How to get rid of wine stains

Our foolproof method for removing wine stains from just about anything.

It’s a tale as old as time: a glass of red wine meets a white shirt or a patch of carpet, and they don’t get along well.

Whether you were gesturing absent-mindedly or got a little too carried away while talking, it’s an easy mistake to make. But it doesn’t have to be a disastrous one. Believe it or not, there are some very effective methods of removing red wine for a variety of surfaces, be it carpet, fabric, or bedding.

Read on to learn our top tips for getting wine stains of just about anything you can imagine.

General Tips for Wine Stains

Before you get deep into any of our methodologies for removing wine stains, there are some things you should know.

Time is of the essence – Quite possibly the most important thing you need to know about how to deal with a wine stain is that the success rate of almost all of the advice we are about to give you directly correlates with how fast you act.

There are many reasons for this, primarily because red wine will settle if allowed to sit for too long, making it much harder to remove from fabrics. This is especially bad with red wine, as it contains both chromogens and tannins. The first of these is a component found in many plants that are used to create dyes, and the second is used in the production of ink. Together these make a powerful cocktail that means red wine is essential a dye in its own right.

Don’t scrub or apply dry heat – After a red wine spillage, your intuition may tell you to do the first thing that feels natural and try to dry up the stain by scrubbing at it or using a dry heat source. However, these are both very much NOT advised. Heat will cause the stain to dry onto the fabrics and become permanent, hence why acting fast whilst the stain is fresh is your best bet. This will of course be exacerbated by adding friction through scrubbing. Not only that but scrubbing at the stain will cause it to spread – so despite any immediate damage you reduce, you will ultimately only make the situation worse. Instead, you should focus on blotting the stain instead of applying friction.

Do NOT pour white wine on a red wine stain – You may have heard the common myth that pouring white wine on a red wine stain will counteract it and get rid of the stain. However, this is not the case. It’s unclear where this idea came from, but it isn’t based in reality. Pouring white wine over your carpet or other fabrics serves no practical purpose besides wasting more wine!

How to remove wine stains from carpets

So how should you get rid of a red wine stain on a carpet?

First, add a dry material to lift out the wine. Your best bet is to use a generous sprinkling of table salt, but red wine will become absorbed by any dry material it comes into contact with. So, you want to use a dry and powdery material that you can easily hoover back up. Therefore, you could also opt for:

  • Baking Soda
  • Talcum Powder
  • Cat litter
  • Sodium percarbonate – if you have it

Then, using a blotting method instead of scrubbing, absorb as much of the wine as possible with some kitchen towels.

You could also try applying boiling water to a red wine stain. This can help lift the stain substantially, especially when used in combination with another cleaning agent. Whilst hot water may cause the molecules in the red wine to spread out across the carpet a little more, it also unbinds them from the carpet fibres, making them easy to blot up.

For the best results, cover the stain with more kitchen paper, and a bit of cling film and leave for around 12 hours. Then, once the dry powdered solid of your choice has absorbed the red wine, all you need to do is vacuum it away.

How to remove wine stains from sheets

If you’ve ever unwound in bed with a glass of wine and a book or some Netflix, you may very well know the terrible feeling that overtakes your body when you accidentally slosh red wine onto your sheets. Well, try not to panic and remember to act fast by taking the following steps:

  • Strip any bedding that you’ve spilt wine on.
  • Mix one-part dishwashing liquid with three-part hydrogen peroxide and apply the mixture to the stain. This will work as a pre-soak. Some common household items containing hydrogen peroxide are hair dyes & bleaches, toothpaste & mouthwash, and stain removers & cleaners.
  • Let that cleaning solution sit for a few minutes. You should be able to see the stain fading. If you don’t, add more solutions. Keep an eye on your sheets, as so the solution works so it doesn’t bleach your bedding.
  • After the stain has faded, wash your sheets and mattress pad just like you would on laundry day. When you pull the bedding out of the dryer, the stain should be gone.

How to Remove Wine Stains from Clothes

Almost everyone has a DIY remedy they swear by for how to remove wine stains from clothes. The home remedy that we described above for sheets will work on clothes. Here’s another you can try on sturdy fabrics like cotton:

  • Start by blotting the stain
  • Stretch the wine-soaked area over a bowl
  • Pour boiling water through the bowl and onto the stain
  • Hang clothes to air dry or wash your clothes normally

How to Remove Old Wine Stains

Now that you know how to remove wine stains from clothes, carpet and bedding, you might be wondering if there’s any way to get rid of stains leftover from spills that happened before you knew about these tips.

For those vintage clothing and bedding stains, you can use the same method we described in our section about how to remove wine stains from sheets. As with the sheets, you’ll want to keep an eye on the clothing as the solution works so the fabric doesn’t get bleached out.

If the older stains are in your carpeting, you can try the steps above, aside from the initial blotting, of course. If that doesn’t work, you may want to contact a cleaning professional like ServiceMaster Clean.

And for your other home cleaning needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your nearest Merry Maids business to book a free quotation today.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer