All it takes is one tiny spill on a white garment or carpet to ruin your enjoyment of a fine red wine. Fortunately, there is almost always a happy ending (save for the lost wine, about which very little can be done). From home remedies to commercial products, the solution for that stain is out there.
First, a few caveats:
Get to the stain as soon as possible so it does not set.
Rubbing can cause the stain to set, so always dab gently, no matter which cleaning method you choose.
Where time allows, test the stain remover on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it does not damage the fabric or carpet.
If the garment you spilled on is dry clean only, it is probably best to let a dry cleaner take care of it.
Commercial Wine Removal Products
For both clothing and carpeting, modern science has devised several stain removal products.
If you have spilled wine on yourself, you can use a standard laundry stain remover. Some people recommend Shout. After diluting the stain with water and dabbing up as much liquid as possible, spray the stain with Shout and let it sit overnight. Use warm water to blot up the remaining stain.
For carpets, many people recommend Oxy Carpet Cleaner. It lifts stains and provides some degree of stain protection to the area.
Another product that is highly recommended is Wine Away. This stain remover was specifically created for wine stains on fabric and carpet. Wine Away does not use bleach or phosphates and is derived from fruit and vegetable extracts, making it safe for use around children and pets. This product has been endorsed by many high-profile consumer magazines. If you drink a lot of red wine, Wine Away might be a smart investment.
But what happens if you don’t have any of these products on hand? As our mothers and grandmothers did, you can turn to a few good home remedies.
Home Remedies for Removing Wine Stains
Perhaps the best known home remedy for red wine stains on clothing or carpet is club soda. For clothing, moisten a clean cloth with club soda and then blot the stain. For carpets, pour the club soda on the stain - the carbonation will lift the stain right out.
Another option is white wine, which neutralizes the red wine. Simply pour a little white wine on the red wine stain and gently blot the area with a thick towel. Follow up with your standard cleaning method to wash the stain out.
If you have neither club soda nor white wine on hand, use the one thing that every household is sure to have: salt. Sprinkling salt on the stain prevents it from setting until you can get your hands on an effective stain remover.
Baking soda is another common pantry item that can help combat red wine stains. The general procedure is as follows. Blot up as much of the stain as you can, then pour cold water on the stain and blot again. Continue the cold water/blotting until you cannot remove any more stain. Apply a baking soda/water paste, let it dry and then vacuum. If the stain remains, use a standard carpet stain remover.
If you had no choice but to let the stain sit, you can try soaking older stains in a solution of equal parts lemon juice and water or equal parts vinegar and water.