Maybe you can’t afford the ritzy restaurant. Perhaps your sweetheart will appreciate the meal you cook from scratch much more anyway, especially if you don’t usually cook for her. Whatever your reason for having Valentine’s dinner at home, eating at the kitchen table is too humdrum. Dust off the dining room table or lay a blanket in your living room; just be sure to protect your carpet from food, candle wax and wine stains. Here are some tips for avoiding romance-ruining accidents:
When you’re not bumping into a stack of books or tripping over an ottoman, your wine glass’ contents are more likely not to spill onto your carpet. Your first task when setting up the romantic meal is to completely de-clutter the room. Shove couches against the wall, carry smaller pieces of furniture out of the room and pack knickknacks away. Remember that you’re probably going to dim the lights to set the mood, and the less there is to trip over, the safer you — and your carpet — will be.
After you clear the room, you’ll unearth dust and grimy parts of the carpet. Vacuum the entire room thoroughly so you can better see which stains are old and which are new the day of the dinner. Sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and let it soak overnight before vacuuming if you want to add a fresh scent to the room.
If your carpet is unexpectedly stained or hasn’t been cleaned in a while, call in professional cleaners a few days before the event to thoroughly clean the carpet and make the room seem brighter, cleaner and ready for romance.
Lay Down a Vinyl Mat
Even if it’s just for the dinner, lay down a vinyl mat so any splashes or food spills simply wipe away. Vinyl might not be as cozy to sit on as plush carpet, but you can always designate the matted area as the dining area and a cozy blanket or patch of carpet nearer a fireplace as a place to talk, laugh and unwind after the meal. Make sure the vinyl mat has bumps on the bottom so it stays in place; otherwise, the mat could shift and cause you to slip, which is especially hazardous when you’re carrying food and drinks.
Eating at home can be underwhelming, especially if you simply throw your dishes and plates on a bare table. Make the place feel fancier with matching placemats and trivets, and set the table with appropriate flatware. The placemats will make clean up easier — instead of wiping the table, simply wash the placemats — and they make your dinner look more sophisticated.
Additionally, with the lights dimmed or off, candles are a must so you can see one another and walk safely around the room. Candles are great for mood-setting, but they drip wax as they burn. Even if you set the candles down on a table or a mantelpiece, your carpets can still be at risk. Put a placemat under every candle you light — preferably a vinyl or plastic placemat that’ll be easier to clean than a cloth one — and wax won’t prove a problem.
Work Fast to Combat Stains
If you or your sweetheart does spill on the carpet, you have a couple of options:
- Break the mood and work to combat the stain; spray a mixture of equal parts warm water and distilled vinegar, and dab to lift the stain
- Ignore it — a stain doesn’t have to interrupt your perfect evening
Of course, if you decide to let the stain be, that doesn’t mean you have to live with a permanent stain afterward. Call a professional carpet cleaning service the next day, and your carpets will look practically new.
As Zagat reports on The Huffington Post, 35 percent of couples celebrate Valentine’s Day at home, while 44 percent go to restaurants. If you’re going to treat your loved one to a meal at home, you should plan something extra romantic. Just don’t panic if one of you spills or the candle wax drips. What’s important is creating a special memory between you and your significant other — and preserving the life of your carpets.
About the Author: Phil Kearny is an expert on cleaning and maintaining carpets and hardwood floors. Visit COIT carpet cleaning for more information.