Whether you are swirling a glass with too much gusto, or exuberantly gesticulating at the dinner table, one thing is certain: Spilled red wine and white clothes do not mix.
Laundry detergent companies know this and are cashing in on it with Tide To-Go stain sticks, Shout Wipes, and the like. But no one can predict when the awkward situation will arise. Nine times out of 10, it’ll happen when you’re out and about and your handy stain-removing pen is stored away at home, somewhere you “won’t forget it.”
But could there be a worthy alternative to this predicament? Club soda, maybe. Some swear by baking soda — but we rarely hit the town with it in tow. Still others claim white wine, sold pretty much everyplace red wine appears, is an effective solution for treating red wine spills.
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There is some scientific backing to the seemingly unlikely solution. According to one Quora user, white wine is efficient at dissolving anthocyanin compounds — the pigment that gives red wine its color.
Eager to find out the best solution, VinePair tested white wine, tap water, and a popular stain-removal stick on fresh red wine spills. The results were illuminating.
Basically, regardless of what method you use, the stained garment will always need a machine wash. None of the solutions we tried completely erased red wine stains on the spot.
Of the three, water was the worst at removing the stain on the fly. It should only be used in a worst-case scenario.
The stain-removal pen worked best but transformed the blotch to a weird, off-brown color until we put it into a washing machine.
And the white wine? Well, it was actually surprisingly effective. Though not quite as successful as the stain-removal pen, it did noticeably reduce the intensity of the stain, with none of the awkward brown color change.
We then washed the shirt on a cold cycle to see how each stain would develop.
Once again, water fared worst. The stain turned black, consigning the T-shirt to the “gym-only” section of the wardrobe.
At this stage, the pen proved its worth. Its treated stain turned all but invisible.
Meanwhile, the white wine-treated blemish did experience some further fading, though not enough that you would confidently wear the garment in public.
So that settles it. If disaster strikes, your best bet is an actual store-bought stain-removal solution (who’d have guessed it?). But if that’s not an option, white wine is a surprisingly effective on-the-go solution for diluting red wine stains. Just remember to treat said stains with something stronger before washing in the machine!