5 best ways remove red wine stains

Red wine stains on the carpet, sofa or (ahem) bed clothes? Here's how to remove red wine stains from home furnishings – these tips will get them off clothes, too

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Removing red wine stains swiftly, particularly from carpets, is key to success, but let us dispel a myth right at the beginning of this easy how-to: salt is not the go-to red wine stain remover you might think it is (and that other websites might tell you it is). If anything, it helps set the red wine stain for good. 

So, follow our advice and remove red wine stains with another magic store cupboard stand-by, too. It's a tried and tested method that works brilliantly on carpets. We've got some red wine stain removal advice for upholstery and clothes, too.

Find more cleaning tips, hacks and advice on our dedicated hub page.

1. How to remove red wine stains from carpets

Use kitchen roll to dab and blot the red wine until it's almost dry. Then flush it with carbonated or soda water. Dab and blot again. Flush the stain again with the water, then repeat the drying process. In our experience, that should do it, although sometimes you can finish the job off perfectly with a good quality carpet cleaning product

If the wine stain has fixed, you can still attempt to remove it with the fizzy water method – flush then blot, flush then blot. Failing that, you may need to try a carpet cleaning machine or call in a professional.

Would your whole carpet benefit from a general refresh too? Don't miss our guide to cleaning a carpet.

What not to do: Swap the soda water for white wine – it's as effective at setting a red wine stain as salt is. 

2. How to remove red wine stains from fabric and clothing

Whether from a tablecloth or your favourite shirt, here's how to remove red wine stains. 

Do not sprinkle with white wine or with salt. Instead, blot the stain first, then soak the item in cool water for around 30 minutes. Next, pre-treat the stain with a laundry stain remover and allow to soak in (following the manufacturer's instructions). 

You can swap out the laundry treatment with a mixture of one part three per cent hydrogen peroxide and one part washing up liquid; allow to soak for up to three hours. 

Rinse out the stain in cold water. If it has disappeared you can put it in the washing machine on the hottest wash the fabric will take, using a colour-safe laundry bleach if the fabric will take it. 

Always follow the care instructions on the label so that you don't damage your item further, and do a patch test with any cleaning product or recipe to ensure the fabric can take it.

What not to do: Dry – and especially tumble dry – the fabric if the stain hasn't come out. Once it's dry it's more likely to set.

3. How to remove red wine stains from upholstery

Start by blotting up as much of the red wine as possible from the sofa/armchair/cushions to prevent the stain spreading further. 

Once the stain is as dry as possible with blotting, use the methods described above for both carpets and clothing, ensuring that you a) have patch tested the fabric first to avoid further damage and b) don't over-soak the upholstery. 

Repeat the steps as necessary then use plain cold water (if you've used anything other than soda water) to remove any remaining cleaning products from the upholstery. Blot dry. 

What not to do: Put removable covers straight on a hot wash. This will set the wine stain. 

4. How to remove red wine stains from walls and wallpaper

The important thing about removing red wine stains from walls and wallpaper is to ensure you don't over-soak them or scrub hard at them: both will cause further damage. 

Instead, dab, using a (ideally) natural sponge that's lightly dampened with a solution of warm water and a dash of washing up liquid. Allow to dry and repeat. Give the wall a final gentle dab with a clean sponge and clean cold water. Allow to dry.

What not to do: Try the above before you've done a patch test on an area of wall usually hidden behind a piece of furniture. 

5. How to remove red wine stains from decanters or glasses

Got glassware you don't like to put in the dishwasher? Getting red wine deposits out is simple: just fill the decanter or glasses with soapy water or distilled white vinegar, add a few grains of uncooked rice and swirl the glassware about. The deposits will be removed by this action and you can then wash it as usual.

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