Understanding how to get red wine out of clothes is no easy task. But when wine is involved, spills happen, no matter how careful you are.
Imagine you are having a lovely candlelit dinner date with your significant other. You two are sipping wine, having fun, talking about how you can finally relax after a busy week. Then bam! You spill wine all over your favorite shirt.
It’s upsetting, I know. But don’t throw your beautiful clothes in the rag bag just yet. There are so many easy and effective methods to get rid of that ugly stain. Give this post a read and try them out!
Why Are Red Wine Stains So Stubborn?
Red wine stains contain a pigment called Anthocyanin (1). Anthocyanin is derived from grape skins, giving the wine its deep red color. Wine also has a lot of tannins, and they make the pigment stick to the fabric quickly.
Additionally, red wine is, well, a liquid. So when it comes into contact with fabric, especially cotton, it gets absorbed into the pores of your garment. The natural dye in wine will also make its way deep in the fibers, staining your clothes and making them look messy.
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A Step-By-Step Tutorial On Pretreating Fresh Red Wine Stains
Before washing or using other products on the stain, you must first pretreat it. The trick here is to be as quick as possible. If you let it sit for too long, the fabric will soak up all the liquid, and the stain will become much harder to get rid of.
Step 1: Blot It
The moment you spill red wine on your clothes, immediately grab some paper towels and blot the stain. Try to lift as much red wine as you can. Avoid rubbing since that will only make the wine spread outward even more.
Step 2: Pour Salt On It
Once you’ve removed the excess wine, dab it with a bit of cold water and sprinkle some salt on the stained area and let it sit for 5 minutes or more. If the stain is too stubborn, you might need to leave it for a few hours or overnight.
Alternatively, you can replace salt with other types of dry powder such as baking soda, baby powder, soap powder, or even cat litter.
Step 3: Vacuum It
Use your vacuum to suck up all the salt on your clothes with it. Avoid using the brush attachment since you might push the red wine down into the fabric. Alternatively, just give it a rinse under cold running water to wash away the salt.
Keep in mind that the salt can’t fully eliminate the stain. It can only soak up the wine residue and fade the stain.
If you already notice a 80% reduction in stain visibility after these steps, just wash them as usual (or maybe soak them in some water and vinegar first), and you’re good to go! However, if it remains, checks out the methods below for more suggestions:
9 Easy Methods To Get Rid Of Red Wine Stains
In this section, I shall present 9 simple ways to handle red wine stains. So based on what you already have at home, pick the method you like the most and try it for yourself.
1. Boiling Water
This method is perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective way to treat red wine. However, this is not suitable to treat delicate materials like silk or wool. Read the label on your clothes carefully before trying this.
Step 1: Pour Boiling Water On It
First, put some water into a kettle and bring it to a boil. While you wait, take a large bowl and position the stained area in its center. Additionally, wrap a rubber band around the bowl to hold the clothes in place.
Then slowly pour the boiling water on the wine stain. I recommend pouring the water about 8 inches above the clothes, the height will help push the stain through the fabric. Be careful not to scald yourself.
Step 2: Wash It
When the stain begins to fade, put the clothes in the washing machine along with some enzyme detergent. Then run a cycle. Check the clothes to see if the stain is still visible. If it is, wash it one more time.
Do NOT use the tumble dryer! The heat from the dryer will set the stain and make it permanent. Just hang the clothes to dry them naturally on a drying rack or clothesline.
This method works best on fresh and light stains. If your stain is dried and too stubborn, the methods below will be much more effective:
2. Hydrogen Peroxide And Liquid Dish Soap
This is one of the most effective methods. The combination of hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap can remove all sorts of tricky stains, including dried red wine stains.
Note that hydrogen peroxide is safe on colored clothes, but only if the dye is colorfast. If you are unsure, try testing the product on a small part of your clothes before using it on the whole garment.
Step 1: Mix It
In a bowl, mix some hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap (1:1 ratio). You can add more hydrogen peroxide (3:1 ratio) if you want the mixture to be stronger.
Step 2: Apply It
Place a towel between the layers. Then pour the mixture on the stain and massage it in with your fingers. Use inward motions to avoid spreading the stain to other parts of your clothes. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
If you’re dealing with delicate fabrics, I recommend wetting a cotton ball in the solution and blotting the stained area instead.
