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Avoiding Holiday Home Damage

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with family and friends -- unless it's at your house.

Your home can take quite a beating with all the guests. On "The Early Show," Danny Lipford, a home improvement expert, shared some great tips on how to rescue your house from disaster in our continuing series, "Holiday 911."

Help Your Home Survive the Holidays

Lipford showed the best way to remove red wine stains, food stains, and gum from carpet, using the three S's:

• Get to it Soon.
• Work at it Slowly.
• Be prepared to treat it Several times. And always remember to dab -- don't rub -- the stain, preferably with cold water.

Wine:
• Blot the spill with paper towels or a clean cloth.
• Combine one teaspoon carpet shampoo (or dish soap, like Dawn) and 1 cup hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl. (club soda also works) Soak a clean sponge in the mixture, squeeze it halfway dry, then gently blot the stain. Continue until the stain lifts.
• Sponge the stained area with warm water.
• Blot dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Gum:
• Place an ice cube in a baggie.
• Put ice on gum in carpet.
• Wait until gum completely freezes.
• Scrape gum from carpet using a dull knife, such as a butter knife.

Lipford also revealed the best way to repair minor stains or minor damage to a hardwood floor or dining room table.

He explained water stains on wood floors or table tops fall into two categories:

• White stains: Water is trapped in the finish or in the thin layer of wax on the surface.
-White stains in the finish will often disappear on their own after drying for a few days.
-If still there, try placing a dry cotton cloth over the stain and go over it with a hot iron (no steam). Heat it enough to cause the moisture to evaporate but not so much as to damage the finish.
-If still there, wipe the top down with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits to remove any wax that might have trapped the moisture.
-If still there, try wiping the spot lightly with a cloth dampened with denatured alcohol. Don't overdo it, as alcohol can soften some finishes.
NOTE: Test solvents on an inconspicuous spot on the furniture first, to be sure they won't damage the finish.
• Dark stains: Water has penetrated through the finish into the wood. It's difficult to remove without resorting to stripping, sanding, and refinishing the piece.

As for dings and gouges, Lipford recommended trying these tricks:
Touch-up kits and markers are available to repair nicks and dings on wood floors or furniture:
• Go over nicks in the finish with a furniture touch up pen that matches the color of the finish, wipe off any excess with a cloth before it dries. A brown permanent marker will do the same thing if you can find the right shade.
• Fill deeper nicks and small gouges with wax filler sticks that match the color of the finish, use a soft cloth to wipe off any excess. Brown crayons will work as well. If you don't have an exact color match, a darker color blends in better than a lighter one. NOTE: Colored wax stays soft, so it isn't good deep or big nicks, but works well on small dents.

In the case of dents, Lipford said it may be possible to steam out a dent in wood using an iron and a small piece of dampened cloth.

He said, "This works better when you will be stripping and refinishing the piece since it can damage the finish."

When people come over for the holidays, sometimes glass items, such as ornaments or plates, can end up broken. What can you do?

Lipford offered these tips for re-assembling your glass items:

• To hold the plate in place, while repairing embed the bottom part in a pot or large bowl full of sand use clothes pins to clamp the larger pieces in place.
• When repairing the handle of a coffee cup, use modeling clay to hold the cup in place.
• Buy clear epoxy glue, sold in two parts, resin and hardener; mix only as much glue as you need. Epoxy dries completely waterproof.

Another thing to consider on the holidays is fire safety. A muti-purpose fire extinguisher, Lipford said, could help prevent a small fire from getting out of hand.

Lipford recommended these fire extinguisher guidelines:
• Purchase a multipurpose (ABC) dry chemical fire extinguisher for use on combustible materials (wood, cloth, paper), flammable liquids (oil, gasoline, grease), and electrical fires.
• Keep fire extinguisher handy so you can find it when you need it.
• To use fire extinguisher: Pull pin, aim at base of flame, squeeze handle, and sweep from side to side across fire.

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