Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to a day of being spoiled rotten. And there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned cookout to cap off the festivities.

But it never seems to fail when the whole family gets together: Either a hotdog will go haywire and send mustard flying; barbecue sauce will dribble on the tablecloth; or red wine will find its way onto the cushion of a deck chair. So this year, I’m coming to the party armed with a handy dandy guide to getting out food stains. Here’s a taste of my handy hints:

  • Ketchup—Blot it up with paper towels. Then pour a little club soda directly onto the spot, and immediately blot it again with a clean, dry cloth. Repeat a few times until the spot is gone.
  • Mustard—Wipe as much as you can away with a paper towel, then immediately apply a commercial laundry stain treater to the area. Wash the item in cold water and then check the spot. If a stain remains, rub some laundry detergent into it, and soak it in a sink full of warm, soapy water for about 12 hours, then launder the item.
  • Wine—When your cabernet gets tipsy, immediately cover the stain with salt. The salt will soak up the wine and counteract the stains while you finish your meal. Later, shake off the salt, rub some dishwashing liquid on the stain, and launder the cloth in cold water.
  • Barbecue sauce—Wet the spot with a sponge, then sprinkle the stain with salt and pour on a splash of club soda. Wipe it clean, and launder the item.
  • Grease—Place the stain facedown on a paper towel. Give the spot a squirt of grease-cutting dishwashing liquid, wait a minute or two, and rub it in with your fingertips. Then wash the item in cold water.

For more stain-busting secrets, check out my Cleaning Magic! book—FREE for 21 days! It’s filled with terrific tips that’ll make any mess disappear in a flash.