Removing Red Wine Stains

by Wendy VanHatten

If you drink red wine, at some point you’re going to have a spill…on your white shirt, on the carpet, or on the tablecloth. What do you do? Some of these tips may help…


For the carpet: Blot as much of the stain as you can with a paper towel when it first happens. Cover the entire stain with salt until you can’t see the red wine stain anymore. Don’t rub it in. Let the salt soak into the wet stain and then dry. As the salt dries, it should suck up the stain. Then, simply vacuum everything up.

For your clothes: This works best for light colored clothes. I would be careful on dark items. In a bowl or measuring cup, mix equal parts Dawn dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide. Carefully pour the mixture over the stain and let it soak in. The stain should begin to fade almost immediately. You can then launder the clothing normally. I wouldn’t allow it to sit for more than a few hours. You can also try covering the stain in white vinegar, rubbing in liquid detergent, and then laundering in hot water. The stain should lift.

For white clothes: Using straight bleach can cause all sorts of other problems, but it’s probably the best for a white shirt or other white garment. Pour bleach directly on the stain, as soon after it happens if you can. You may have to use quite a bit of bleach, depending on the size of the stain. Then, launder it in hot water.

For a tablecloth: Boil some water, and while it’s boiling find a large glass bowl. Place that in the sink and stretch the stained tablecloth over the bowl, securing it with a rubber band. Keep the cloth tightly stretched. Pour the boiling water over the cloth. If you can, pour it from a height of about 10 to 12 inches as this seems to work best…being careful not to splash the boiling water.