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How to Get Halloween Stains Out of Your Clothes and Costumes

October 25th, 2017

If Halloween usually ends up playing a dirty trick on your clothing, don’t be frightened: Your clothes can be cleaned!

Fake blood, face and body paints, makeup and candy can all ravage your costumes or clothes, but unlike the things that go bump in the night, they don’t have to linger. Below, we break down the top three worst types of Halloween-related stains and how to get rid of them.

Fake blood: Don’t fret if Dracula did a number on you! Cold water, like a wooden stake against a vampire, is your friend. Place your (fake) blood-soaked clothing in a washer filled with cold water, baking soda and white distilled vinegar. Agitate for a few minutes to loosen the stains, turn the washer off, and let the items soak overnight. In the morning, finish the wash cycle and make sure all stains are removed before drying.

Face paint and makeup: Face and body paint can be a great addition to your Halloween costume… but not to your clothes. If the paint has already dried onto your fabric, use a hard-bristle brush (a clean, dry toothbrush will work) to scrape off the dry paint. Then, add a mixture of warm water and dishwashing soap and scrub. Finally, spray with cold water and blot with rubbing oil, repeating until the stain has been removed.

Chocolate: Did trick or treating play a trick on your clothes? Don’t worry—it doesn’t take an army of the undead to remove chocolate stains! First, gently scrape or blot up any excess chocolate from the stain, avoiding pushing the stain in further. Run cold water or cold seltzer through the back of the stain to loosen chocolate particles, and then soak in a laundry detergent or dishwashing liquid, saturating thoroughly.

Afterwards, soak the item for 20 minutes in cold water, gently scrubbing every few minutes and rinsing until the stain has disappeared. (You can also apply a commercial stain remover if the stain lingers.) Finally, wash as usual in the washing machine and repeat any steps to ensure the stain is removed before drying normally.