Ultimate Guide to Removing Wine Stains (Red & White)


We’ve noticed, maybe it’s been there for hours. But you notice a wine stain. A wine stain oh-so-bad. One that would do so, especially without leaving a trace. It’s also insanely hard to do if the affected fabric is soft and can easily be ruined. Because of this, many people just give up on the task and throw away whatever is stained.

Either way, we’re here to help you eliminate all those without a problem (and without damage)!

Red Wine Stains

Everyone agrees that red wine stains are the worst. They are obvious, hard to clean and can easily ruin whatever they got on. All in all: they are a serious mess. Especially if you let it dry first.

So, what’s the easiest way to remove red wine stains?

Carpets & Rugs

These are the easiest to clean, as carpets and rugs are very durable and can withstand chemicals (and scrubbing). But we won’t advise you to try to clean with products that could potentially damage them, so we will give you an even easier solution.

The first step should be blotting up any wine that still hasn’t soaked in. If the stain has been there for a good while already, then this step won’t make a difference. But if you still do it, then you should either use a rag or paper towel. If you couldn’t get anything out, then the red wine stain has dried, which means you need to water it up.

You can do that by putting laundry detergent and water in a spray bottle and soaking the carpet or rug with it. You should do this with cold water and a newspaper should be placed under the fabric, so it doesn’t get soaked into whatever is underneath. We use Oxi Clean + hot water in just a basic spray bottle.

After that cover the red wine stain with salt. Yes, you did read that right, salt. Cover it completely, no part of the splatter should be visible. (No, sugar doesn’t work in this case.)

Then all you need to do is wait. The wine will eventually get sucked into the salt, likely leaving no residue. You can clean up the rest with a vacuum.

Another way to do this is by pouring a little bit of white wine on the salt. Yes, it does sound weird, but white wine neutralizes the red pigments and can make the cleaning process much easier. Once that’s done you can continue with the method as normal.

Light-Colored Clothing

Mix together one part washing detergent, then one part hydrogen peroxide. Pour this into a bowl and set the stain right in it. You should see the stain begin fading almost immediately if you did it right.

After you’ve let it sit for approximately 5 minutes, you can wash it in the washing machine as normal (although warmer water is recommended).

Although if the clothing you’re using isn’t durable or is made of fine material, then this method should not be used. Hydrogen peroxide can damage the fabric really badly and you will regret trying to clean it this way.

All Types of Clothing & Tablecloth

If the last method isn’t one for you because you’re afraid of the damage bleaching could cause, then this one will likely work.

This one is really simple. All you need to do is stretch out the fabric in a sink or your bathtub. It should be about 1/2 feet (15 cm) above the ground. Then you need to boil some water (ideally in a kettle, so you can direct the water’s way).

The last step is simply pouring it on the red wine stain and watching it slowly wash out.

The only downside of this technique is the risk of shrinking whatever you are trying to clean. So make sure that the fabric cools down if you want to wash it in cold water afterward.

Everything White

Just simply use bleach. That’s it.

This is not very recommended, as bleach can easily ruin whatever it touches, especially if used multiple times in the same fabric.

Also, it’s bad for you as well. It can irritate your skin and eyes and you may even inhale a toxic amount of the chemicals it releases. Make sure you take all necessary precautions before cleaning with bleach. And rinse thoroughly.

General Rules for Cleaning Red Wine Stains

1. Do not scrub!

This is the worst mistake you can make when cleaning red wine stains. By far. If you start scrubbing the red wine stain then it will only spread out and will be harder to clean. Or the wine stain will leave a huge pink splatter even after washing.

What you should do instead is blot it. A paper towel or a rag can easily soak up all the leftover wine, thus making your job way easier.

2. Do not wash it in hot or warm water immediately

This will cause the pigments to set and it will be impossible to get out. This same logic is applied to bloody clothes as well but works perfectly in both cases.

So, use cold water with red wine stains. It will save you a lot of trouble.

3. Do not wait if you don’t have to

The more time you leave for the red wine to set, the harder it will be to get the red wine stain out. So even if you are at a party, if your priority is getting rid of the red wine stain then you should start doing it immediately.

Do not hesitate with cleaning it up, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

4. Do not put anything in the dryer straight after cleaning

Let’s say that you have successfully implemented the methods mentioned above. Congrats to you!

Unfortunately, though, some residue might still be left and if you put the fabric in the dryer then the heat will completely let it set. And you will end up with a permanent red wine stain that you will never be able to get out.

Always wash first before applying heat.

White Wine

These ones aren’t so bad, as they only leave a stain that is barely visible. Although, it can be a disaster if white wine is spilled on white clothing, so you still need to know how to get it out.

The best part is that you can just wipe up the stain if it’s fresh, so don’t panic.

Carpets & Rugs

Blot up any wine that is still not dry.

Or in this case, you can use baking soda. All you need to do is sprinkle the whole affected area, then let it sit for 10 minutes. After that just vacuum it all up.

The final step is spraying the fabric with commercial carpet cleaner or diluted washing up liquid. Then blot up whatever you can.

Let it dry, the wine stain should be gone by then, but if not, then repeat these steps. If you still aren’t able to get rid of them by the third time then it’s time to hire a professional, as the stain is etched into the fabric at this point.

All Types of Clothing & Tablecloth

This is probably the easiest method of all and might just work for red wine as well. But only if the stain isn’t too bad.

First, you need to run cold water on the fabric, then blot with laundry detergent (this time, it’s better if you use a rag). Do this under running water, so you can see the stain slowly go away. Once you think it’s spotless throw it in the washing machine. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

This can work for durable and fine materials as well. Also, it barely requires anything, so you don’t have to worry about going shopping for special cleaning materials. Although you can try some special wine removers, these methods work just as well.

Everything White

And once again: bleach. In the case of spilled white wine, it’s usually not necessary, but sometimes you just can’t deal with it. So if you can’t get the stain out by yourself and don’t want to hire a professional then this is still an option.

But once again: be careful with it!

General Rules for Cleaning White Wine Stains

1. Remember all the rules for red wine

They are all important and are still relevant even if you are trying to get rid of white wine. Everything still applies, so read those rules if you’ve forgotten them.

2. Do not give up

White wine is much harder to clean, even though the pigments aren’t as visible. So keep on rinsing and blotting, it will come out eventually!

These stains aren’t actually as bad as you first thought, are they?

With the methods we gave you, one can easily remove wine stains without damaging the fabric. These are the perfect techniques for everyone, as they don’t require special cleaning tools or materials, so it’s likely that you don’t even have to go shopping if you have a wine stain emergency. Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out other helpful content for your wine stain prevention like “How to Properly Pour Wine Without Spilling” or “How to Hold a Wine Glass?“.

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram and   Pinterest for daily wine content!

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