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10 Easy Ways to Remove Red Wine Stains, According to Winery Experts

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People who work with wine certainly know a thing or two about cleaning up red wine stains, which are notoriously some of the peskiest stains to get out. While there are a few standard solutions out there (hello, white wine!), we wanted to see if there were also some surprises.

Of the managers we asked, all of them unanimously said Wine Away was their go-to for red wine stains. The popular cleaner can be used on a variety of surfaces, including clothing, upholstery, and carpet.

Saturate the stain with the product, and let it sit for several minutes. Then blot the stain, not rub, until it disappears. It works on fresh, wet wine stains, as well as ones you discover long after the party has ended.

2. Or check out Folex and other brands.

The pros had other products to recommend that work almost as well as Wine Away. Carrie Bonnie, hospitality manager at Youngberg Hill Vineyards in Oregon, praises Folex, a carpet spot remover she says is “amazing.”

Trusty Tide To Go is another good solution because it’s a handy, portable answer when disaster strikes. Tasting managers prefer Wine Away and more heavy-duty cleaners to the pen, but if you’re out on the town and spill a little red wine on your favorite white shirt, a Tide pen might just save the evening.

Remember, though, that Tide pens work best on fresh stains. So keep one tucked in your purse, pocket, or glove compartment.

4. Pour white wine … fast!

It’s not a myth that white wine can “cancel out” red wine. Bonnie explains, “If you’re with a white wine drinker, try using a splash or so and apply that to help block the red wine stain.”

White wine dissolves the compound that gives red wine its color. However, this trick only works if you do it immediately.

5. Grab a seltzer or soda water.

If you’re at a bar, you can usually get your hands on seltzer or soda water. “If in a pinch, use seltzer water, it works as well,” says Lori Reed, tasting room manager from Bread & Butter Wines, located on the Silverado Trail in Napa.

6.Search the pantry for white vinegar.

“If Wine Away isn’t available, you can always use white vinegar,” says Bonnie. (We get it, Wine Away is the one.)

But if you can’t get to the store, use vinegar as a solution. First blot as much of the wine as you can, then soak the stain in vinegar before you wash it out with cold water. 

7. Reach for hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide will work, but of course, be wary of throwing the abrasive stuff on your favorite pieces of clothing. Tasting managers recommend this treatment for starch white tablecloths, not delicate prints.

Usually a soak plus blotting will be most successful. A note of caution: After treating, be careful not to put anything that’s still stained in the dryer or it will be reddish pink forever. 

8. Suds up blue (and only blue) dish soap.

Know what else works? Bonnie says dish soap can do the trick on certain fabrics, but it has to be very specific. “Blue (and only blue) Dawn dish soap, when all else fails,” she says.

9. Use boiling hot water.

A good old-fashioned DIY method for removing stains is boiling hot water along with some serious patience. “Boil a kettle of steaming, hot water and run that directly and slowly over stains!” says Bonnie emphatically. 

10. Treat with salt and/or baking soda.

Another low-tech option is salt and baking soda. As always, blot as much wine before starting, then sprinkle salt or baking soda over the affected area. Wait three minutes and run cold water through it. If the stain remains, try it again.

As with any stain, be sure that you won’t cause more damage to the fabric. If something is dry-clean-only, it should not be flushed with water, but taken to a professional cleaner.

How do you get rid of red wine stains? Tell us your strategies in the comments below.

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