How to Remove Wine Stains from Clothing

When it comes to removing wine stains from clothing, some cleaners work well on white wine while others are better for red wine spills.

As the experts say again and again, the trick to removing wine stains is quick action. If the stain dries and is left for days, chances are that it will be more difficult to remove it.

There are several reliable commercial products to remove wine stains from clothes, as reported by a 2001 University of California (Davis) study by someone called Natalie Ramirez; unfortunately that report is no longer available online. Ms. Ramirez studied eight different cleaners – commercial and homemade.

We’ll say one thing: if you happen to get a wine stain on cotton, count yourself lucky. The University of California report tested wine stains on different types of clothing and cotton seemed to be the easiest for removing wine stains. The most difficult? You guessed it – silk! The next time you attend a social gathering and you know that wine will be a-plenty, you may want to leave that silk blouse in the closet!

Commercial Wine Stain Removers

We’ll look at a handful of these commercial cleaners. Do remember that there is no such thing as the best commercial stain remover. Many factors play a role in the effectiveness of a product: the time it took to treat the stain, the kind of fabric, the use of hot or cold water, how old the stain is and many others.

Shout Line of Products

People have relied on Shout for removing wine stains. There are two ways Shout can help you. If the stain is fresh (i.e. it’s still wet), use Shout Wipes and follow instructions on the label. If the stain has dried, check the garment label first. If it does not say “dry clean only”, rinse the stain in cold running water or soak it for at least 15 minutes. Proceed to pre-treat with either Shout Trigger, Advanced Ultra Gel or Citrus Action. Rub as you apply so that the product penetrates the stain. Wait 5 minutes and then machine wash with the warmest water.

Spray n Wash (now called Resolve)

Most people who have used this product know it by its original name, “Spray n Wash”, but it is now called Resolve (although “Spray N Wash” still appears on the label). Resolve works better on red wine stains. The recommendation is to use either Resolve Max Trigger, Resolve Laundry Stain Remover, or Resolve Bright and White in the Wash Laundry Booster (that’s three separate products). Using these products involves turning the nozzle spray on and spraying directly on the stain, waiting five minutes and then washing them with the warmest water.

Erado-Sol (by the Cambridge Company)

Erado-Sol is usually sold to health and clinic establishments where blood stains have to be removed, but according to the University of California report, it can also be used to remove wine stains. Be careful when choosing among the many Erado-Sol Stain Removers because there are three types. Choose E-Sol Foamy which is specifically for removing wine stains. It comes in a foaming dispenser and has been around since 1963. Simply rub gently and the stain disappears in seconds. The garment can now be washed with water.

Dawn Liquid Soap

The Dawn line of products is basically for washing dishes but some people say that when Dawn Liquid Soap is mixed with either 3% hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar and then applied to the stain, it does a neat job. We checked the web site, but there is no mention of it being capable of removing wine stains on clothing. One writer suggested mixing white vinegar with Dawn and then adding some rubbing alcohol on the stain.

Wine Away

This product claims to be removing stains for the last 12 years and has been covered by such publications as Washington Post and Good Housekeeping. When wine spills on your garment, spray Wine Away on the stain, wait 3-5 minutes and then do a pre-wash laundry. Launder the garment based on the care instructions.

Homemade Wine Stain Removers

  • Try the traditional remedy: salt. When you get a wine stain, pour knobs of salt on the stain. Others swear by white wine – but most agree that this method will work only if the stain is very fresh.
  • Plain soda water has also been suggested as an effective wine remover on clothing. Blot out the wine as much as possible and then pour soda water into the stain, waiting 30 seconds. Repeat blotting and then wash.
  • While we cannot prove that the following will be as effective, you may want to try: ammonia, shaving cream and bubble bath; again, read the care instructions before applying anything!
  • A lady who posted a comment on an online forum says that this trick never fails: when you get a wine spill on your favorite fabric, simply mix a paste of Tide and warm water, apply it on the stain and let it sit overnight. Then launder the next morning.

Note that if your garment is of the synthetic type (nylon, polyester, acrylic and others), there is a high degree of moisture resistance and have the ability to repel water-based stains. Wine stains on synthetic fibers are not that difficult to remove.

As for natural fibers, they tend to absorb water-based stains but it depends on whether or not a water repellent was applied to the fabric. Different stains have a way of bonding with fibers in a variety of ways. For example, cotton is a plant fiber which is made of cellulose. Fabrics like silk and wool are animal fibers and therefore made of protein. The fabric’s composition has a lot to do with how stubborn that stain can be!



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