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Stain Guide – Removing Wine Stains

A fun night out may have you regretting a clumsy moment with your wine glass, but don’t toss out that favorite garment. While red wine stains are often the most stubborn to get out, they are quite common, and the experts have figured out a way to save the day. Learn how to tackle even older red wine stains in this guide.

Tips for Upholstery and Carpets

Yikes! You dumped a big glass of merlot on your white shag rug. Don’t worry! There’s hope for even the most pristine floor coverings.

Add Salt

First, blot up the excess liquid as quickly as you can with a colorfast dishrag or paper towel. Then, sprinkle liberally with white table salt. (Make sure you cover it so well, you can’t see the stain.) The salt will work to soak up the rest of the wine from the carpet fibers. Once the salt is completely dry, you can vacuum up the entire mess – which should take most of the stain with it. If there’s any residue, you can move on to the second step.

Vinegar and Detergent

Pour a small amount of white vinegar (avoid apple cider) directly onto the stain. Then apply some dye and scent-free liquid detergent and rub in with your finger gently. You should see the color lift from the fibers. Rinse several times with more hot water, or use a carpet extractor on plain water setting to rinse and remove the moisture. This trick also works on furniture and clothing!

When Clothes Stain

Boiling Water and Salt

Repeat the salt trick we shared for carpets, but instead of allowing the salt to sit, pour a kettle of boiling water directly on the salted stain to rinse the wine out. You can improve your chance of this working (and keep the stain from spreading) by stretching the cloth tight over a bowl or jar and pouring the water through the stained area only. Then pre-treat with detergent and wash on the hottest setting your fabrics will allow. (Check the label for this information.)

Peroxide and Detergent

If the clothing is white or nearly-white and can stand losing a bit of color, you might try treating it the same way we did above with the vinegar, but substitute hydrogen peroxide. This trick works well to get rid of dark red and purple stains, but don’t use it on your brights – it can discolor or fade your most vibrant colors. Then, move on to the pre-treating with the detergent stage before throwing into the wash on the hottest temperature your fabrics can stand. (Check the label for this information.)

Is It Too Late?

Ideally, you’ll want to get at that stain right away, but we understand that sometimes you can’t get to it until you’re home from a business trip or in the vicinity of a laundry room. That’s why it’s better late than never. Always attempt to remove a stain at least once, following up with another round of pre-treating and the same wash tips a second time. Most red wine stains will still come out if handled a few days after they were caused.

If you’re especially clumsy, you might try switching to white wine, but we understand that accidents happen even to the best of us. Instead, consider carrying a Dropp's laundry pod in a small baggie in your purse or carry-on and use it to immediately pre-treat any wine stain directly after rinsing. When you take action right away – even away from home – you increase your chance of getting that stubborn stain out.


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