Step 3: Soak It
Fill a sink with warm or hot water and submerge your clothes in it. Let it sit for an hour.
Step 4: Wash It
Rinse the clothes with cold water or put them in the washing machine and run a cycle with cold water. You don’t need to add detergent in this step.
When it is done, allow your clothes to air dry. Avoid using the tumble dryer.
Note: Since hydrogen peroxide is designed to treat colored clothes and delicate fabric, it is quite mild. If you want to use something a bit stronger, try ammonia (1-2 drops are recommended)!
Learn how to treat red wine stains with hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap with this!
3. Lemon And Salt
The combination of lemon and salt is another cheap and easy solution for stubborn red wine stains. So grab some lemons from your fridge, and let’s get to work!
Step 1: Wet It
If the stain is already dried, you should wet the fabric with some cold water. Then gently wring out the excess water.
Step 2: Apply Lemon Juice And Salt
Cut 1 lemon and squeeze its juice directly on the stain. As the lemon juice begins to soak, sprinkle some salt on the area and massage it in. If you want to, turn your clothes inside out and do the same with the back of the stain.
Step 3: Rinse It
Give the clothes a rinse under cold running water. Remember to rinse from the backside of a stain to push the excess wine off the fabric. Gently rub the stain with your fingers as you do.
Step 4: Add More Lemon Juice And Dry It
Wring the excess water out of your clothes and lay it flat under the sun. Squeeze more lemon juice on the stain and leave it to dry. The UV rays and acidic lemon juice will help bleach the stain, brighten your clothes and leave a refreshing citrus scent.
4. Vinegar And Liquid Detergent
Another powerful combination to lift stubborn stains is vinegar and liquid enzyme-based laundry detergent. Have a look at the tutorial below to see how:
Step 1: Apply Vinegar
Pour some vinegar directly on the stain to neutralize the pigments from the wine. Remember only to use white distilled vinegar. Apple cider, balsamic or other types of colored vinegar contain tannins that can stain your clothes (2).
Step 2: Apply Detergent
Apply a couple of spoonfuls of liquid laundry detergent to the area and massage it in. The stain should loosen up as you do so. You can also replace detergent with some liquid dish soap.
If the stain is old and dried, you might need to soak the clothes in a sink full of cold water for 30 minutes before washing.
Step 3: Wash It
Wash the clothes with the hottest and safest water setting for your clothes. Afterward, recheck the stained area and let your clothes air dry naturally.
5. Baking Soda And Vinegar
Vinegar makes its appearance again in this method. But this time, you will pair it with some baking soda.
Step 1: Mix It
In a bowl, mix together ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar. If you don’t have vinegar, you can replace it with ¾ cup of water. However, using water is not as effective as vinegar.
Step 2: Apply The Mixture
Cover the stain completely with the baking soda and vinegar solution and let it air dry. Use a clean cloth to blot the stain. Repeat the steps until the stain fades.
Step 3: Wash It
Put your clothes and detergent in the washer and run a cycle. Let your clothes dry naturally to avoid setting the stain.
6. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is well-known for its ability to eliminate stubborn stains. I recommend using pure isopropyl or denatured alcohol for the best results.
Step 1: Blot It
Apply some rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball or a sponge. Carefully blot the stain to lift the wine residue. Then wipe the area dry with a dry cloth.
Step 2: Wash It
Give your clothes a good rinse and wash them the usual way with strong enzyme detergent. Once done, hang the clothes to dry indoors or outdoors. Do not use the tumble dryer.
7. Stain Remover Spray
This is an obvious option to remove tough stains like dried red wine. In fact, many stain remover sprays were designed explicitly for wine stains, for example, Wine Away.
Step 1: Spray It
To prevent the stain from spreading, place a piece of cardboard between the layers of your clothes. Then simply spray the stained area thoroughly with the solution and leave it to rest for 20 minutes.
Rinse the garment and check the stain. If it is still visible, spray more stain remover and repeat.
Step 2: Wash It
When you are happy with the result, put the clothes in the washing machine. Choose the hottest water setting and some enzyme detergent. Air dry your clothes afterward.
