How to remove red wine stains — and save your carpet

Honestly, it's possible

A spilled glass of red wine on a light colored carpet.
(Image credit: Getty)

We’ve all been there. You’re sat sipping a lovely glass or red wine, you put it on the floor and somehow the glass barrels over and red wine spills everywhere, all over your carpet. The panic sets in. Everyone knows red wine is seriously tough — if not impossible — to remove. You realize you’re never getting your security deposit back now. 

Before you go into full panic mode, just hold up a sec. Yes, it’s true that red wine can be challenging to remove from carpets but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And, as someone who has, in fact, poured most of a bottle of a very nice Merlot all over their living room carpet, I can confidently say that it is possible to remove red wine stains. Just grab your favorite cleaning tools and get ready to go.

Need to know how to remove red wine stains from your carpet? Don’t worry, because I’ve got you covered. 

Good to know

Time: 30-minutes (most of this time is waiting for the baking powder to dry)

Difficulty: Intermediate. Don’t panic, the process is fairly simple. It’s only ranked as intermediate due to the fact that you may need to repeat the process if the stain is still visible. 

Helpful hints: Timing is everything when it comes to removing red wine stains from carpet. You can wait an hour or two but don’t wait until the stain has properly set in, otherwise you will struggle to get it out. So, the sooner you tackle the stain, the better the results should be.  

Here’s what you’ll need

How to remove red wine stains from carpet

Step 1: Blot the stain 

The first step — which needs to be done right away — is to blot the stain. Take a couple of pieces of paper towel and use them to carefully dab at the stain, soaking up as much liquid as possible. Be careful not to rub the stain, as rubbing it will spread the wine further, causing additional damage to your carpet. 

Step 2: Sprinkle salt onto the stain 

This step is optional, but if you want to soak up as much of the wine as possible, it’s worth doing. Sprinkle salt onto the stained area and leave it to soak up as much of the wine as possible. (Don’t worry about vacuuming up the salt right away, you can do this later.) 

Step 3: Add water to the stained area 

This might sound counter-productive but by adding a small amount of water to the stained area, you can help to dilute the stain further. Once you’ve added the water to the stained area, you can then continue to blot it using paper towels. When the towel becomes saturated, switch it out for a clean one and keep blotting the area until you’re unable to soak up any more liquid. 

Step 4: Create a paste of baking soda 

Mix one cup of baking soda (we always recommend Arm & Hammer from Amazon with a third of a cup of water to create a stiff — but workable — baking soda paste. Use a paint brush to apply the paste to the stain and then leave it to dry. Once it’s dried you can then vacuum it up, along with the salt from the first step. 

Step 5: Use carpet cleaner or a carpet cleaning machine 

If any of the stain is still visible, the next step is to apply carpet cleaner like the Carbona one we recommend, which you can buy from Amazon. Or, if you have one or need to invest anyway, then using a carpet cleaning machine on the affected area will help. We recommend this Bissell one from Amazon that recently went viral.


Does red wine permanently stain carpet?

Red wine usually stains the fibers of a carpet which can make lifting the stain difficult. However, if you follow the steps above, you should be able to lift the stain and restore the carpet. 

Can old red wine stains be removed?

Older red wine stains can be more difficult to remove than fresh ones. However, you can try mixing two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part dish soap together and then apply the combination to the stain. Once the solution is applied, let it sit for 20-minutes and then blot the stain and repeat the process until it’s disappeared. 

Will baking soda remove red wine from carpet?

For new stains, a mixture of baking soda and water should help to remove red wine stains from carpet. However, baking soda may not work for older stains. 

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.