How to Remove Red Wine Stains
When Wine Attacks!
The moment it happens, time slows down like ‘The Matrix’. Your wine glass ejects all of its contents onto the carpet -OR WORSE- the light colored blouse of the person across from you. Even when you’re trying to be careful, you can still miss a solitary drip of red wine as it inescapably lands on the middle of your favorite t-shirt. What do you do now?
We asked Cape Town lifestyle blogger and former housekeeping manager on some of the world’s fanciest yachts – with some of the world’s messiest owners– how to remove red wine stains. She’s pulled stains from nearly every material used by man: silk, wool, linen… even leather floors!
How to Remove Red Wine Stains
- Act Fast the sooner you attack the stain, the better your chances of success
- Absorb as much of the wine as possible
- Rinse the stain with plenty of fresh water
- Use Chemicals on fabrics if you don’t know what that fabric is – suede, leather, wool, silk and dry clean only items need professional cleaning
- Apply Heat – Heat will set the stain permanently!
- Use printed/colored cocktail napkins – The color will run from the napkins, and now you have two stains to worry about.
- Some red wine stains may turn blue after the application of the stain removal agent – this is normal, just launder with ordinary detergent as usual.
- If the stain has not lifted entirely, begin the whole process again. Remember to keep the stain wet and not to apply any heat.
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Recommended Products for Wine Stain Removal
BEST FOR: Fresh and dried red wine stains on clothing, carpets and upholstery.
METHOD OF ATTACK: absorb excess wine. saturate stain with Wine Away spray (mmm it smells good). Leave it to do its magic for 5 minutes. Dab the stain area with an absorbent, clean cloth to remove any residue.
BEST FOR: Fabrics and clothing items that can be washed thoroughly. Not recommended on carpet or upholstery.
METHOD OF ATTACK: Absorb excess wine and moisten stain with water. Sprinkle powder onto stained area and work into the stain (an old, soft toothbrush is good for this job). After 3 minutes, brush off powder and dab clean with a clean, damp cloth.
BEST FOR: Fabrics and clothing items that can be washed thoroughly. Not recommended on carpet, upholstery, wool, silk or leather.
METHOD OF ATTACK: Dissolve a scoop of powder in a bucket of warm water and soak item thoroughly. For best results, follow by adding an additional scoop to your regular washing detergent. This is a great solution for large stained items such as tablecloths and napkins.
Ordinary Washing Detergent (Everywhere)
BEST FOR: Fabrics and clothing items that can be washed thoroughly.
METHOD OF ATTACK: For best results be sure to choose laundry detergent that is formulated for “Hand wash” or “Cold water”. Make a paste with the powder (or use the liquid neat), apply to the stain and leave for 5 minutes. Dissolve some detergent into a bucket of warm water and soak the item overnight or longer. A good soak is a good idea after trying any of the above products.
BEST FOR: Most fabrics.
METHOD OF ATTACK: I almost never leave home without a supply of Shout Wipe & Go. These pre-moistened towelettes effortlessly remove most stains when you’re out and about on that Tuscan wine tour.
Wine Stain Myths!
White Wine vs. Red Wine: I’m not a fan of adding more mess to the mess you already have. And although some people have had success with this method, I think wasting more wine is just adding salt to the wound. Speaking of salt, don’t try that either. Paper towel and lots of pressure will get the job done faster.
Soda Water: not in itself a bad idea, although ordinary water will do just fine.
Prevent Red Wine Stains Before They Happen!
Choose Your Clothes Wisely: Plan ahead if you suspect that your evening may become, shall we say, messy? Steer clear of white or light colored fabrics if you can. Avoid cashmere, silk, linen or wool and try to choose items that are fairly sturdy and can be washed easily at home (or in the ladies room!)
Be Prepared: WineAway comes in a handbag-size spray and it’s not a bad idea to pack a little emergency kit of travel-sized detergents when heading off on your next wine holiday.
Avoid Hazards: Steps and uneven surfaces, drinking while at sea, pets underfoot and trying to juggle wine and canapes at a cocktail party are all sure ways to end up in trouble. Plan ahead and clear out any hazards if you’re planning a wine party at home.
Stemless Drinking Glasses: – consider some of these for your next ‘wine-ado’ at home. Most of my wine related incidents occurred at the dinner table when an animated storyteller accidently swept aside a few glasses. Stemless glasses have a lower profile and are easier to handle as the evening wears on.
About Katy Rose
Katy is from sunny South Africa, where food, wine and the great African outdoors are all the ingredients you need for a well lived life. She works as a Chief Stewardess on board Luxury Super Yachts, which allows for plenty of foreign travel and other rum-fueled sailor adventures.
When she’s not serving Champagne to the A-Listers or taking care of Housekeeping emergencies,
you will find her doing her “research” in a Fine Dining Restaurant or Wine Tasting room near you.
Katy writes Katy’s Table , a Food, Wine and Lifestyle blog based in Cape Town, South Africa.