How to get red wine out of clothes and remove stains

Red wine is one of those dangerous delights of life. Its deliciousness is matched only by its ability to leave a nasty stain. So how do you remove red wine stains and get it out of your clothes, furniture, and carpets?

You can remove red wine stains, so don't despair!
You can remove red wine stains, so don't despair!  © Piotr Makowski / Unsplash

Red wine stains are a nightmare, but they really don't have to be permanent.

There are many ways to remove red wine stains, with plenty of solutions and lots of options.

The most important trick? Get-in-there quick! After that, a couple of more steps will save your clothes.

In this household guide, TAG24 will take you through all the best ways to get red wine out of clothes, carpet, furniture, and more.

Had a bit of an accident? Don't worry, you're in the right place!

Immediately treat red wine stains

It's extremely important to treat your red wine stains immediately after they have appeared. Why? Well, because red wine will soak into the fabric and, once dried, become nearly impossible to remove. The best way to do that is with carbonated mineral water and a cloth.

So, what do you do?

Immediately apply the dab method, lightly tapping the stain and allowing the wine to soak from the infected cloth into the cleaning cloth. Carbonated water is also slightly acidic, helping to dissolve the stain.

Just remember not to wipe, and simply dab within the affected area. If you wipe, you will spread the stain.

Make sure to keep this in mind: Make sure to never use colored clothes or napkins when dabbing a stain, as they can potentially leach ink and worsen the stain.

How to get red wine out of clothes, carpet, and furniture

Most red wine stains occur on tablecloths, items of clothing, carpet and pieces of furniture like chairs, couches, and tables. As a result, it's important to have a step-by-step process to jump into action as soon as that glass tips over.

When removing red wine stains, proceed as follows:

Step 1: After dabbing out as much red wine as possible, immediately add a squirt of lemon juice or white vinegar to the stain, allowing to soak for about 30 minutes.

Step 2: The entire area should now be washed with cold water (do not use hot water, this will worsen the dying affect of red wine). Give it a scrub, but make sure not to spread the stain.

Step 3: If the red wine stain is still clearly visible, sprinkle a generous amount of finely ground salt. Allow this to sit there for a few hours, soaking up all the liquids.

Step 4: Now brush off the salt and repeat the entire cleaning process again, attempting to reduce the visibility of the stain.

Step 5: If you have stained a textile that can be cleaned in the washing machine, put it in for a cycle after completing the above process.

Hot and spicy tip: Feel free to use baking powder, potato flour, or cornstarch instead of salt. It'll be more expensive that way, but it's your funeral.

Even a white blouse can be saved from red wine if you act quickly!
Even a white blouse can be saved from red wine if you act quickly!  © 123RF / Olga Yastremska

The best home remedies for removing red wine stains

We want to get straight to the point, so let's make this short: There are a number of home remedies you can use for removing red wine stains, if the method above hasn't worked. Here are those various methods, before we jump into chemical solutions...

How to get red wine out of clothes with baking soda

Baking soda is kind of the GOAT of all cleaning products and, ironically, it's not even technically a cleaning product. It's for baking, hence the name. Let's cut to the chase, though – how do you actually use it to get rid of red wine stains?

Here's how to use baking soda when cleaning red wine stains:

Step 1: Add baking soda and water to a small bowl in a 1:1 ratio, mixing together until it forms a foamy paste.

Step 2: Place the paste onto the stain for about an hour, allowing it to bubble away and soak into the fabric.

Step 3: Once it has soaked, remove it with a clean cloth and then give the fabric a good once-over with the method we described in the previous section.

Step 4: As always, rinse and repeat these processes as many times as necessary.

Two things: 1) This is a great alternative to salt, if you have stained a particularly delicate piece of fabric; 2) Feel free to try this out with potato flour or starch, they can do a pretty good job!

Use salt and water to remove red wine stains

A combination of salt and water is a fantastic way to clean red wine out of fabrics - especially carpets. The spilled red wine will be absorbed by the salt, along with the dye and tannins that cause those harsh stains. Once you have dabbed, this is a great way to go.

Here's how to remove red wine with salt:

Step 1: Spread a large quantity of salt over the stain, after you have finished dabbing out as much liquid as possible.

