How to Remove Beer and Wine Stains From Carpeting

Red wine spilled on carpet

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More than one homeowner has surveyed the living room or family room on the morning after a social gathering or family event to discover spots where guests have sloshed beer or wine into the carpet. Wine is often the more difficult stain, but both beer and wine are easier to remove when they are still wet. Once beer and wine have dried, however, removal becomes more complicated. But rest assured that both beer and wine stains can be removed with the right cleaning products and techniques.

Removing Beer Stains from Carpeting

If you happen to spot the beer spill when it is still wet, immediately blot up the liquid using a white cloth or paper towels, and take pains to get up as much of the liquid as you can. You may even find it possible to remove virtually all of the beer before it can set into the carpet fibers. But with either wet beer or dried beers stains, follow these steps:

  1. Once you've blotted up as much as possible, mix a solution of 1/3 cup white vinegar and 2/3 plain water. Pour the vinegar/water solution into a clean spray bottle.
  2. Spray the solution onto the stained area once or twice, then blot up the solution using paper towels or a white cloth.
  3. Repeat the process until all the solution has been used up and all moisture has been blotted up.
  4. Next, take one cup of warm water and mix a few drops of plain, unscented, dish-washing detergent into it. Mix this thoroughly, and then dribble a small amount onto the stained area. Using a clean white rag, dab at the moistened area until dry, then repeat. Continue to do this until all of the detergent solution has been used up.
  5. When the detergent solution has been completely blotted up, apply a small amount of warm, plain tap water to the area and then dab it dry.
  6. If the smell of beer is still present, you can sprinkle a little bit of carpet freshening powder over the area. Then place a fan over the wet part of the rug in order to rapid dry it. Once it is completely dry and free of cleansing agents, use a vacuum to remove any excess detergent or carpet powder.

    Removing Wine Stains From Carpeting

    The darker the wine and the lighter the color of the carpet, the more difficult it will be to get a stain out. As always, the first step is to treat the stain as quickly as possible. Immediately dab up the wine spill using a white cloth, white paper towels or any absorbent material that is on hand. The quicker you wipe up the spill, the less chance it will soak down and stain the fibers of the carpet permanently.

    Actually removing a set-in wine stain from a carpet will require a three-part process:

    1. Add six ounces of clean water with three ounces of vinegar and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle.
    2. Apply a few spurts of the mixture to the stained area. Let it sit for a few moments, then dab it up using a white cloth or paper towel.
    3. Continue to spray and dab the stain until you no longer see color coming up from the carpet onto your cloth. In some cases, it may be necessary to mix up a second batch of vinegar solution.
    4. Take a cup of water and warm it in the microwave for about thirty seconds. Then mix in five drops of an unscented dishwashing detergent and stir it thoroughly until the color of the solution becomes uniform.
    5. Take the detergent solution and either dribble or spray it over the stain on the carpet.
    6. Use a rag or sponge to work the solution gently into the carpet. The goal is to loosen the staining agent without spreading the stain to surrounding fibers.
    7. Blot up any excess moisture with a dry cloth or paper towel and repeat the process. Continue until the entire detergent solution has been used on the stain.
    1. Rinse the carpet out thoroughly with warm clean water by dribbling clean water onto the area and blotting it with a cloth or paper towel until dry. Repeat this process several times until you are certain that all of the vinegar and detergent is gone. You can smell the affected area in order to determine when it is clean.
    2. Once the area is free of cleaning agents, dry the area with a fan. This will rapid-dry the carpet, preventing dee stains from rising to the surface.

    Extreme Red Wine Stain Removal

    You can repeat the steps above as many times as you want, but in some cases, red wine stains will be particularly difficult to remove from a carpet. In those cases, you may want to try using 3% hydrogen peroxide solution on the affected area.

    Apply the peroxide to a cloth or towel and dab it gently onto the area. Allow it to sit on the carpet for 1 to 2 hours. Use a clean water rinse to remove the peroxide from the carpet, then rapid-dry it with a fan.

    When using hydrogen peroxide you have to be careful, as in some cases it can bleach the color from a carpet. To test, begin by applying a very small amount and let it settle to see how it reacts with the stain and the color in the carpet's fibers.

    Commercial Cleaners for Both Beer and Wine

    Although most stains can be removed with the methods described above, if stains remain after the more natural methods, you can reach for one of two types of commercial carpet spot removers: so-called "oxygen" cleaners, and enzyme-based cleaners.


    OxyClean is the most well-known of a group of cleaners based on hydrogen peroxide. In addition, this product contains sodium percarbonate as an active ingredient. Like pure hydrogen peroxide, OxyClean works by essentially "bleaching" the wine or beer stains so they no longer have any color. Be careful to test carpet fibers for color-fastness before using this product.

    Enzyme-Based Cleaners

    Another popular class of modern cleaners are those that work by means of enzymes that dissolve organic material, especially proteins. Products specifically made for cleaning alcoholic beverage stains include Wine Off and Wine Away. Wine Away uses methylcyclohexane, an organic solvent, as its active ingredient. Wine Off describes its active ingredients as "friendly bacteria and enzymes," but all products in this class of cleaner work in the same way—by breaking down organic material. They are often touted as the best way to eliminate pet urine stains, but will also work on other organic stains. 

    Propylene Glycol Methyl Ether Cleaners

    The active ingredient is a mouthful, but this is the class of cleaners represented by Resolve and similar products. These products are true liquid solvents that chemically bond with the staining agent in the carpet. The solvent must then be blotted up to remove it from the carpet. These are unpleasant-smelling products that use harsh chemicals, and for some homeowners, they will be a last resort.