There is a common theory that white wine will remove a red wine stain from the carpet. Naturally, the first time this occurred in my home, I reached right for the white wine. I should have known then that treating wine stains on the carpet with more wine was a little backward. I’ll explain the rest of this story and show you how to get red wine stains out of the carpet correctly. Before you create a bigger mistake and damage your carpet, read these first hand experiences and tips.
Before you start treating your red wine spill, make sure to take note of these things:
- The quicker you remove wine stains from carpet, the easier it is
- If you can’t get to the stain right away, at least blot it dry (no rubbing) and then pour a little cold water on the stain
- Any stain removers (both commercial and natural) that you use should be tested in an area of the carpet that does not show (i.e., under the sofa)
- If you have an area rug, protect the area under the rug when you treat the stain, if you have wood floors underneath, it could cause damage when exposed to liquid of any kind
Methods To Remove Red Wine Stains From Carpet
Before attempting any of my favorite methods for removing red wine stains from carpet, make sure to blot the area and remove as much of the wine as possible. Add some cold water to dilute the stain and continue to blot the area.
Be prepared that a dried red wine carpet stain is a bit more work to remove, and I recommend going with a detergent to take care of the dried stains. In addition, you may have to use a dull knife to pick off pieces of dried red wine as opposed to blotting the area as you do with a fresh stain.
Dishwashing Liquid and Hydrogen Peroxide
Dishwashing liquid and hydrogen peroxide work together to break down and then destroy the coloration of the wet wine stain. Dishwashing liquid is a surfactant, so it weakens the surface tension of the red wine; at the same time, hydrogen peroxide will oxidize the stain.
I have used this method on dried red wine stains and found it to be quite effective. Take a small container and mix two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide.
Take a clean cloth, dip it in the solution, and blot the stain. Use a dry cloth to remove as much liquid as possible, and then repeat. Use your fingers to push this cleaning solution into the carpet fibers and ensure that it gets to the bottom of the red wine spill.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda will absorb and lift a stain, while the acid in vinegar works to break it down. I love this method for getting wine out of carpet, whether you are dealing with dry red wine stains or wet. Anytime you use vinegar, test an area of the carpet first.
Take dry baking soda and spread it directly on the stained area. One tablespoon of white vinegar with one tablespoon of water in a small container. Pour the mixture over the baking soda; it will make almost a baking soda paste.
Let the solution sit on the carpet for about 20 minutes. Use a damp cloth to wipe it off. Blot the area with paper towels and cold water to remove all baking soda and vinegar. Vacuum when finished.
Dish Soap and White Vinegar
Using the acidic nature of white vinegar to help remove dried wine stains and brand-new ones is really effective. The dish soap just adds an additional stain fighter and helps to break down the stain quicker.
Most mixtures of dish soap, white vinegar, and water tell you to use two cups of water; I find that the solution is more effective when you use one cup of water, one tablespoon of dish soap, and one tablespoon of vinegar.
Mix the solution in a container, or even use your now empty wine glass after you give it a rinse! Pour the solution on a little at a time and blot with a clean cloth.
Laundry Detergent and Cold Water
For dealing with dried red wine stains, laundry detergent and cold water methods seem to be the most effective. First use a dull knife to remove as much of the dried wine as you can. Then take a little cold water and blot the area.
Put some laundry detergent on the end of a damp cloth. Rub the detergent directly into the stain, and then rinse and blot with cold water. This usually takes a few rounds, but it can be very effective.
You may have to scrub a little harder with a dried stain, and remember to test the area of the carpet to make sure your laundry detergent is safe to use. Dry the spot with a paper towel when finished.
Commercial Stain Removers
A commercial stain remover can help to ensure you are really targeting the red wine directly. Luckily there are some options out there that are specifically made for red wine spills.
Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover
The Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover is a small spray you can put directly on a new or old red wine stain. The formula contains biodegradable cleaning agents, and it is water-based. I would still test this in an inconspicuous area before putting it directly on the carpet. However, many users of Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover say it works on white carpets and even older stains, although it may need more than one treatment.
Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover
The Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover is another popular choice for a commercial solution to remove red wine stains. Wine Away is another biodegradable formula that does not require much thought, just spray and let it do its job. A great majority of Wine Away customers say it works instantly and it’s considerably more affordable than purchasing a brand new carpet!
Club soda is carbonated, and the carbonation helps to break down the pigments in the wine. Use club soda on a fresh red wine stain; stay away from it with dry wine stains, as it won’t be as effective.
Take a can or bottle of club soda, pour club soda directly on the stain, and then blot the stubborn wine stains. Repeat this process until the stain starts to release; sometimes, you just need to keep that fizz from the soda active to release the stain.
Again, protect the underside of your carpet, if possible, with a towel; you don’t want to soak the area.
When To Call Professional Stain Removers?
If you have tried adding a little more club soda, using vinegar, and even baking soda, and notice it’s not working, try calling a professional to complete the job. With some old stains, the color is set deep into the carpet, so you may need a professional with a stronger carpet cleaner to remove the stain.
Rinse and Dry the Area After Stain Removal
Once you have completed your stain removal method and the red wine stain is no longer visible, go ahead and rinse and dry the area where you removed the stain. Continue blotting with cool water until you think everything has been removed, dry the area and the floor underneath, and then give the carpet a good vacuum.
Mistakes To Avoid
Here are a few mistakes I have made while treating wine stains on carpets; hopefully, it saves you a little time and money to learn from me!
- Save your white wine; the white wine has no stain-fighting ability and will not remove red wine stains
- Ignore the common misconception to sprinkle salt on your red wine stain; yes, salt can be absorbent, but it will do nothing to break down the pigments in the red wine that are turning your carpet red
- Don’t pour water (hot water or cool water) on your dried red wine stains; first, work on the affected area with a dull knife or even tweezers to help remove some of the dried pieces before treating
- Don’t use anything like bleach as a carpet cleaner; it will remove all color from your carpet (avoid it even with white carpet); test all stain removal methods in an inconspicuous area
- If you have a wool carpet, don’t use an enzyme-based cleaner; it can break down the carpet fibers leaving you with a visible area where the red wine was
- Never wait to remove red wine; get it done quickly!
- Don’t rub the stain; blot the stain
The Science of Red Wine Stains
Red wine stains are not the easiest to remove. Inside your favorite glass of red wine, you will find anthocyanins that sink deeply into the carpet and are difficult to fully remove. In addition, tannins in red wine stains penetrate the carpet fibers deeply, making this an even bigger battle.
The common thought is to just splash some white wine on the area and call it a night. This just doesn’t work. White wine may do a pretty good job of diluting the red wine, but water will do the same thing. To remove the red wine, you need stain fighters like club soda, dish soap, or vinegar.
Whenever possible, it helps to avoid the red wine spills altogether; here are a few ways to help ensure that your next gathering doesn’t end up with you doing a crash course in carpet stain removal.
- Use carpet protectors whenever possible
- Look for stain-resistant carpets or washable carpets in rooms where you have people gathering to drink red wine
- Move the party outside if you can; spills are much easier to treat outdoors
- Look for any tripping hazards on the floor that could cause people to accidentally bump into each other and spill their wine