Someone in my household managed to get the sticky, sugary residue of Halloween lollies (chocolate and fruity/hard lollies) onto our wooden coffee table. NBD in that it wasn’t an expensive item, by any means, but I’d still prefer to clean it than to replace it. How can I get the patch of sticky stuff off without ruining the finish? I’ve tried a coarse sponge and detergent, with no luck.
Photo: Kevin Krejci/Flickr
This should, I think, be a pretty easy fix!
Removing Chocolate and Sticky Lollies From Hard Surfaces
There’s a super easy way to address sticky residue on hard surfaces that basically involves making a hot compress; all you need is a rag or sponge and very hot water. What you’ll do is this:
Soak the rag or sponge in hot water (if your hands are sensitive, you may want to don a pair of household gloves) and, moving quickly, wring it out so that it’s damp but not dripping. Then apply it to the sticky spot, bearing down firmly. Keep the compress on the sticky spot until it begins to lose its heat, then re-wet it, wring it out, and repeat as needed. The combination of the heat and the moisture will loosen the sticky substance, allowing you to then wipe it away. When you’ve removed the stickiness, dry the area so that the moisture doesn’t linger on the wood.
Another route you can choose is to use a product such as Goo Gone, Goof Off, or even good old WD-40. With any of these products, take the time to do a spot test to ensure they won’t cause damage to the surface in need of cleaning.
Chocolate Stains on Clothing, Upholstery and Carpet
Shout is excellent for getting chocolate stains out of fabric. (One of our commenters also mentioned that it’s great on poop stains, so maybe Shout is just The Stuff for brown stains?!?)
The most effective way to use Shout to remove chocolate stains from clothing (or bedding – I’ll level and say I’m not above eating the occasional piece of chocolate in bed while watching Vanderpump Rules) is to spray a small amount on the stain, then rub the stained fabric against itself until the chocolate comes out.
To use Shout on upholstery or carpeting, spray it onto the stain, then use a damp rag or sponge to gently scrub at the stain. Once the stain is gone, wipe away any remaining Shout with a clean, damp sponge or rag.
If a lolly gets stuck between floorboards, a scraper tool or butter knife can be used to dislodge it. Then, use your vacuum to suck up the loosened sweet.
Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag … And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha. Her flagship column, “Ask a Clean Person”, debuted in 2011. Here on Lifehacker, we’re launching a new iteration of it, focusing on parenting and all the messes it brings.