Stain Removal

How to Get Rid of Red Wine Stains

Doctors suggest that red wine is good for you in moderation – but how about those annoying, difficult stains when you spill it on yourself? This is not so good for your stress levels or the appearance of your home and clothing. Red wine stains most materials very heavily, and these stains are tough to get out, especially on lightly coloured materials.

Thankfully, there are a handful of ways you can get rid of wine stains in a wide range of fabrics. Whether it is a fresh, still wet stain, or one that has had some time to soak and dry into the fabric, there is something here that will help you get rid of a red wine stain, no matter how big or on what kind of material.

1. Salt.

For a fresh stain that is still freshly wet, you can use salt to buff out the stain. To do this, you apply a thick layer of table salt over the stain and let it sit for an hour or two. After some time has passed, you can brush off the salt and buff out the stain with a cloth.

However, this will not work for dry stains, and usually only works on shirt or tablecloth fabric and not carpets, so try this method immediately upon spilling the wine.

2. Club soda.

If you entertain often, this one should be a no brainer, and you should have plenty of club soda handy already. Regardless, you will want to take a can of club soda and pour it over the stain. It will fizz up, and you should do this a few times to get the most out of the stain.

The bubbly quality of club soda, when applied rigorously to a stain, will help loosen up the wine from deep in the fabric, making it ideal for fresh, wet stains.

3. Milk.

For fresh, wet red wine stains, you can use milk to absorb the wine stain. First, sop up the excess wine on the stain with a cloth, and apply as much milk as you can to the stain. Let it sit for a while, gentle wipe off any excess milk, and the stain should be lifted.

4. Kitty litter.

If you have a cat at your home, you can use cat litter to soak up a fresh red wine stain from most fabrics. Simply apply the litter with some pressure into the stain on the garment or carpet/furniture spot, and scrape it off after a few moments. Keep in mind, this only works for fresh, wet stains.

Also, never put cat litter down a drain, as it will clog your drain. Vacuuming up the litter is ideal.

5. Hot water.

Boil a kettle or pot of water until it is vigorously boiling, and then pour it directly on to the stain. You should stretch out the fabric with something, and pour the water onto it from a few feet above. As always, be extremely careful with boiling water – boiling water on the skin can leave serious burns.

6. White wine and baking soda.

Have some white wine leftover from the same dinner party that you spilled your red wine at while having such a good time? For stains that have already dried into the fabric of your shirt, furniture, or carpet, you can make a paste out of white wine and baking soda to buff out those tough red stains.

First, generously apply white wine to the stained area. Then, apply a mixture of baking soda to the area, making a thick paste with the wine. Let the mixture sit for a few moments, and finally place the garment in the wash.

7. Soak in vinegar/water and put in wash.

If you’ve stained a tablecloth, shirt, or other washable material, you can soak the article in a bowl mixed with half vinegar and half water. Let it sit and soak for a little while, and then place it in the washing machine.

If the stain is particularly large or dried into the fabric, you should put it through more than one cycle until the stain is gone. Avoid placing the article in the drying machine until the stain is completely washed out – the heat of the dryer will only worsen the stain, as it will cause it to set in the fabric more.

For smaller and lighter stains, you could also mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle and apply just a little bit to the stain, rubbing it lightly with a cloth before putting the material in the washing machine.

8. Oxi products for old, dry stains.

I guess it turns out that Billy Mays’ shouting on TV was right all along! OxiClean products are great for eliminating tough, dried-out red wine stains, because the cleaning product digs deep into the fabric links themselves. You should first let the garment (or carpet/furniture spot) soak in hot water to make the OxiClean products more effective.

9. Throw away the garment.

Sometimes there’s just not much you can do for a red wine stain, especially one that has been sitting for a few days or more.

Unless you deal with the stain right away, they often get much worse as they dry into the fabric links of your carpet, clothing, or furniture. If all else has fails, you may just need to get rid of the article of clothing or tablecloth. For carpets, you may want to consider putting up an area rug if you have the space, or if it’s not too obvious that there is a red wine stain under it.

Consider making a ruined shirt into cleaning rags, for instance, so that the shirt is not entirely wasted.

While red wine stains are frustrating and can ruin a night, they’re not always impossible to get out. You may want to avoid wearing white clothing if you know you’ll be drinking wine, but otherwise, there isn’t much you can do to prevent a spill – they just happen. OxiClean, as mentioned earlier, has portable products that you can bring out with you on a night out, so it may be good to keep one handy in your backpack, purse, or car dashboard for easy access.

About the author

Nicole Harding

15 Comments

  • All you need is towels and water! Keep dousing the wine spill in water, then use the towels to soak it up. Don’t rub the carpet/cloth, just let the towel absorb it all. Keep dousing with water then use the towels to absorb it and the wine will flush out. This could take time and it certainly takes up a lot of towels, but my aunty swears by this method!

  • This morning I awoke to find that my bottle of wine on the counter had burst open, leaving wine to soak into my white grout. The grout, once white, was now black–BLACK! I tried this mix of hydrogen peroxide and water and, although it took several scrubbings and a follow up with bleach, my grout is back to its original color. What a life- (or at least grout-) saving tip! Thanks!

  • This is the simplest method I know and has worked for me EVERY single time I spilt red wine on my clothes. I just soaked the garment overnight in a bucket of water. Plain water, nothing else. It worked 100% even on a pair of jeans that I was able to soak only six hours after staining it with a full glass of red wine. I wouldnt recommend this for dry-clean-only clothes, of course.

  • I had a red wine stain on a light weight cotton hoodie that I couldn’t deal with for 2 hours. Post-spill I dipped the hoodie in lake water and brought it home wet. I tried carbonated mineral water (didn’t have club soda) with no effect. Then salt. Then lemon juice. Then hydrogen peroxide. Nothing seemed to be working. Rubbed detergent into the stain and it was gone! Presumably one of these remedies “lifted” the stain but did not remove it. Moral of the story, try detergent last if nothing else seems to be working!

  • Wow, that peroxide solution worked wonders. I spilled a glass of red wine on my bathroom floor last night and some of it stained the white grout red/purple. I sprayed that on, went back to check on it 20 min later and the grout was back to white!

  • I used the water, hydrogen peroxide & dish soap method described above and it worked perfectly! It was on beige carpet. There is a very slight pink color remaining but I will try the solution again after it dries. Thanks soooo much!

  • What will work best for getting rid of red wine stains on my coffee table. Should I try the HP, water and soap, or is there something specific for wood? It’s driving me crazy looking at it!

  • Anita’s tip of soaking stain in water overnight really works!! I tried other stain removal tips – salt, vinegar, some stain remover, and finally some enviromental dish detergent I had on hand- and nothing worked, only changed the colour of the stain. After leaving it to soak in water overnight as Anita suggested, I was thrilled that the stain was gone this morning!! Thank you Anita!

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