You’re enjoying a glass of cabernet sauvignon at dinner — and the next thing you know, you have a red wine stain on your shirt! It happens to everyone, but don’t worry: this article provides a step-by-step guide to dealing with red wine stains fast.
Red wine stains are notoriously stubborn, so it’s essential to check the garment just after you launder it to see if the stain is gone – if not, repeat the steps below before allowing your clothing to dry.
How to Remove a Red Wine Stain from Clothing
It’s lucky that South Africa produces both red and white wine because white wine is a popular solution for removing red wine stains! But if you don’t have any white wine to hand, there are other methods you can use. Just follow the steps below, and remember to test all the stain removal suggestions first on a small area to ensure that they are compatible with your fabric:
Once the red wine is spilled, act fast. It’s much harder to remove red wine stains after they’ve dried, so treat the stain while it’s still wet.
With a clean cloth or serviette, soak up as much of the red wine as possible. Make sure not to rub the wine deeper into the fabric. Just blot at it. Put another cloth or serviette underneath the stain so that it doesn’t spread onto another layer of the garment.
If you can, remove your stained clothing and wear something else instead. It’ll be much easier to treat the fabric if you’re not wearing it. But if that’s not possible, just keep the stain damp with water, white wine, or soda until you can remove the garment and treat the stain properly.
Whether your garment is on or off, apply white wine or soda water to the stain. Saturate the stain thoroughly and blot away with a clean cloth or serviette to remove the red wine.
Milk is another household remedy for red wine stains on clothes. Let the milk soak into the stain. Then blot, re-apply, and soak. After an hour, you should be able to rinse the stain away.
Once the stain has been saturated with white wine, milk, or soda, cover it thoroughly with table salt – just press the salt against the fabric and let it sit. It should absorb the red wine. When the fabric has dried, you should be able to brush away the salt – and along with it, the red wine!
If your fabric is white, you can also mix a solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and everyday dishwashing liquid, like SUNLIGHT, or laundry detergent, like OMO AUTO WASHING LIQUID or Surf Detergent – read and follow any instructions on your product labels. Apply to the stain and blot until the mark is gone.
If the stain has been mostly lifted, move to step 9. For a dry, or more stubborn stain, mix a paste of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and water. Spread this thoroughly on the stain, and keep it moist for a few hours. Afterward, rinse and see if the stain is gone.
If all else fails, try a commercial stain remover, especially one designed for red wine stains. Follow the instructions on the product label for the best results.
After you’ve treated the stain and removed as much of it as possible, launder the garment as usual in your washing machine. Use a cool temperature setting, as high heat can set any traces of the stain.
How do you choose your cleaning products?
Be sure to read your garment care tags, especially when using a commercial stain remover. If the stain is on a delicate fabric, like silk or wool, you may want to consider taking it to a professional cleaner – but you should still keep the stain damp with water or soda in the meantime. Now that you know how to remove wine stains, you won’t panic the next time that glass of merlot accidentally tips over!