The First Response
Take a clean cloth and dab the spill in an effort to get the excess wine up and out of the carpet or clothing fibers ASAP. Once you have the majority of the spill blotted up, next you can tackle the stains with a variety of wine stain weapons. For starters you can take your favorite carpet shampoo or clothing stain remover, and clean as you would if the wine stain were a bit of dirt on the carpet or clothing. Or you can go for a less conventional, but often times more successful approach and try one of these tried and true wine stain solutions.
A Host of Tried and True Stain Removers
Depending on what you have on hand, you can "MacGyver" a wine stain removal solution based on what you have available. An arsenal of everyday red wine stain removers include: hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, soda ash, vinegar, club soda, salt, white wine, Scotchgard’s Oxy Carpet Cleaner and a must-have product called “Wine Away.”
Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda
When red wine hits a white shirt, table cloth or light colored carpet, try to blot up as much of the wine as possible and then spray hydrogen peroxide on the stain, followed by a hefty sprinkle of baking soda. Make sure that the peroxide and soda fully cover the stained area and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Then rinse with water and if it's a shirt or table cloth pop it in the laundry as usual. This method and the product, "Wine Away" are my silver bullets for quickly and completely removing red wine stains.
White Wine for Red Wine Stains
When red wine is spilled onto your carpet or clothes, white wine can be your true companion. White wine will help neutralize red wine and will make it easier to lift the color off of your carpet or clothing. Simply pour white wine over the stained area and very gently blot the liquid up with a thick towel (be very careful not to rub as this will force the stain into the carpet or clothing fibers). If the stain is still visible, you can add salt or soda to continue lifting out pigment.
Club Soda and Wine Stains
Club soda can be poured on the stain and the carbonation will help to lift the stain from the carpet fibers while the salt acts as a buffer to keep the stain from setting.
Vinegar and Soap or Soda
Vinegar does a nice job of neutralizing the purple pigments and can be combined with the stain-fighting force of either soap or soda. I apply laundry soap or washing soda directly over the vinegar and give it a few minutes to soak in, then rinse and wash.
Oxy Carpet Cleaner
Scotchgard’s Oxy Carpet Cleaner works well to lift stains and provide a stain protector to the area of the carpet it was used to clean. It is available at places like Target or Walmart for about $6.
Salt for Wine Stains - Who Knew?
Salt can be poured on the spill to keep the wine from setting until you figure out which method of clean up you would like to go with.
Wine Away - Stain Remover
Wine Away has been tested and recommended by the Good Housekeeping Institute and is even endorsed by Gourmet magazine. It is truly a wine world wonder that every red wine lover should have stowed in their cleaning cabinet. I even keep their travel size in my suitcase, just in case.
There are several solid methods for removing red wine stains that have worked well in a pinch, see which one works well for you. Just remember, whatever you do, don't let the spill sit for long before taking action, the longer it sits the more difficult it will be to lift the stain from your carpet or clothing.