There’s only one thing scarier than a vampire: Halloween messes. Your house looks more frightening on November 1 than it did the entire month of October! Chocolate’s melted on your couch, sticky candy wrappers are hidden under pillows, toilet paper is hanging on your lawn, your pumpkin’s smashed on the porch, and your bathroom is covered in deconstructed zombie costume parts.
But there’s no reason to be afraid of hosting a huge Halloween party. Thankfully, there are easy and natural ways to clean these messes—with products you already have around the house!
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite mess: pumpkin. This squishy, hardened mess is in a class of its own. Your pumpkin is smashed, rotting, oozing, or stuck to your porch.
Start by scraping up any loose gunk with a spoon. You can also cover it with a solution of hot water and dishwashing liquid. The hot water will help loosen any gunk and wash away any leftover bits.
As this is drying, apply WD-40 to your porch. This will help unstick your pumpkin guts in a flash without any harsh scrubbing. (You can also use WD-40 on your tools before carving your pumpkin to keep the equipment from sticking.)
Psst.., Have any leftover pumpkin seeds? Throw them on a baking sheet with Pam or parchment paper. Cover in olive oil and spices—cinnamon or Cajun spice, for example. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes or until browned. These are a deliciously healthy snack that uses all parts of your favorite October fruit.
Chocolate stains are the most frightening of them all. First, scrape off any excess chocolate with a butter knife or spoon. Soak a cloth in a warm, soapy solution. Rub in circular motions gently. If the chocolate is not coming up, try Borax, which is an eco-friendly stain lifter. Dip a rag in Borax and hold on the area. Rinse with cold water and pat dry.
Melted, sticky candies are stubborn and nearly impossible to scrub up. Whether on fabric or hard surfaces, you’ll need a little extra power and exfoliation to free those candies.
Remove any excess candy, lollipops, marshmallows, or caramels stuck to the surface. You may need to scrape off with a butter knife, spoon, or scraper tool. You can also try a vacuum with soft hose attachment if the candy is small enough.
Create a solution of 1/3 white vinegar and 2/3 hot water. Dip a rag in the mixture and blot on the candy spot. Hold down with pressure. The hot water will help loosen the dried sugar while the white vinegar will lift up any colored stains. If this doesn’t get rid of the stain, sprinkle baking soda over the area. Use a rag to scrub gently in circular motions. Blot with cool water to lift any final coloring or gunk.
Gum is popular in surprise-lollipops or at the houses of people who forgot to buy candy. If you find gum stuck to your clothing or house, begin by applying ice to the area. This will harden the gum so it’s easier to scrape off with a butter knife. Clean the area with a white vinegar and water solution to get rid of any last bits hanging around.
If you made any delicious Halloween desserts, don’t forget to give your bakeware a little extra care.
If your house was TP-ed, try to clean up the mess before the rain or sprinklers turn on. Wet toilet paper is a lot harder to clean up than dry toilet paper. If you can’t reach the TP in the trees, attach duct tape around your broom or mop end. Reach up and stick the mop to the toilet paper to help pull it down.
If your car or house was egged, you have to get cleaning before the stench sets in. Use a hose to spray away any egg gunk and disperse the initial smell particles. If the egg is hardened on the surface, use a solution of half vinegar and half water. Soak an old rag or paper towel in the water-vinegar mixture, and leave on the spot for 15-20 minutes. Rub in circular motions to pull up the spot. Wipe down with a fresh, wet rag of cool water.
Shaving cream can quickly stain if not taken care of. Star by using a hose to disintegrate the foam. You may also want to wipe it up with a microfiber cloth or paper towel to avoid spreading the shaving cream to other areas. If you have shaving cream on your car, you may want to get it professionally waxed in the upcoming week to prevent long-term staining.
The same is true for silly string! If silly string leaves a colored residue, you should be able to lift it up with simple soap and water.
P.S. Learn how to clean up goopy slime here!
Pick up any excess glitter with a powerful vacuum. This will lift most of the glitter from the floor and furniture. If you still can’t get some of the glitters up, try a dry mop, lint roller, baby wipes, or even Play-Doh. These will help attach to extra glitter, so you won’t have to find glitter sequins around your house for the next few years.
Fake blood is made from corn syrup and red dye—meaning it’s just waiting to stain your fabrics. It’s just like a vampire-worthy red wine stain! The best way to lift fake blood is with rubbing alcohol. This will cut through the stickiness and remove the red dye. Dab the rubbing alcohol on the stain with a cotton ball or rag. Hold on the stain and pull up with a sideways motion. Be sure to soak your fabrics in cool water and launder appropriately in order to ensure the entire stain lifts.
Your daughter went to bed with her green witch makeup still on… and now it’s all over the sheets. Costume makeup tends to be thick and greasy, which makes it hard to get out of fabric. Try using an oil-free makeup remover to help counteract the oil in the makeup and lift stains. You can also use rubbing alcohol. Consider a stain pre-treatment before throwing in the wash.
P.S. Remove costume makeup before going to sleep using baby wipes. These will be safe on your children’s skin while effectively removing traces of makeup.
Shower-out colored hairspray before bed to prevent it transferring to your sheets. But if that blue hair still gets on the linens, start by washing the fabric in cold, running water. Then, apply a stain treatment product. If you don’t have a pre-treatment on hand, use rubbing alcohol. Apply with a cotton ball and let sit as long as needed.
If the colored hairspray got on hard surfaces—like your white tiled master bathroom—you can use a water and white vinegar solution. You may also want to sprinkle baking soda on top of the area to help scrub up the particles with a rag. You can also try using a magic eraser to pull up tough tile stains.
Too much candy (or booze) tends to result in an unpleasant expulsion. If someone vomits, lift as much as you can with paper towels (while wearing gloves). Sprinkle a hefty portion of baking soda on the area. Leave for fifteen minutes. This will help dry out the vomit so it can be easily vacuumed up. Baking soda can also help deodorize and remove stains. Make sure to keep the kids and pets away during this process.
Enjoy the mess on Halloween with the peace of mind that you can easily, quickly, and naturally clean it all up tomorrow.
What are your least favorite Halloween messes? Share them below with your own cleaning tips!