If the stain persists after many washes, it is time to do it the hard way! I recommend using non-chlorinated color-safe bleach like sodium percarbonate to avoid ruining the fabric of your clothes. But if you’re treating white garments, feel free to use chlorine bleach.
Step 1: Soak It
Dissolve ¼ to ¾ cup to 4 liters of warm water, depending on the intensity of the stains. Do not apply it directly to the garments. Soak the clothes for at least 1 hour or so.
Step 2: Wash It
Rinse the clothes and wash them in the washing machine. Let the clothes dry naturally without the help of the tumble dryer.
You can also treat the clothes with baking soda and vinegar before using bleach, let’s see how!
It might seem weird but hairspray can be used as an alternative to stain remover spray. The alcohol in hairspray can break down the stain, making it easier to wash the clothes afterward.
Step 1: Spray It
Spray the product directly on the stain and let it for a few minutes. It is more effective to use hairspray with high alcohol content. Blot the stain with a clean cloth and repeat until the stain begins to fade.
Step 2: Wash It
Put your clothes in the washer with some biological detergent. Set the highest water temperature that your clothes can endure and press start.
Getting Red Wine Out Of Clothes: The Fake Rumors
In the last section, you have learned about 9 foolproof tutorials to treat stubborn red wine stains. I can’t guarantee that I have covered all the methods to get rid of wine stains, but I know for sure that the ones mentioned above are practical and effective.
Many other popular hacks are claimed to eliminate stains quickly. However, they are just a waste of time and material. Let’s have a look at a few of them:
1. Using White Wine
I honestly don’t know who started this ridiculous myth, but it’s not true. White wine is not a cleaning agent, and it will not neutralize the red wine’s coloring ingredients. In fact, it may cause your red wine stain to spread out more.
Even though the stain does fade when you pour white wine into it, the same thing will happen when you use hot water. Overall, it is just a waste of wine!
2. Using Shaving Cream
Dousing shaving cream on the stain is another “hack” that people made up. Spoiler alert! It doesn’t work. Plus, if you put it on white clothes, the whole area will turn blue and purple, making the stain more visible than before.
3. Using Club Soda
Similar to white wine, club soda doesn’t make a significant impact on red wine stains. However, you can use it in the pretreatment step as an alternative to cold water.
Also, if you are lucky and apply the club soda as soon as the wine is spilled and let it soak overnight, the stain can also be removed. The methods mentioned above are proven to be more useful, though.
To find out what white wine, shaving cream, and club soda do to your clothes, check this out!
Everything You Should Remember When Treating Red Wine Stains
All the methods require different products and techniques. However, there are some similar reminders you should keep in mind before handling red wine stains to avoid ruining your beautiful clothes.
1. Clean The Stain Right Away
If you can’t pretreat the stain with salt or baking soda right away, you must at least wipe the excess wine off your garment. The longer you let sit, the harder it is to remove the stain afterward.
2. Don’t Scrub Red Wine Stains
If you scrub the stain too hard, you will push the wine further into the fabric and spread it to other areas in your clothes. Just gently massage the stain with your fingers or blot it with a cloth if the method requires you to.
3. Use Enzyme Detergent
Not all detergents have the ability to fight stubborn stains. For the best result, you should pick enzyme-based liquid detergent. It will help break down the stain and eliminate them from your clothes. You can easily check the label on the detergent container to see the ingredient list.
4. Do Not Tumble Dry Your Clothes
Even though using hot water is recommended to treat stains, hot heat is the complete opposite. If stain-covered clothes are left in the tumble dryer, the stain will become permanent.
So, remember to check your clothes after washing to see if the stain is still visible. Do not put it in the dryer if it is not completely gone.
For more information about this topic, look at the frequently asked question below to see if you can find the answers you need.
No More Crying Over Spilled Wine!
By the end of this article, I hope red wine stains no longer pose a significant threat to you and your clothes. With all the tips I provided, you can now get rid of this stain easily in the comfort of your own home.
If you have any more fun facts or useful hacks about treating red wine stains, feel free to comment them below.
And if you like this post, give it a thumbs up and share it with your loved ones. Have a fantastic day and good luck!
- Wikipedia, 2021. Red wine .
- Healthline, 2019. How to Clean Laundry with Vinegar: 8 Earth-Friendly Uses and Benefits.