Living Rooms

How to remove red wine stains – and clean up furniture, carpet and fabric

Need to know how to remove red wine stains? Use our guide to rid your home of marks

How to remove red wine stains
(Image credit: Getty Images / Peter Dazeley)

Accidental spill left you wondering how to get rid of red wine stains? One careless move can result in red wine on surfaces such as upholstery, carpet or a tablecloth, leaving an urgent cleanup job to be done. 

While red wine stains are a challenge, they definitely can be dealt with so you’re not left with a mark. To do so, make sure your laundry room ideas include stashing the right items to enable you to take action quickly.

Kit to the ready, discover all you need to know to deal with red wine stains around your home.

How to remove red wine stains

‘When it comes to any sort of stain, the quicker you treat and wash the item, the better for full stain removal,’ says Wayne Edelman, CEO of high-end dry-cleaning service Meurice Garment Care.

Wherever the problem has occurred, use this guide to how to remove red wine stains to revive your home furnishings as well as your clothes.

How to remove red wine stains from upholstery

The first thing to do if you see a red wine stain on upholstery is to blot the liquid using white paper towels. Alternatively use a clean white cloth. ‘It is most important that you do not rub,’ says Wayne Edelman. 

After that, a great option is to put salt on to the area. Leave it there a few minutes, and you might find it’s lifted all of the red wine off the couch. Vacuum up to remove.

If this doesn’t do the trick, another method will be necessary, such as the application of a red wine stain remover – we like Wine Away

‘Upholstery can be tricky and if the cover is not removable the cleaning should be referred to a professional,’ says Wayne.

How to remove red wine stains from carpet

The experts recommend a few alternatives when it comes to how to remove red wine stains from carpet. But as with upholstery, it’s important to soak up the liquid first.

‘Blot as much of the red wine as possible with a clean white cloth,’ says Jessica Samson, a cleaning expert at The Maids. ‘Work from the outside of the stain to the inside of the stain so that the red wine doesn’t spread and make the stain larger. Do not rub or scrub.’

If you’ve got some club soda, this can come to the rescue. ‘Pour your club soda directly on to the stain,’ says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company. ‘After completing this step, blot again, pressing the club soda into the stain. Pour more club soda on to the affected area and continue blotting repeatedly until the stain is lifted.’

Dish soap and white vinegar are another possible answer for removing red wine stains. ‘Start by blotting the stain well,’ says Vera. ‘Then, prepare a cleaning solution consisting of one tablespoon of hand dishwashing soap, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and two cups of warm water. After this, using a white cloth, only – to prevent any pigment from the cloth bleeding into your carpet – apply a small amount of the cleaning solution directly on to the stain, blotting repeatedly until the stain is lifted.’

Another option is to use hydrogen peroxide. Proceed cautiously, though. ‘Blot the stain as best you can with a clean, dry cloth,’ says Vera. ‘Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part dishwashing soap and test it by applying it to a small, out-of-sight part of your carpet or rug. If it does not discolor the fabric, continue. Apply the solution to the red wine carpet stain. Blot and repeat until the stain is gone.’

How to remove red wine stains from table linens

Enthusiastic glass clinking or animated guests waving their arms while speaking can mean removing red wine stains from tablecloths is on the agenda. Here again, speed is of the essence, so blot with white paper towels or a clean white cloth to absorb as much of the red wine as possible first.

We recommend a spot cleaner – like Wine Away – for a tablecloth, followed by washing in the machine, according to the label. 

Don’t have a product to hand? ‘First blot the stain area with a clean, dry cloth to keep the stain from spreading,’ advises Jonathon Reckles, a vice president of CD One Price Cleaners. ‘Try not to let the stain dry before laundering. Then, rinse the stained area with chilled water and three parts baking soda prior to laundering with detergent on the cold cycle.’

How to remove red wine stains from clothing

When red wine is spilled on clothes rather than home surfaces, speed is also of the essence and even if you’re only considering small laundry room ideas it’s worth keeping what you’ll need at hand.

‘Red wine stains are tannin based,’ says Wayne Edelman. ‘They generally will not come right out in the machine and need to be pretreated. Protein and tannin stains can be pretreated with a multipurpose pre spot formula such as Shout

‘To make a home tannin stain remover, you can mix half a teaspoon of a laundry detergent of your choice with one-quarter cup of white vinegar and one-quarter cup of cool water.’

Follow the instructions on the label of clothing to wash afterwards. ‘In terms of what clothes should be left to a pro, only dry-clean items truly need to be taken to professionals,’ he adds.

Does baking soda remove red wine stains?

Baking soda can remove red wine stains. ‘It is an absorbent, and will soak up not just the wine, but the odor that comes with it,’ explains Tricia Holderman, expert on cleaning and author of Germinator: The Germ Girl’s Guide To Simple Solutions In A Germ-Filled World. ‘Just sprinkle  – do not dump – on the spill, let it absorb for a few minutes, then blot, do not rub. ’

Are red wine stains permanent?

Red wine stains needn’t be permanent, but for best results, act immediately and always make sure to blot the liquid and not to rub. 

Be mindful that not all surfaces are equal. ‘Upholstery and carpets are a little harder as you don’t usually have the ability to get to the opposite side,’ says Tricia Holderman. ‘So while you can get the spill from the fabric side, you might not be able to get the carpet pad or the interior cushion. The stain can be gone from the topical part, but can bleed through from the residue.’

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.