Remove Red Wine Stains from Clothing

Spilled Red Wine
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Red wine stains are notoriously difficult to remove despite how commonly they happen. The red wine soaks into fibers and begins to set almost right away.  Surprisingly, salt may be your best weapon to prevent stains from becoming permanent.

Steps to Remove Red Wine Stains

  1. Treat the stain right away.

    If at all possible, try to get to and treat a red wine stain immediately. The older a stain is, the more difficult it is to remove. The first step is to flush the stain with cold water. Your best bet will be to pour cold water through the back of the stain, but even putting it through the front of the stain is better than not at all. Never use hot water, which can set this dye-based stain. If you are in a public place, but you want to make sure to save your clothing, you can try dabbing and blotting at the stain with cold water and white napkins. If you are at home, remove the clothing and rinse with cold water from the back of the stain.

  1. Grab a salt shaker.

    Blot the stained area with a clean cloth, trying to soak up any remaining red wine. Sprinkle salt onto the stained fabric and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cold water while rubbing the stained area between your fingers. Repeat steps 1-2 until no more stain remains.The salt works as a cleaner to absorb the stain residue and can also mildly scrub the fabric to loosen any remaining stain.

  2. Treat with liquid laundry detergent.

    Rub liquid laundry detergent onto the red wine stain and rub it in. If you don't have liquid laundry detergent, liquid dish soap is a good substitute. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with cold water. If you like, you can apply a stain remover before washing the fabric according to the manufacturer's instructions for your clothing. Before placing the item in the dryer, double check to make sure the stain is really gone.  Hold the fabric up to a light to try to detect any hint or ring around the stained area.  To be extra careful, allow the clothing to air dry and check again.  If after air drying there is no hint of stain, the clothing is safe to be dried normally.

    Supplies to Treat Red Wine Stains

    • Clean white cloths or napkins in an emergency setting
    • Salt
    • Liquid laundry detergent or dish soap
    • Stain remover 

    How To Remove Old Red Wine Stains

    If there was a red wine stain you didn't get to in time or didn't know about, you may have some old red wine stains to treat.  Old red wine stains need a good long soak in cold water to have a chance at removing them.

     Start by rubbing liquid laundry detergent or dish soap on the stained area.  Next, put the clothing in a bowl or bucket of cold water to soak for 30 minutes.  Apply a stain remover and wash the piece of clothing on a normal cycle. Repeat these steps until the stain is gone, or no difference is being made.  For really tough stains on white clothing, you can use a bleaching agent. For colored clothing, a non-chlorine oxygen bleach might be helpful, too.