Step 2: Let's be real, you've been drinkin' so it's probably nighttime - leave the salt on the stain overnight.

Step 3: If it's carpet or furniture you're treating, vacuum up the salt and then give it a good ol' clean (the usual method). If it's clothing, brush off the salt and then give it a good wash.

Guys, caution: Salt is extremely aggressive and can do lots of damage if used for the wrong fabric. Never put salt on cashmere or Persian rugs.

Never rub red wine stains with only a cloth, this pushes the wine further into the fabric.
Never rub red wine stains with only a cloth, this pushes the wine further into the fabric.  © 123RF / Andriy Popov

Get rid of red wine stains using glass cleaner

Glass cleaner can actually be incredibly great at removing red wine stains that have dried into your clothes, furniture, or especially carpets.

Here's how to use glass cleaner when removing red wine stains:

Step 1: Spray the area thoroughly with glass cleaner and let it soak for about 30 minutes.

Step 2: Use a cotton cloth or some kitchen paper to dab the area dry.

Step 3: Give the area a thorough clean and repeat this process until the stain has been dealt with.

Keep in mind: Glass cleaner actually comes in a variety of colors. Make sure you use a colorless product or it could, in itself, cause a stain.

Vinegar is perfect for removing red wine stains

Vinegar is an incredibly aggressive substance that will work miracles in removing red wine stains, but you should only use it on white textiles as it will alter the color of other fabrics.

Here's how to use vinegar getting red wine out of stuff:

Step 1: Drip a small amount of white vinegar onto the red wine stain and leave it for a couple of minutes once you have covered the entire area.

Step 2: Dab it off with a white cotton cloth, moving from the outside inwards (so that you don't spread the stain).

Step 3: Clean the area with clear tap water before washing the usual way.

Hot tip: Mix the baking soda and vinegar methods together, forming a soda-vinegar paste. Apply this and give it a short exposure period, rinsing and repeating until the stain has been removed.

How to remove stubborn red wine stains with chemicals

Red wine might be delicious, but it'll get everywhere!
Red wine might be delicious, but it'll get everywhere!  © Christian Bowen / Unsplash

There are a vast assortment of commercial chemicals that you can use to remove red wine stains.

The problem, though, is that you kind-of need them at hand if you want them to actually work. In the end, it's kinda important to act quickly with red wine.

Once applying those home remedies, though, feel free to go out and buy some powerful stain removers from your local supermarket or drugstore. Just remember, though, that many of these agents rely on toxic ingredients like petrochemical bleach activators or chlorine, so keep them away from kids and pets.

Why are red wine stains so hard to clean?

Red wine would be a perfect dye, if you were okay with the smell, mainly because of its intense color. Most colorants and stain-worthy things have a bit of sugar in them, making them water-soluble and a little easier to remove. Wine is not like this.

Instead, red wine's staining quality goes further than the color itself. Wines contain tannins (chemicals found within the skin and seeds of the grapes), which help to create that wonderful taste we've all grown to love. These tannins, however, also have a modifying effect on fabric, which is why they are also used in the manufacturing of leather.

This modifying effect means that the tannins contained within wine deeply penetrate fabric and deposit particularly stubborn stains within your clothes, furniture, and carpets.

If home remedies fail you, bleaching agents can help. Be careful, though.
If home remedies fail you, bleaching agents can help. Be careful, though.  © 123RF / Stylephotographs

Should you dry-clean red wine stains?

We wouldn't generally advise dry-cleaning red wine-stained garments immediately. What would be better is to complete some of the methods listed above and then, once the stain has been reduced, you can knock yourself out with the dry cleaning. Just remember to only dry-clean "dry-clean friendly" or "dry-clean only" garments.

Red wine doesn't have to ruin your clothes!

Dried-up red wine stains are particularly difficult to remove, but anything can be fixed if you have the patience and time. If worst comes to worse, you can even re-dye your clothes to at least make them re-usable! Remember to act quickly, though, if you want to keep something's original color.

If you spill red wine, we understand the concern. It's a challenge, and it can badly stain your clothes, furniture, and carpet. Be careful, act quickly, and do your best. You'll be fine!

Cover photo: Piotr Makowski / Unsplash

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