it has time to set into the fibers.

  1. The first step is to blot the stain to remove any wine that hasn’t been absorbed yet. Do not rub it! That will just set the stain into the material, making it even harder to lift off the fibers. You can either use paper towels or a clean cloth.
  2. Then, in a small bowl, combine 2 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. For really deep stains you may need to use something a bit stronger, like Oxi Clean. Works best when you fill a big tub with hot water and a few scoops of Oxi Clean.
  3. Soak the fabric then wash like you normally would. Don’t dry the fabric in case the stain didn’t fully come out as drying will make the stain set.



Your removal method will vary depending on the surface you are removing glue from.

To remove glue from glass, our favorite methods are nail polish remover, white vinegar, or WD-40. Let your method of choice soak for a few minutes, then remove the glue by wiping with a clean cloth.

Removing glue from wood works best when heated with your trusty hair dryer. Make sure to use the lowest setting and direct the heat over the dried-on glue for about 15 seconds.

Make sure to keep the nozzle 2-3 inches away from the glue so you don’t overheat and damage the finish on the wood. Use a plastic scraper and slowly peel off the glue from one edge while you continue heating the area.

For the extra-sticky glue it may require a little more heat before peeling. If you’re dealing with a thick layer or drip of glue you can try carefully sanding the residue. Other glue stains may respond better if you apply petroleum jelly overnight. This will saturate the glue just enough to ease it off with a plastic scraper the next day.  

Removing glue from the plastic can be tricky as you don’t want the color of the plastic to fade or disappear. More importantly, you don’t want to use a solution that will melt the plastic or emit dangerous fumes. The best all-natural solutions are white vinegar or cooking oil.

If you’re lucky the glue doesn’t stick properly to the plastic and you can easily remove it with a plastic scraper. If that doesn’t work, saturate the spot with either vinegar or oil. Dab it into the glue and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen it up. Rub it with a dry, clean cloth until the glue comes off, then wash the plastic.



There are many tricks and techniques you can try to remove gum from clothes. Some of those include freezing, boiling, rubbing alcohol, ironing, vinegar, laundry soap, hair spray, and WD-40.

Freezing: fold the fabric so the gum faces outwards. Place the fabric into a plastic bag, ensure the gum doesn’t stick to the bag. Seal and place into freezer for 2-3 hours so the gum freezes. Remove fabric from the freezer and peel the gum off as quickly as possible using a dull butter knife so you don’t cut the fabric. Make sure the gum doesn’t thaw as this will make it harder to scrape off.

Boiling: submerge the affected area in boiling water. While submerged scrape off gum with a toothbrush, knife or putty knife. Scrub the fabric while it’s still immersed in the boiling water. Let the fabric dry and repeat if necessary.

Rubbing alcohol: for delicate fabrics rubbing alcohol won’t stain or remove the color from your fabric. Use a sponge or rag with just a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Rub the gum with the rag or sponge, waiting a couple minutes for the alcohol to take effect. Using a spatula gently remove the gum. Wash with soap and water, rinse and dry.

Ironing: place the fabric on top of a piece of cardboard so the gum is facing the cardboard. On the opposite side of the fabric iron the area on medium setting. The gum should transfer off the fabric and onto the cardboard. Repeat as necessary. Wash the fabric like you normally would and the gum should be completely removed.

Vinegar: heat 1 cup of vinegar to just below a boil. Dip a toothbrush in the hot vinegar and rub onto the gum. Work quickly as this works best when the vinegar is hot. Continue to dip and rub the toothbrush into the vinegar and onto the gum until it’s completely gone. You may need to reheat the vinegar as needed.

Laundry Soap: cover the gum in liquid laundry soap, using a toothbrush to work it into the gum to break it up. Use a blunt knife to gently scrape away the gum. You may need to use your fingernail to scrape the last remnants of gum off the fabric.  

Hair Spray: use a small amount of hairspray directly on the gum which will cause it to harden. Quickly scrape the gum off and wash as normal.

WD-40: spray the WD-40 directly onto the gum. Rub the area with a toothbrush or cloth and wash as normal.

Permanent Marker


Clothes: use a towel to dab hand sanitizer onto the stain rather than rubbing it. Use an old towel or paper towel on the backside of the item to absorb the ink.

Walls: dab regular toothpaste (not gel) or hairspray onto the stain rather than rubbing it so you don’t spread the ink around.

Wood: blot rubbing alcohol onto the stain and let sit for a few minutes. Repeat until the stain is completely gone. Be careful you don’t remove the varnish or stain on the wood.

Carpet: dab white vinegar onto the stain. You don’t want to rub the stain as that will spread the stain further into the fibers. Then blot the area with a clean, damp rag to lift the stain out of the carpet. An extra tip is to use an iron to help lift the stain out.

Whiteboard: simply draw over the permanent marker with a dry erase marker and simply wipe away.

Ceramic or Glass: combine 1 part toothpaste and 1 part baking soda and rub onto the stain with a paper towel, repeating until completely gone.

Metal: rubbing alcohol or regular toothpaste (not gel) works great on stainless steel appliances. Apply to affected area and the marker should wipe right off!

After nearly 25 years in the cleaning business, we have seen our fair share of tricky messes and have many tools and tips in our arsenal to help manage them.

Contact us for your vacation home cleaning Eyes 4 Detail, serving Osoyoos and area (250) 486-0036


  • Please try these tips and remedies at your own discretion. Not every solution will work for all surfaces.


One comment

  1. A wine stain is a mess that you don’t want on your hands, so you need to make sure that you don’t get this mess on your carpet. I had to remove a wine stain one time, and it was not a good time for me.

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