How to remove red wine from carpet

Need to know how to remove red wine from carpet using salt, white wine or another handy cleaner? Find out here...

Updated 13 January 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time7 minutes

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A glass of red wine on its side spilling onto carpet

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Knowing how to remove red wine from your carpet is a pretty essential life skill. After all, most of us have accidentally sloshed wine on a rug at some point, whether we were partying with friends or just curled up on the sofa binging on Netflix.

In this guide, we’re going to talk you through all your many options for dealing with a red wine stain on your carpet, from washing up liquid and salt to white wine.

Tackling an old stain? Scroll down the page for our cleaning hacks.

You will need:

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  • How to remove red wine from carpet with salt and vinegar

    The clock is ticking. For the best results, act as soon as the spill occurs. The longer you leave it, the harder you’ll have to work.

    1. 1

      Blot the stain

      You need to get as much of the wine up as possible before you start tackling the stain. Otherwise, you’ll just make the problem worse. So, using an old clean cloth or kitchen towel, blot the spill to soak it up. Keep going until hardly any wine is being transferred to the cloth. Use a different piece of the cleaning cloth each time and change it if you need to.

      Press lightly so that you don’t push the wine further into the carpet fibres, and don’t be tempted to rub, as you could spread the stain further.
    2. 2

      Pour water onto the stain

      Pour a small amount of water onto the remaining wine to dilute it. This will make it easier to blot and you’ll be able to soak up more of the wine . Keep dabbing with a cloth until you can’t get any more liquid up.

    3. 3

      Mix your cleaning solution

      If you have a liquid carpet cleaner, follow the instructions on the bottle. Otherwise, add a generous squirt of washing up liquid and two tablespoons of white vinegar to two cups of warm (not hot) water. Mix well.

    4. 4

      Test your cleaner

      We always recommend trying a small amount of new cleaning solution on a less noticeable area, such as behind a door or under the sofa. Most carpets are colour-fast, but it’s best to make sure.

    5. 5

      Wash the stain

      Dip a clean white cloth or sponge into your cleaning solution. Wring it out and use it to wash the stain. Blot the excess liquid up with another cloth as you go, to avoid soaking the carpet. And change the cleaning solution when it starts to look a bit pink.

      Try to dab rather than rub, and work from the outside of the stain towards the centre so that you don’t spread the wine.
    6. 6

      Sprinkle salt

      Sprinkle salt over the stain. It will soak up some of the lingering red wine. Leave the salt in place until the carpet has dried. This is likely to take at least a couple of hours.

    7. 7

      Vacuum the stain

      Brush up and discard as much of the salt as you can. Vacuum up any remaining bits. All being well, the stain should now have gone. If there is any lingering discolouration, try our baking soda hack below or head to the shops to pick up a bottle of stain remover.

How to get red wine out of carpet with baking soda

We love baking soda (AKA bicarbonate of soda) here at Cleanipedia. You can use bicarb in so many ways, from deodorising trainers to cleaning ovens. And yes, it also makes a decent natural stain remover. Here’s how:

  1. 1

    First off, blot as much of the wine up as you can.

  2. 2

    Wash the stain with washing up liquid and white vinegar, as directed above.

  3. 3

    Make a paste with the baking soda and a little water. Spread this over the stain. Be generous. Think of it as icing a cake.

  4. 4

    Pop a clean cloth over the baking soda and rest something heavy on top, like a book. This will help to push the baking soda into the carpet. Some of the paste will seep into the cloth, so make sure your ‘something heavy’ isn’t something that’s going to get easily ruined.

  5. 5

    Leave the baking soda to do its job for a few hours or overnight. Scoop up the clumps of baking soda. Let the rest dry before vacuuming the carpet.

How to get old red wine stains out of carpet

Old red wine stains are much more difficult to remove. We recommend using a professional stain remover. You can buy one specifically designed for tackling red wine. Do check it on an inconspicuous area of your carpet first and follow the directions on the bottle.

It won’t work miracles, but should at least lighten the stain. You may need to repeat the treatment several times for the best result.

If the carpet is white or cream, you could try using hydrogen peroxide. (See below.)

You’ll also find more great advice on getting old stains out of carpet here.

How to remove red wine from carpet with stain remover

If you have a liquid carpet cleaner or stain remover handy, your job should be much easier. Before tackling the stain, blot up as much of the wine as possible using a clean cloth.

Then use the professional cleaner as instructed on the packet. In some cases, this will involve leaving the solution to soak for a while before washing it off.

Red wine on carpet: your questions answered

Should you use hot water or cold water to wash a red wine stain on a carpet?

It’s best to use lukewarm water. You might need to use warm water to make a solution, but don’t use hot water – it could set the stain or damage the carpet.

I’ve just spilt red wine on my carpet, but I can’t deal with it now. Help!

If you’ve got friends over for dinner, the last thing you want to do is scrub the carpet. Blot the wine up quickly with paper towels and then sprinkle salt over it until you can deal with it. Try not to let it completely dry out before you tackle the stain though, or you risk not being able to get rid of it.

Does salt get red wine out of carpet?

Salt soaks up wine, but only if it’s still wet. So it can help to tackle a fresh spill, but won’t do much to an old one.

Can I use vinegar to tackle a red wine stain on carpet?

Vinegar is an effective natural cleaner. However, it’s unlikely to remove a red wine stain on its own, so we recommend mixing it with water and washing up liquid. Make sure you choose a distilled white vinegar, not brown vinegar. Brown vinegar tastes great on chips, but it could add to the stain.

Can you get red wine out of carpet with sparkling water?

Fizzy water, carbonated water, club soda… Call it what you will, it’s a popular choice for tackling red wine stains. Some people believe that the bubbles help to clean the stain. Others think it doesn’t work any better than plain tap water. Either way, it’s worth a try if it’s all that you’ve got to hand.

  1. 1

    Blot the spill. (Don’t be tempted to pour water on top of it before you blot, as you’ll just spread the stain.)

  2. 2

    Pour a small amount of sparkling water onto the middle of the stain.

  3. 3

    Blot it with a clean area of your cloth.

  4. 4

    Repeat as necessary.

Should I pour white wine over a red wine spill?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but white wine really can help with red wine spills. It dilutes the colour and has a neutralising effect. The jury is out on whether it really works any better than just diluting the spill with water though.

Should I use bleach to treat red wine on carpet?

Some carpets can be bleached. If you’re not sure whether yours can be, we strongly suggest you don’t risk it. If you’ve tried everything else to tackle the stain and are at the point of buying a new carpet, then try a milder bleaching agent, like hydrogen peroxide.

Test an inconspicuous area with it first by sponging a small amount onto the carpet, lightly rubbing it in and then pressing down with a clean cloth. If the carpet looks lighter, or any of the dye has transferred to the cloth, don’t continue.

If you do use hydrogen peroxide to tackle the stain, dab it on with a sponge or clean cloth and blot it up with a dry cloth.

Alternatively, make a paste with it and some baking soda. Leave it to work its magic for a few minutes before rinsing it off with clean water.

Only try stronger bleach if nothing else has worked, and be prepared that it may well cause more harm than good!

How do I get red wine stains out of clothes?

Red wine is one of the worst things to spill on your clothes. It’s second only to oil in our opinion.

As with carpets, the key to stain removal is to act quickly. Salt, white wine and baking soda can all be used to tackle the stain. Find out how in our guide to removing red wine stains on clothes.

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