Of all life’s toughest stains, red wine stains may be the most feared—and for good reason! Fabrics are in danger any time someone uncorks a bottle of red, so it’s vital to understand red wine stain removal hacks for clothes, carpet, and upholstery.
So why does red wine stain so bad? According to winemakers, the red color in red wines is perfectly natural. The chromogens in grapes and other colorful plants are where we get many of our dyes from, which explains part of the stain problem. But grapes also contain tannins—another natural substance used to produce dyes. Together, tannins and chromogens can create some pretty impressive stains.
But when you know how to get a red wine stain out, you’ll have the tools you need to stop those dreaded stains from ruining fabrics. Before we jump into how to remove a red wine stain, a few precautionary tips are in order:
Scrubbing works on many dirty surfaces and even fabrics, but certain stains like blood, grass, and red wine can get worse with a full-on attack. When you scrub a red wine stain, you’ll see some of it come out, but you’ll also drive the wine deeper into the fabric fibers and risk making it permanent. Instead, take a gentle approach and gently dab up the excess red wine, then move on to your stain removal method of choice.
If your first reaction is to grab a hairdryer and dry up the stain before it sets, don’t do it. Heat creates a chemical reaction that can set a red wine stain, making it almost impossible to get out. The same goes for using your clothes dryer or washing in hot water. Never machine dry clothing until you are absolutely sure you’ve removed the stain completely or you could ruin the garment.
Scrubbing aside, red wine stains will naturally seep deeper into fabrics unless they are treated right away. The longer you wait to treat a red wine stain, the lower your chances of cleaning up 100 percent of the stain. Left untreated, the stain will dry and set, possibly ruining a couch cushion or, worse, your carpet! Don’t wait. Use the tips below to tackle red wine stains while they’re fresh.
Now that you know what not to do let’s learn how to remove a red wine stain from clothes, carpet, and furniture.
How to Get a Red Wine Stain Out of Clothes
The first step for how to get red wine out of clothes is to lay a dishcloth between the stained area and the rest of the garment to prevent the stain from spreading. Blot the red wine stain with paper towels being careful not to press down. Be patient and keep dabbing gently, switching paper towels when necessary until no more color is absorbed.
Keep paper towels handy for additional blotting and use the stain removal methods below to get the red out.
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Using club soda to treat a red wine stain couldn’t be easier. It is believed the slight acid from the carbonation helps break apart the stain.
- Blot up what you can with paper towels.
- Pour the club soda over the stain and let the garment sit overnight.
- Rinse the clothing with cold water and check the results.
Try some salt instead if you can still see the red wine stain.
Table salt can remove red wine stains from fabric because it’s naturally absorbent. Because it’s a natural, safe stain remover, salt won’t discolor fabrics or cause any damage.
- Blot the stain, sprinkle salt onto the stain, and let it sit overnight (this is where patience comes in).
- Rinse the stain with cold water, and if you can still see discoloration, try hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is another safe and natural stain remover.
- Mix equal amounts of liquid dish soap and hydrogen peroxide in a glass bowl.
- Spot check an out-of-the-way part of the fabric to ensure it doesn’t discolor the fabric.
- Pour the solution onto the stain (if determined safe for the fabric) and let it sit for two hours. If the stain is still visible, pour on some more stain remover and wait a couple of more hours.
- Wash the stained clothing right away per the garment care label if the stain is completely gone.
If the stain is still visible, try the following method.
Distilled white vinegar is a mild but effective stain remover.
- Soak the stained area with white vinegar
- Pour enough liquid detergent to cover the area.
- Let the stain removers work their magic for about two hours and check the stain. If it’s gone, move to the next step.
- Wash the clothing using the recommended settings.
If the stain remains after using the methods above or you need to know how to get dried red wine out of clothes, try this:
- Rub liquid detergent into the stain using your fingers.
- Put the clothing in a sink with cold water and let it soak for 30 minutes.
- Wring out the excess water.
- Dab the stain with non-chlorine oxygen bleach.
- Wash the clothing in the washer.
How to Remove a Red Wine Stain On Carpet
Learning how to get red wine out of carpet is similar to getting stains out of clothes. You’ll use paper towels for blotting, cold water, a dishtowel, and one of the stain removers below to get the stains out of your carpet safely.
Inexpensive and completely safe for carpets, baking soda is a natural deodorizer, cleaner, and stain remover.
- Start by soaking the stained area with cold water and let the water break down the stain for about 30 minutes.
- Blot up the now diluted red wine with paper towels until the color no longer transfers to the paper towels.
- Mix a quarter cup of baking soda with enough cold water to make a paste./li>
- Rub the paste into the stained area with your fingers, being careful not to spread the stain.
- Let the paste dry thoroughly, then vacuum up the baking soda and the absorbed red wine stain.
Club Soda and Salt
- Pour cold club soda onto the red wine stain on your carpet and let it soak in for about five minutes.
- Pour table salt on the stained area and let the club soda and salt sit until it dries. The club soda will help lift the stain from the fibers, and the salt will prevent the stain from spreading as it absorbs the liquids.
Once the stained area is dry, give it a good vacuum. If the stain is still visible, try vinegar and water.
Vinegar and Water
- Blot up as much of the stain as possible with paper towels.
- Mix 2 cups of warm water and a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar in a glass bowl.
- Dip a clean dishcloth in the stain remover and blot the red wine stain until it dissolves.
- Blot up the diluted red wine and vinegar with paper towels.
- Use a damp dishcloth to rinse the area and let the carpet air dry.
If these carpet stain removal techniques don’t work, you may need the help of a professional carpet cleaning service.
How to Get Red Wine Out of a Couch
Upholstery fabrics aren’t that different from those used in clothing, so you can use many of the stain removers and methods recommended above. Couch fabric will typically be thicker than clothing fabrics, so you might have to clean deeper to get up the red wine stain.
- Pour cold club soda into a clean, empty spray bottle.
- Spray the club soda onto the red wine stain on your couch, but don’t soak the area.
- Let the soda water seep into the fibers with the red wine for a couple of minutes, then start dabbing with paper towels.
- Continue the red wine stain removal until the paper towels don’t pick up any more color.
- Let your couch air dry and check the stain.
- If you can still see the red wine stain, move on to the next method.
- Mix a quarter cup of baking soda with enough cold water to make a paste.
- Massage the stain remover into the stain with your fingers and wait until the baking soda absorbs the red wine and dries.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to break up the dried baking soda.
- Vacuum everything up with your upholstery attachment.
If the club soda and baking soda don’t work, use hydrogen peroxide for red wine stains on your couch.
- Test an inconspicuous area first to make sure the colors are fast, then pour enough hydrogen peroxide to cover the stain.
- Let the stain remover work for about three minutes, then blot the stained area until the color no longer transfers.
- Finish up by dabbing the area with a damp cloth to remove excess hydrogen peroxide.
If these upholstery stain removal methods don’t get the job done, you may need to call in a pro or rent an upholstery cleaning machine.
Now that you know how to remove a red wine stain, what do you want to tackle next? Check out our other helpful housekeeping guides and make cleaning chores more manageable than ever. Find out how The Maids can help you enjoy a cleaner home more often without all the work when you get a free online estimate today.