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Being a clumsy girl is a way of life, but all of the public stumbles and splats never get any less embarrassing. They just happen, and the klutzes among us deal with it. But, this time of year brings up a very specific set of challenges; one rife with cranberry-colored punch bowls, delicious-but-oily finger foods, and celebratory libations that can up the clumsy ante exponentially.

Thankfully, Charles Ickes is an expert who can help a lady out when she’s splotched her new party gear with stains. As Rent The Runway‘s vice president of operations, he oversees the care of the company’s 65,000 ready-to-be-rented garments, including the regular cleaning and intensive stain treating performed by RTR’s in-house “spotters.” A recent Fast Company feature cited “a methodical 20-step process most spotters use to attack a stain to avoid ruining clothing.” Luckily, Ickes’ tips ahead are much more DIY-friendly, and two steps, tops.

We provided Ickes with the most common of clumsy party fouls — ones we’ve committed ourselves — in search of easy solutions that will make the next couple months of merriment a little bit easier on the most prized items in our closet. Party on.

Party Punch
You didn’t mean to gesture to the windows or the walls with your mulled wine in hand. But, you did didn’t you? And, now your pastel ensemble is splotched with deep-red dribbling and your friends have already started with the bib jokes.

The Clean Up
“If the punch is made up of natural juices,” or tannins, as Ickes explains, “acids will help to remove the stain. Good acids around the house would be vinegar or lemon juice. If the juice has red dyes, you may need to let soak overnight in Sodium perborate which is the key ingredient in Clorox 2. Always test a hidden area on the garment [first] to test if the acid will affect the dye.”

Nail-Polish Nicks
If you don’t give yourself a manicure at the 11th hour, you don’t give yourself a manicure at all. But, because of your last-minute primping, you’ve also failed to avoid the fibers on your sweater as you tied on your winter scarf. Nope, sadly that is not festive confetti on your top.

The Clean Up
“This one may seem like a no-brainer: Nail polish remover (acetone) removes nail polish,” says Ickes. “That said, it’s especially important that you check a hidden area of the garment before trying this method out. Also, be [sure to] check the label: If the fabric is acetate, DO NOT use acetone as it will dissolve the fabric. For instance, many slips are made of acetate, so you could end up removing the stain, but putting a hole in the slip.”

The Makeup Ring
It’s 4 a.m., you just got home, and the only thing you want to do is rip off your clothes and hit the hay. But, because of your neglecting to remove your perfectly crafted makeup look, you awake to discover that your dress has removed it for you. That’s…thoughtful?

The Clean Up
“This is a tough one that you may need to bring to an expert,” says our own expert. “Start with water, detergent, and a brush. Hit the fabric with the brush rather than a back and forth motion — this will loosen up the stain. If the bronzer fails to lift, you can try some rubbing alcohol. You can also try Clorox 2 overnight or use a bit of peroxide to remove the stain. Always test the peroxide on a hidden area to make sure the dyes in the garment are unaffected.”

Glitter Overload
In your defense, Clumsy Girl, everyone else at the bash was doused in rainbow glitter, too. And, you won’t be the only one finding it in your favorite knit — or around your apartment — for weeks to come.

The Clean Up
“Glitter is an insoluble soil so it doesn’t break down. Your best bet is to use extra detergent to lubricate the glitter, remove it, and flush it out,” Ickes advises. “Do multiple rinses in the washer with detergent then a final clean.”

Greasy Hors d’Oeuvres
It’s a special occasion and you deserve to go a bit H.A.M on the passed apps if you so choose. And, by H.A.M. we mean prosciutto-wrapped everything, shiitake spring rolls, and all the mini artisan grilled cheeses you can handle. But, watch where you wipe your shiny, post-snack fingers — oops, too late.

The Clean Up
“Dawn dishwashing liquid is a brilliant degreaser,” Ickes tells us. And, for additional help pulling oil from fabric, try sprinkling the spot with baby power and letting it sit for a few hours or overnight before treating the stain. This writer swears by that method.

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