Wine Stain Removal Guide: How To Get Red Wine Out

wine stain
Last Updated: August 18th, 2021

If you have never experienced the fuss over the spilled red wine on the carpet while nervously wondering how to get red wine out, you are truly a lucky person. Still, you’ll never know. Maybe you won’t spill red wine on the carpet but your less fortunate friends or family will. The happy end in the latter outcome is that there is a solution. Allow me to provide you with some personal experience and first-hand tips. A story of course begins with some less fortunate friends who love to drink wine. 

No need to cry over the spilled wine 

That day my flat was in full flow, around 30 guests, 400 square feet, that pleasant buzz of lively conversations taking place when a friend and his girlfriend arrived totally off their trolley from their office drinks party. Both introduced their presence in a gloriously shouty and socially inappropriate manner. Within moments, the friend had spilt his entire glass of red wine on the cream carpet and flew his body into panicked convulsions to try and make it all stop.

red wine stain removal guide

“White wine!” One of my friends said, “If you put a bit of white wine on it, it’ll be fine.” If you didn’t know, one of the enzymes in the white wine can neutralize the red wine stain so you could easily remove it. 

But alas, where is that bottle of white wine when you need it!?

Can red wine stains be removed at all?  

I remained the calm host, not wanting to draw any more attention to my friend’s embarrassment, and he ran off to the kitchen, came back with an open bottle which, with emergency gusto, he dashed onto the carpet.

The one drawback to this plan was that he was pouring red; Rioja and its heady tones and bouquet of cherries were pounding the Syrah‘s stain. There were shrieks of recognition and some hilarity from all around.

“Salt! Salt!” The air was pierced with the shattering cry of a work colleague in a deep Scottish accent, an H-bomb that killed the party dead and turned a minor mishap into a catastrophe. He ran to the kitchen, found no salt, hurled himself out the door and in record timing was back with a huge tub of table salt and poured it all over the floor, all, what, 500g of the stuff.

How to get red wine out of the carpet with salt? 

Salt is a winner. The whole pile became a pink slush. Eventually, it picks up the whole lot. The trick is in letting it work: standing, watching, wondering if you should be doing something else. But wait, demonstrate a small act of faith. The small effort after is in scraping up the salt – with a dustpan and brush.

Himalayan salt, kosher salt, sea salt crystals ground slowly from your Peugeot or Le Creuset salt and pepper grinders will not do the trick. It must be table salt – bleach white and small fine crystals – and dumped on in an obscene quantity (the whole tub) to have the rapid absorbency required to draw the wine out of the carpet pile. The stain, of one glass and one-third of a bottle, was gone. Completely. You wouldn’t know what had ever happened.

  •  The same method you can use on your clothes if you have salt at hand. Maybe not the whole 500g. 

The housewarming had turned from great, to weird, to chemistry lesson all in the space of ten minutes. Eventhough we resolved everything with salt, in the end, there were more suggestions on how to get the red wine out, (besides adding a pile of salt). Someone also mentioned water as a way to get the red wine out.  

Free tip: Learn how to get a cork out of a wine bottle easily if you do not want wine stains all over your place by accident!

What is better – to wash red wine stains in hot or cold water?

Can water help? Sources say yes, but only if that happens on the clothes. Hot water can rinse the stain out which is hard to perform on the carpet. Still, if you find nothing else at hand, water is useful, especially the sparkling one. You can use sparkling water, a lot of it, to achieve the effect. Bubbles will push the stain up, after which you only have to dab the carpet with a paper towel as soon as the stain pops up. 

  • If you however spill wine all over yourself, take the clothes off and use all the methods above. You can rinse the stain with boiling water and wait for the stain to pop up, or use club soda to give bubbles a chance to do the work. For the best results, if you are at home after rinsing the stain, put your clothes in the washing machine at once. 

Someone also mentioned baking soda. 

Does baking soda remove red wine stains?

Baking soda removes wine stains and has similar effects such as salt. What you need to do is to apply a soda, but in the shape of paste. Mix up one part of baking soda with three parts of water and add it to the stained area. Leave it to dry. Once dry, the best way is to vacuum up all the paste. 

how to get red wine out

  • Keep in mind that you might have to put a bit more effort if you use this method on the carpet, but it depends on the type of carpet. Still, maybe salt is still the best solution. A soda baking paste is however more efficient on the clothes as you can more easily manage it and rinse it right after the stain is moved up. 

We have more options for you.

White vinegar can also remove wine stains 

Especially when it comes to red wine stains. Pour the vinegar directly on the stain, soak it thoroughly. Add a few drops of any laundry detergent and dub it so both ingredients start to work together. Let them soak for half an hour. Rinse it after with cold water as much as you can. 

If you have a cotton rug, use a mix of vinegar and boiling water to soak the stain. Rinse it and leave it to dry. Hopefully, you won’t have to buy a new one. If you are fortunate to own a wool carpet, both salt and vinegar are efficient here. 

  • When it comes to clothes, if you spill the wine (especially red) over yourself, the combination of laundry detergent and vinegar will also do the work.

how to get red wine out

In the end, my job, clearly, was to remain the host with the most, not too fussed about it, not wanting to make anyone feel terrible about things (just keep on chatting you b*stards!). Still, I was glad that I could share the experience and bond with the group. We came up with more than one effective solution (otherwise I wouldn’t have this great chance to share the precious knowledge with you. 🙂

Before you go and clean your wine stains…

Don’t forget to check out our selection of natural wines. Not only will you be able to enjoy some of the best organic and biodynamic wines, but you will also be able to discover new and stunning winemakers from all over the world. And if you cannot decide which wines you want to try next, our monthly wine subscription can help you. Don’t forget to find out more about our wine delivery service!

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