Let’s say you’re enjoying a wonderful dinner with your date or spouse at a fancy fine dining restaurant. Your waiter comes in with a bottle of Italian Chianti and pours a glass for both of you. You then make a toast with the wine, but as you tap your glasses together, a bit of the fine red wine spills onto your expensive suit or dress.
How are you going to get that red wine out of your clothes? Is it a lost cause?
Fear not. we’ve got tips to help you get rid of red wine stains on your clothes or other fabrics that you can't (or don't want to) replace. Keep in mind, some of these methods work with only certain fabrics, and some are more effective than others.
Table of Contents
How To Get Red Wine Stains Out Of Clothes & Other Fabrics
Dish Soap and Hydrogen Peroxide
This little trick is quite well-known for being pretty effective on clothes, particularly on colorless/white ones. First, get yourself some dishwashing soap (Dawn is recommended but any brand is fine too) and some hydrogen peroxide. Mix both chemicals in equal proportions together.
Once you’re done, place and rub the mixture on that stain, making sure every part of the stain gets covered by it. Then, let the mixture rest on the fabric for half an hour or so, and wash the mixture with some water right after.
After that, soak the fabric entirely in hot water. You can use the soak cycle in your washing machine if you have one with that feature. Finally, rinse the entire thing in some cold water, and if you did everything correctly, the fabric should be stain-free.
While this method is effective, it’s not great for every situation. This technique works especially well for cotton-based clothes and fabric, and might not be as effective with others. Aside from that, hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, meaning that it may dull some of your colored clothes; therefore, this method is suited best for white cotton shirts.
Yeah, that might not be the most common cloth type out there, but remember that that’s just the best scenario. The technique can work with other types, just not as effectively or without consequence.
The Vinegar and Laundry Detergent Technique
This technique is similar to the dish soap and hydrogen peroxide method in the sense that we’re combining two different chemicals. In this case, though, we’re using vinegar as our stain removal agent.
You don’t need to do any mixing for this technique, and in fact, it’s arguably a lot faster to perform than the previous method. To get rid of the red wine stain using this technique, the first thing you need to do is pour some vinegar over the stain, with every part of the stain soaked in vinegar.
As soon as the vinegar is soaked in the cloth, immediately rub on some laundry detergent (the liquid variant). After that, you can then rinse the whole thing in hot water, and the red stain should disappear along with the detergent and vinegar.
The only obvious downside to this method, other than its slightly higher difficulty in performing than the previous technique, is the smell that lingers from the vinegar. Improper cleaning can lead to the fabric smelling pretty bad (unless you like the smell of vinegar), so make sure to either apply as little vinegar as possible or rub in as much liquid detergent on the vinegar as you can to get rid of that smell.
Using Salt to Absorb the Wine
This little trick right here is especially useful for cloth material that isn’t particularly worn, such as rugs or carpets. You have to act quickly, though, as its effectiveness drops substantially the longer you wait after the stain initially occurs.
As soon as you get a stain on your carpet or rug, immediately wipe and blot the red wine away as much as possible, preferably with a paper towel. When you’ve done as much as you can, you should then pour some salt over the stain, and let it rest until the salt dries.
The salt should absorb the red wine before it dries on the rug, and you can simply wash or vacuum the salt away right after. As said earlier, this method works best when done immediately, as the salt can only absorb the red wine that hasn’t dried on the fabric just yet.
This technique works best on carpets and rugs because they’re just so easy to place salt on. That doesn’t mean, though, that this doesn’t work on clothing too, so if you don’t have any of the other options available to you, try this one out instead.
Stick to Good Old Bleach
Getting rid of stains such as those from spilled red wine can be a huge hassle when it’s on a custom tailor-made colored suit. But if the clothing you got a red wine stain on is just your typical plain white tee, you have a lot more freedom and ease when cleaning that up.
Bleach has always been an effective stain removal agent, and that holds true for pesky red wine stains as well. Simply wash the stained white cloth in some bleach like you normally would, and say goodbye to the stain for good.
Like the first method on this list, however, this technique isn’t recommended for anything other than white cloth, for quite obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want your stained red shirt turning into a stainless but colorless shirt after washing, now would you?
Jokes aside, bleach can do some serious damage to your colored clothing, so don’t even try risking ruining its colors just to clean out the red wine stain. There are other options for that.
Lemon and Salt Combination
If you want to take the salt technique to the next level, you can use some lemon to make it more effective while being relatively fabric-safe. This method utilizes the properties of lemon juice to get rid of the red wine stain under sunlight.
First thing’s first, wet the fabric. It doesn’t have to be for too long, just get it wet. Then, wring out or partially dry the fabric until it becomes damp. You don’t want it dry, so leave it damp to retain some moisture. You should be careful not to stretch out the fabric by wringing it excessively.
Now for the fun part. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto the fabric, making sure you cover every part of the stain with the juice. Then, pour some salt over the entire stain soaked in the lemon juice, and rub it onto the fabric to mix the salt and the juice together.
After that, pour some water from behind the stain to get the salt and lemon juice out of the cloth. Don’t pour it in front of the stain, as it won’t help removing the stain at all. Once that’s done pour some more lemon juice onto the cloth, and leave it out to dry under the heat of the sun.
The heat of the sun carries UV radiation, which affects the lemon juice and makes it act as a mild bleaching agent. It’s less harmful to fabrics than bleach, so this can be done to colored clothing. The whole process does take a bit of time and effort, but it works like a charm.
Pour Some Warm Water Over the Cloth
If you’re not a fan of intricate and complex methods to get rid of a red wine stain, this may be the method for you. All you need is some warm water and a bowl, and you’re good to go. This tip works especially well for fabric that can be flattened out, like a tablecloth.
All you have to do is place a large bowl on a sink, or any other surface that you’re fine getting wet. Get yourself some rubber bands and tighten the stained part of the cloth around the bowl. Then, pour some boiling water over the stain, preferably 12 inches or so above the bowl.
The boiling water should get rid of the red wine stain. If it doesn’t work the first time, you can repeat the process a few times, and if the stain still sticks you’re going to have to resort to the other methods listed here.
Red wine stains can be a pain to deal with whenever you get them on cloth. Not only is it a waste of perfectly good wine, but it also ruins the cloth itself. You don’t need commercial stain removers to get the job done, though, as the techniques listed here should help you make your fabric look as good as new, with maybe the smell of vinegar on it. Hey, at least the stain’s gone.