How To Remove Red Wine Stains (From Anything)

Drink beer instead. (Just kidding!)

There’s just something about red wine that draws it, like a magnet, out of your stemware and onto whatever it is you're sitting on or wearing. No one ever seems to have major white wine, beer or soda spills that are even close to as catastrophic as red wine ones. From pinot noir to cabernet, red wine stains are a shameful stamp on your carpet, upholstery or clothing. Fortunately for you, we’ve got a slew of solutions to remove red wine stains from everything from carpet to couches.

How to remove red wine stains

Don’t freak out and start rubbing the stain in, first of all. Secondly, don’t use warm water on red wine stains. This will only cause the wine stain to set more permanently into whatever it is you’re trying to extract it from. Remember: cold water and blotting. These things are your key to red wine removal. And always, always use a white rag. Colored rags combined with cleaning agents can end up actually dying your carpet, making the stain way worse.

How to remove red wine stains from carpet

You’ve got lots of options when it comes to red wine removal agents, so quickly scan your pantry, and grab whatever is available. With more abrasive cleaning agents such as hydrogen peroxide or vinegar, it’s best to test it out on a small, inconspicuous section of carpet before applying it generously to the wine stain to be sure it isn’t bleaching or discoloring your carpet.

  • Baking soda
    • Blot the red wine stain with a clean, dry rag to absorb any excess liquid.
    • Pour a bit of cold water onto the red wine stain to saturate it. We recommend ¼ cup or so, depending how big the stain is. The water will dilute the red wine and help with your blotting.
    • Keep on blotting at the wet stain until it appears to reasonably dissolve.
    • Make a baking soda paste by mixing together 1 part water to 3 parts baking soda. It should be thick, like cake batter.
    • Generously apply the baking soda paste to the red-wine-stained carpet.
    • Let the paste sit for about 20 minutes until it dries out.
    • Vacuum the baking soda residue from the carpet.
  • Club soda + salt

    • Blot out excess wine from the stain with a clean, dry rag.
    • Pour the (ideally cold!) club soda directly onto the red wine stain. The soda’s carbonation should lift the stain out of the carpet fibers.
    • Dump some salt on top of the club-soda-saturated stain. The salt actually serves as a buffer that prevents the stain from setting.
    • Let the salty soda solution sit and dry out for about 20 minutes.
    • Vacuum up the dried salt.
  • Vinegar

    • Blot the red wine stain with a clean, dry rag to absorb any excess liquid.
    • Mix 2 cups of warm water with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Yes, we know we said not to use warm water, but when diluting vinegar (or anything, really), it’s best to use warm water. The acidic vinegar will negate the water’s temperature, trust us. Vinegar effectively neutralizes red wine’s pigments.
    • Dip your rag or sponge into the water/vinegar solution, and get to blotting.
    • Continue blotting until the red wine stain has dissolved.
    • Once the stain is gone, finish by blotting the spot with a rag soaked with a gentle dish soap (we love Dawn) and water to get rid of any residual vinegar or funky vinegar odor.
    • Finish by dabbing the spot with a clean, damp rag to get rid of soapy residue.
    • Blot with a dry rag, and let the spot air dry completely.
    • Still smell that vinegar? Hit the spot with a spritz of Febreze Fabric to get your carpet smelling fresh.
  • Hydrogen peroxide + baking soda

    • Disclaimer: Hydrogen peroxide has the potential to majorly discolor your carpet. Test it out first on a discreet section of the carpet before applying to the stain, or you might just make it way, way worse.
    • Blot out excess wine from the stain with a clean, dry rag.
    • Spray or carefully pour hydrogen peroxide onto the red-wine-stained carpet.
    • Dollop a spoonful of baking soda on top of the hydrogen-peroxide-soaked stain.
    • Let the whole mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
    • Vacuum up dried-out baking soda residue.
    • Blot the spot with a clean, damp rag to finish.
    • Let the spot air dry.
  • White wine

    • You obviously prefer red wine, but hopefully you keep a bottle of white on hand, too. White wine can actually neutralize the pigment in red wine! It’s true.
    • Pour some white wine directly onto the red-wine-stained carpet. Don’t get crazy with it, just use enough white wine to completely cover the red wine stain. (Save the rest for a celebratory glass once you’ve successfully removed the stain.)
    • Get to blotting. Using a clean, damp rag, blot the stain until the red fades away.
    • If the red wine stain is particularly stubborn, try adding some salt or baking soda on top of the white wine, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
    • Vacuum up salt or baking soda residue, and continue blotting until the stain is gone.
    • Once the stain is gone, finish by blotting the spot with a rag soaked with dish soap, such as Dawn, and water to get rid of any residual wine.
    • Finish by dabbing the spot with a clean, damp rag to get rid of soapy residue.
    • Blot with a dry rag, or let the spot air dry completely.
    • Does your carpet still smell drunk? Hit the spot with a spritz of Febreze Fabric to freshen it up.

