You see it as it is about to happen. In what feels like slow motion you lunge forward hoping that somehow gravity will fail, and you will be able to stop that carelessly dropped glass before it falls, but you are too late. You have an embarrassed guest, and a red wine stain. As the hostess or host you need to smile and pretend it doesn’t matter, but inside you are curled up in a ball and crying. Red wine stains are hard to get out, but they aren’t impossible. There’s a few tips for getting this delicious, but notorious drink out of carpets, drapes, clothing, and upholstery.
The Tried and True
Go for the emergency relief products first. No matter where you are, whether at home or out for an evening if you find yourself sporting a red wine stain go for the club soda. You will need to find a place to hide for a few minutes while you soak the fabric carefully in the club soda. Keep applying until the stain disappears. The only downside if you are away from home is that you’ll need to wait for the fabric to dry before making your escape. It will take some time for some fabrics to dry, it might be a better plan to see if a friend will help you out with some borrowed clothing.
If the Stain is Stubborn
Some fabrics seem to like red wine more than others. If the item with the fresh red wine stain soaks up the liquid and won’t let go then add some salt to the club soda. While it might sound like you’re making a very odd beverage the salt acts to very gently scrub at the stain while also drawing out the fluid. Use the club soda first, then gently work in the salt. Once the stain is out you will need to dry clean or wash the fabric before wearing this clothing again.
Never Rub the Stain
If the stain is fresh and it’s pooling don’t rub at the stain. Instead blot it with a paper napkin. Many people use milk on the paper towel to keep the fabric from “pilling” or losing texture as you dab at the stain. If you rub rather than blot you are actually causing the red wine to go deeper into the fabric rather than getting it out.
Riskier Methods—Soap or Hydrogen Peroxide
If this is white material, or if you have despaired that other methods will work than on a very fresh, recent stain try Hydrogen Peroxide or strong soap. Be aware that this should be a last resort. Many soaps and Hydrogen Peroxide have a greater certainty of getting the stain out, but it will often come at a price. The spot where you use either of these choices might be free from stain, but when it dries the fabric might also become much lighter than the surrounding material. This change in color is one reason to avoid this method if at all possible, and if you have any other choices.
Another choice of last resort is hot water. Depending on the fabric, this frequently works. Naturally, since you are using boiling water care should be taken that it only goes on the fabric and not you. If the fabric has a warning to “wash in cold water only” there’s also a possibility that the fabric in the area you use the hot water on will run, wrinkle up, or shrink. Cotton responses best to hot water than any other, but some non-natural fabrics do not respond as well to this method.
Dried Red Wine Stains
If you find a dried red wine stain one solution is making a paste from baking soda and placing this over the entire area of the stain. Depending on the type of material holding the stain this has a good chance of soaking in and drawing the stain out.
Having a Product on Hand
Having a can or spray on hand that works on well on natural stains such as red wine, or pet stains is the best possible solution of all. Natural stain removers will break the stain down organically so there’s less risk to the fabric. Follow the directions, and only use on the fabric involved in the red wine stain if possible. This has the benefit of also working well on many different types of fabrics and those in awkward places such as couch cushions, and carpeting. The downside is if this area like the couch or carpeting is popular you will need to keep guests, kids, and pets away from the spot while the product has a chance to work. But, some sprays do work on dried stains, so again having a bottle or spray handy is worth it when you discover an accidental spill that’s had time to dry and set.