You slip into your little black dress, hear a knock at the door, and rush downstairs. Your guests have arrived. You usher everyone into the dining room, put your favorite record on, and start opening bottles of wine. You introduce old friends to new friends and soon everyone feels comfortable enough to start dancing before hors d’oeuvres. You don’t think the evening could be off to a better start—until you catch sight of a friend out of the corner of your eye. She’s growing evermore tipsy and seems to be doing the salsa with an interesting partner: her glass of wine. Every guest takes notice and starts to clap and laugh until—gasp!—she goes in for the cross-body lead and spills wine all over your new rug.
Whether you’ve recently experienced a similar scenario yourself or have simply heard horror stories, you can understand the dread that comes along with having to clean (or discard) your sullied rug.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to prep for and host a dinner party without having to worry about the state of your favourite flooring:
1. Ask Guests to Remove Shoes
Embarrassing, right? Not necessarily. Invite guests to remove shoes so you don’t have to worry about each guest tracking in dirt, mud, and rainwater. If you don’t feel comfortable asking them to remove their shoes in person, place a “please remove shoes” sign or “please clean shoes on mat before entering” sign on the door.
2. Choose Light Liquids
Light-colored liquids are one of the easiest ways to avoid spills and stains. Dark sodas, juice, and red wine are the best drinks to stray away from. If you’re worried this might limit your serving options, don’t be. There is an assortment of light-coloured—and tasty—beverages every guest will appreciate.
- White Wine – Although red wine is a tad more popular than white wine, the latter is just as delicious.
- Water – Water doesn’t have to be boring. Stock up on sparkling water or add lemons, limes, or strawberry to give it an extra kick of flavour.
- Sprite, 7UP, and Sierra Mist – Light-coloured sodas are rich in flavour and won’t cause significant damage if spilled.
Be creative. Try different recipes and cocktails that will quench every guests’ thirst without ruining your carpet and rugs.
3. Serve Cleaning-Friendly Foods
Beverages aren’t the only consumables that will stain your floors. Foods come in all shapes, sizes, and colours—only serve foods that will be easy to clean up if spilled. The most troublesome foods and condiments include the following:
- Tomato-based sauces and soups
- Peanut butter
- Ketchup and mustard
- Melted cheese
- Barbeque sauce
If you’re strapped for ideas on what to serve, try any of the following:
- Meat, pineapple, and pepper skewers
- Fish tacos
- White bean dip with homemade pita chips
- Bacon-wrapped asparagus
- Goat cheese-stuffed figs
- Pasta salad
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Sliced bread and rolls
- Zucchini bites
Don’t limit yourself. Think outside the box and create foods that will satisfy taste buds and protect your treasured rug.
4. Limit Entertainment Space
Although you want to welcome your guests into your home and make them feel comfortable, it’s important to establish “do not enter” zones. Whether you have recently installed carpet or purchased a new rug, don’t expect curious guests to keep off of your favourite rug or out of your private rooms without being told. If you have a particular area in your house that you want guests to stay away from, place a sign on the door or inform your guests upon arrival.
5. Set Up Tables and Chairs
If your guests have an area to sit and relax, they might be less likely to spill. Set up tables around your dining room and invite guests to take a seat during cocktail hour, hors d’oeuvres, and dinner. If you can’t fit enough tables into your space, make sure you have plenty of chairs for guests to sit and lounge on.
6. Invite Guests Outside
Outdoor dinner parties are usually fun-filled (and stain-free) events. Set up your main course outside to avoid unsightly spills on your indoor surface areas. If the temperature drops, turn on outdoor heat lamps or light a fire in your backyard fire pit.
7. Be Aware
Although you don’t want to come across as a strict and uptight host, you should still perform frequent walk-throughs so you can immediately clean up any spills. It also helps to remind guests to place drinks on stable surfaces (avoid windowsills) and use coasters.
The next time you throw a party, use these helpful tips to make sure every surface remains unspotted. If you take the time to set expectations and boundaries, stock up on carpet-friendly foods and drinks and set up tables and chairs, your next party will go off without a hitch—or stain. If an unfortunate stain does occur, a professional carpet cleaning service might be what you need.