Removing Red Wine Stains on Carpet

Red wine spilled from a glass onto a carpet

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It happens. You have guests over for dinner or host a small party, and—oops!—someone spills red wine on your carpet. Red wine stains on clothing can be tricky to get out, but red wine stains on carpet are much worse to deal with. To fully remove these tough stains, you'll need to make a baking soda paste. If your party is still in full swing, take the time to quietly blot—don't rub—as much of the red wine as you can right away using clean paper towels. Then, when the last guest leaves, tackle the stain using these steps. Don't wait until tomorrow. Time is your enemy where tough stains are concerned.

Illustration depicting how to remove red wine stains
Illustration: Kyle Fewell. © The Spruce, 2019

How to Remove Red Wine Stains From Carpet

  1. Blot the stain immediately. Use a clean white cloth to blot up as much of the red wine as you can right away. Alternate parts of the cloth to always blot using a fresh spot.
  2. Add a little water to the stained area. Pour a small amount of water onto the red wine stain on the carpet and continue blotting. The water dilutes the red wine, which makes it easier blot up. Don't pour too much water at a time and switch out the blotting cloth for a dry one as you work. Continue blotting until no more stain can be removed using this method.
  3. Make a baking soda paste. Mix a paste with a 3 to 1 ratio of baking soda to water. Apply the paste directly to the carpet stain and wait for it to dry completely before vacuuming up the dried paste.
  4. Apply a carpet stain remover. If any stain remains, apply a carpet stain remover according to the manufacturer's instructions. Typically, the process is to wait until it dries and then vacuum.

Tips for Removing the Stain

  • Test any carpet stain removal techniques or new products on a hidden area of your carpet to make sure of the results.
  • If the carpet is white, you can mix one part clear hand dishwashing liquid with two parts hydrogen peroxide in place of using a commercial carpet stain remover. Sponge on, blot off and rinse well. Don't use this method on a colored carpet—or if you do, test it in an inconspicuous area. It could harm the carpet color.
  • If your party is still going strong and you are trying to not make a big deal about the red wine stain on your carpet, you blot with paper towels, sprinkle salt on the stain and return to your guests. The salt will absorb some of the wine that wasn't blotted up, and it can be vacuumed away when the guests leave. Then proceed with the steps above.
  • If you didn't notice the red wine spill until the next day and it has dried, the cleanup becomes more difficult. In this case, saturate the stain with hot water, apply a pre-treatment and then apply any oxi product on the stain for 2 to 10 hours.
  • If everything you try fails to remove the stain, it is time to call in the pros. They can use industrial products to return your carpet to its pre-stain condition.