How to remove red wine stains from couches and upholstered furniture

You can recycle most of the same techniques for removing red wine from carpet to get the wine out of your couch, depending on your couch’s material. We like to hit the former stain’s wet spot with a hair dryer to kickstart the drying process, especially if you’ve got to use more liquid to clean the wine spot out. No one wants damp couch cushions, which could then develop mildew if not dried properly.

  • Baking soda

    • Blot the red wine stain with a clean, dry rag to absorb any excess liquid from your couch.
    • Pour a small bit of cold water onto the red wine stain to saturate it. Best to use as little water as possible for this, so it doesn’t soak into your couch cushions too much. We recommend putting some water into a spray bottle and applying it to the stain that way. The water will dilute the red wine and help with your blotting.
    • Keep on blotting at the wet stain until it appears to reasonably dissolve.
    • In a bowl, make a baking soda paste by mixing together 1 part water to 3 parts baking soda. It should be thick, like cake batter.
    • Generously apply the baking soda paste to the red-wine-stained couch.
    • Let the paste sit for about 20 minutes until it dries out.
    • Vacuum the dried baking soda residue from the couch.
    • Finish by blotting the spot with a clean, dry towel.
  • Club soda + salt

    • Blot out excess wine from the stain with a clean, dry rag.
    • Pour the (ideally cold!) club soda directly onto the red wine stain. The soda’s carbonation can lift the stain out of your couch. Again, use as little as possible while still covering the stain.
    • Dump some salt on top of the club-soda-saturated stain. The salt actually serves as a buffer that prevents the stain from setting.
    • Let the salty soda solution sit and dry out for about 20 minutes.
    • Vacuum up the dried salt with a vacuum hose attachment.
  • Hydrogen peroxide + baking soda

    • Disclaimer: Hydrogen peroxide has the potential to majorly discolor your couch. Test it out first on a discreet section of the couch before applying to the stain, or you might just make it way, way worse.
    • Blot out excess wine from the stain with a clean, dry rag.
    • Spray or carefully pour hydrogen peroxide onto the red-wine-stained couch.
    • Dollop a spoonful of baking soda on top of the hydrogen-peroxide-soaked stain.
    • Let the whole mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
    • Vacuum up dried-out baking soda residue.
    • Blot the spot with a clean, damp rag to finish.
    • Let the spot air dry.

How to remove red wine stains from clothes

Remember what we told you way back in the beginning of this article about using cold water? Okay, good. Stick to that trick. Red wine stains on clothes are all about the pretreat before you wash. You’ve got several options, including the club soda and salt option—which should effectively lift the stain out before you even toss the item in the washing machine.

  • White vinegar + laundry detergent

    • Soak the red wine stain with white vinegar.
    • Gently rub some laundry detergent into the vinegar-soaked stain.
    • Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
    • Launder your clothes on a cold cycle.
  • Club soda + salt

    • Blot out excess wine from the stain with a clean, dry rag.
    • Pour the (ideally cold!) club soda directly onto the red wine stain. The soda’s carbonation can lift the stain out of your clothes.
    • Dump some salt on top of the club-soda-saturated stain. The salt actually serves as a buffer that prevents the stain from setting.
    • Let the salty soda solution sit and dry out for about 20 minutes.
    • Vacuum or brush off the dried salt.
    • Launder your clothes on a cold cycle.
  • For old red wine stains on clothing:

    • Oops, guess you hadn’t noticed that one before. There’s still hope.
    • First, rub some laundry detergent directly onto the old red wine stain.
    • Then soak the clothing item in cold water for about 30 minutes.
    • Apply a store-bought stain remover to the old red wine stain, then wash the clothing item as you normally would.
    • For lighter clothing, you could even go for a bleaching agent to get the old red wine stain out.

The faster you catch the red wine spill and treat the stain, the more likely you’ll be able to successfully remove it. If you’re out at a restaurant or bar, quickly order a glass of club soda, and go for the soda and salt remedy.

Got more stains that need attention? We’ve got more tricks for removing everything from coffee stains and [nail polish stains](/in-the-home/ /) to blood stains and hard water stains.

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