Halloween cleanup can be the scariest thing about the holiday. Here's a tip sheet on how to remove eggs, toilet paper, wax, and other messes that go bump in the night.
Halloween can be a messy holiday. With pranksters about, you may end up with egg yolks dripping down your siding and toilet paper hanging from your trees. Inside, you might drip candle wax on your carpet, and your little ones could leave makeup stains on your furniture. Hey -- it's the price of having fun.
But when the fun is over, the cleanup begins. Here are some tips from the American Cleaning Institute and others on removing the Halloween mayhem that little tricksters leave behind.
Time is your enemy when your house has been egged, because sunbaked yolks can stain your siding. Also, micro-shards of shell can become embedded in paint or act as an abrasive when you clean off the gunk.
Instead of scrubbing, spray away the egg with your garden hose. But don't aim the hose full blast at the yolk, which will splatter the mess. Instead, Popular Mechanics magazine suggests first wetting the siding below the egg, then gently spraying the siding above the egg; the water will fall in sheets and flush away the mess.
If you need more cleaning oomph, dip a brush into a bucket of warm water (never hot, which will bake on yolks) and dish soap, and then scrub away the mess.
Wet toilet paper is a beast to remove from trees. So wait until the sun evaporates dew; or, if rain is predicted, start removal right away.
Use a rake to grab and pull the TP down, a leaf blower to blast it, or a telescoping reacher/grabber to pluck it.
Start at the top and work your way down. Immediately throw paper away: Leaving it on your lawn can smother grass.
Never try to remove hot wax from carpeting. Not only can you burn yourself, but you'll likely spread the wax, making a bigger mess.
When the wax has cooled, break it with a dull knife or Popsicle stick. Throw away the pieces.
Cover remaining bits with a paper towel or rag, and press a warm iron to the area. Replace the towel frequently to avoid spreading the wax.
Many commercial carpet and upholstery cleaners remove makeup from unwanted places. The only tricky part is applying these cleaners.
Always test the cleaner on an inconspicuous spot. Apply a dab of cleaner on a white cloth, then hold it to the test area for about a minute. If no color is transferred to the white cloth, the cleaner is safe.
Never rub cleaner on a stain. Rather, blot the stain starting from its outer edge and work to the center.
What pranks and Halloween messes have you had to clean up? Got some good cleaning tips?
Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She's been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL.