Tips to remove Holi colours from everything. Almost.

Holi’s great fun. What’s not fun is the clean up afterward. Who knew those colours were *so* bloody hard to get off? This is one festival that has so much clean up work that makes you want to bleed. But don’t! Here are some tips to remove those pesky colours from just about everything. Well, almost. Before we start, repeat after me – Cold water works. Hot water makes colours stick fast. Now, here are some tips –

1. Hair – I used to have North Indian friends who would turn up with gulabi (pink coloured) hair for days after Holi. Not any more. Try this tip – apply raw egg yolk to your scalp 30 minutes before shampooing and wash away with cold water. If you don’t like the smell of egg (in spite of all the great conditioning), you can mix fenugreek (methi seeds) in curd and apply the mixture on your scalp to help lift off the colours.

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2. Face – Where’s that Lactocalamine? Grab it. Mix that in with equal parts honey and rose water. Apply like a pack on your face, let it sit for 30 minutes and wash away. Using this pack prevents breakouts, helps smoothen your skin and prevents irritation from toxic colours that may have gotten on there. If you have sensitive or oily skin, use a multani mitti (Fuller’s Earth) face pack instead. You’re covered.

3. Body – Honey is your best friend, honey. Mix it in with raw tomato or papaya. The acidic nature of these fruits helps in removing the colour. Mix it in with multani mitti to make application easier. Alternately, you can also use a besan (gram flour) pack. Use equal parts curd, besan, olive oil and lemon to make a paste. Rub it on the places where you have stains, allow it to sit for 30 minutes and wash away.

4. Clothes – First, congratulate yourself on wanting to even try to clean away those stains. Ideally you’d use disposable clothes so you wouldn’t have to er, wash them. But in the event that you got a blot of colour on something you want to clean up, blot the stain with a clean cloth, spray lemon juice on it and let it sit for 15 minutes and wash in cold. Alternately, spray glass cleaner on it (no, really!) and soak for 15 minutes before washing in cold water.

5. Floors – Make a thick paste of baking powder and water. Apply generously over coloured spots and allow it to cake over. Wipe it off with a damp cloth once dry. Repeat till stains fade. Sinks, tiles, etc. need to be soaked with a detergent and then scrubbed away with a brush.

6. Walls – Try using industrial acetone (stronger version of nail polish remover) to blot the stains and then use liquid bleach to lighten them further. If all fails, repaint!

7. Pets – First and foremost, understand that commercial Holi powders are extremely toxic for pets. Please keep them safe and indoors away from the mess when you’re playing. If some colour gets on their fur, trim the fur if shampooing doesn’t remove the colour. If the pet shows signs of poisoning, induce vomiting. Seek a veterinarian’s help immediately.

As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Use non-toxic, eco-friendly powders. If possible, make them yourself. Keep your family, pets and kids safe this Holi. For everything else, there are these tips above to help you get back to your plaid life once the festival is over. 😉

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