6 Ways to Remove a Red Wine Stain

Wine stains happen to the best of us — that’s just the risk we take for loving red wine so much. Be it on a tablecloth, a carpet, or your shirt, in the midst of a good time, wine may spill and you may to have to deal with cleaning it up. But spilled wine doesn’t have to ruin the night.

While it may seem impossible — can I really get this giant red splotch out of this white rug? — red wine stains are not as difficult to remove as you might think, especially if you act quickly. So while you might be tempted to forget about the mishap and tackle it in the morning, it is best to take action right away.

While your impulses might lead you in one direction, it is best to read the list of tricks below to find a real solution. Rubbing the stain the wrong way might make the situation worse, so make sure to read our tips on what not to do as well to avoid seeping the wine deeper into your fabrics. Most fabrics have porous fibers, so when a liquid gets into the fabric, it tends to sink into the fabric’s pores. That means the longer you wait to clean up your stain, the more time the wine has to immerse itself into the fabric and tuck itself deep within all of the fibers. The main goal of wine stain removal is to catch the liquid before it gets too deep into those pores.

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So, if a party foul leads to a red soaked couch, carpet, or beloved sweater, don’t panic. Immediately blot the area with a paper towel or clean cloth to absorb as much of the wine as possible, taking care not to scrub. Then use one of our favorite red wine stain removal tricks below.

1. Salt (Great for carpets and rugs)

Salt is one of the best ways to remove red wine stains.

As soon as you stain your carpet with red wine, blot as much of it as you can with a paper towel, and then cover the entire stain with salt until you can’t see the red wine stain anymore. Let the salt soak into the wet stain and then dry. As the salt dries, it should suck up the stain. Then, simply vacuum everything up. There are other dry materials that can also help lift the red wine out of a stain. If you don’t have table salt on hand, you can use baking soda, dry soap powder, or talcum powder to try to have the same effect.

2. Dishwashing Detergent and Hydrogen Peroxide (Great for clothes)

Dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide is one of the best ways to remove red wine stains.

Mix together equal parts dishwashing detergent (we like Dawn) and hydrogen peroxide. Pour the mixture over the wine stain and allow it to soak in. You should see the stain begin to fade almost immediately. After you have allowed the mixture to soak into the stain, launder the clothing normally. This trick works best on light colored clothes, as hydrogen peroxide has a tendency to bleach. While many of these methods can help fresh stains, they won’t work on set stains, but this is a great method to try if the stain has seemed to start drying already.

3. Boiling Water (Great for tablecloths)

Boiling water is one of the best ways to remove red wine stains.

Boil water in a tea kettle. While you’re boiling the water, find a large glass bowl and place it in the sink. Then stretch the portion of the fabric that has the stain on it over bowl and secure it with a rubber band. The fabric should be taut. When the water boils, pour it from a height over a foot above the stain directly on to the fabric. The stain should wash out. This method is another great option for dried stains.

4. White Vinegar and Laundry Detergent (Great for clothes)

White vinegar and laundry detergent is one of the best ways to remove red wine stains.

Cover the stain in white vinegar, which neutralizes purple and red pigments. Immediately after applying the vinegar, rub in liquid detergent, then launder in hot water. The stain should lift.

5. Bleach (Best for white fabrics only)

Bleach is one of the best ways to remove red wine stains.

While we don’t recommend using bleach for all wine stain occurrences, it is your best bet for getting wine out of white fabrics. Simply soak the fabric in bleach for about ten minutes and then launder in hot water. The stain will disappear.

6. Baking Soda and Water (Great for clothes and carpets)

Baking soda mixed with water is one of the best ways to remove red wine stains.

As with salt, baking soda is a great way to absorb and break up a red wine stain. Once the area is blotted, cover liberally with a paste of baking soda and a few drops of water (this should be smooth enough to apply, but not too runny). On a carpet, allow the paste to dry completely and then vacuum it up. On clothing, allow the paste to dry completely, then launder in hot water.


Additional Stain Removal Methods

While these might not be our first choices, sometimes for tough stains you’ll try anything. Many suggest club soda as a good method to remove stains, since the minerals in water help break up and lift the stain more easily. And while it may sound ridiculous, pouring milk on the stain might help absorb it. Let the milk sit for a few minutes before blotting it up.

What Not To Do

While frantically scrubbing a stain is often an instinctual reaction — fight the urge. Scrubbing might look like it is helping at first, but overall it causes the stain to spread across a wider surface and also drives the wine even deeper into the fabric.

While hot water might be a solution, other forms of heat might be a detriment to your stain removal quest. So don’t grab the hairdryer or throw stained clothes in the dryers as a quick fix to the problem, as this can actually speed up the staining process.

The last habit to avoid is waiting too long. While it might be a bummer to put a hold on a party to address a stain, the longer the fabric is exposed to red wine, the more the liquid settles into the fibers and becomes more difficult to remove.


How to Remove Red Wine Stain Recap

How to Get Red Wine Out of Clothes

  •  Pull the cloth so it is taught before you try to get the stain out
  • Use the salt method or hot water method if the stain is fresh
  • Use dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide before washing the clothes if the stain is already dry
  • For white clothes, bleach is a great option

How to Get Red Wine Out of Carpets:

  • Immediately use the salt method
  • When working with the stain, always blot, never scrub

How to Get Red Wine Out of Couches:

  • Pull the fabric so it is taught before you try to get the stain out
  • Use the salt method
  • If the stain has started to dry, use the dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide method

Dry Red Wine Stain Removal:

  • If the stain is dry, try the boiling water or dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide  method

If the above tricks don’t seem to work, a chemical product we’ve been told does a great job is Wine Away, it even removes stains that are old and dry, though we’ve never tried it ourselves. And if all else fails, or you seem to encounter more stains than normal, you may want to consider just drinking white wine.