How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Clothes (We Tested 7 Methods)


Dinners, parties and get-togethers are never complete without a good bottle of red wine. But almost always, someone ends up with a souvenir from the occasion in the form of a wine stain on their much-loved clothing.

While it is a mark of celebration, a wine stain is not something one likes to keep on their favorite dress shirt. So it starts – an endless toil to get that stubborn stain out.

Red wine derives its remarkable staining prowess from a pigment present in the skin of the grapes. This pigment comes under the family of food-coloring chemicals called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins share properties of fabric dyes and are capable of rendering stubborn stains on clothes. Also, clothes made from natural fibers are prone to more stubborn stains than those made from synthetic fibers.

Getting to a wine stain as soon as you can is very important. Fresh wine stains are comparatively easier to remove than older stains. But often it so happens that we discover wine stains on our cherished garments only after a couple of days or weeks.

Keeping this in mind, we have divided the cleaning methods into two groups: methods to clean dry and old wine stains, and methods to clean fresh and wet wine stains. We tested seven methods to remove a red wine stain on a white shirt to see which were the most effective.

red wine stains from clothes

White wine, white vinegar and a cleaning solution made from hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap are quite the champions and can be used to clean either fresh or old wine stains.

When it came to methods just for fresh stains, boiling water was a clear winner, followed closely by club soda. Surprisingly, baking soda and salt didn’t produce a stainless white sparkle on the shirt like they were supposed to.

Baking soda left a yellow-grey stain after the prewash treatment that was reduced to a yellowish stain after a detergent wash. Similarly, the prewash treatment with salt gave a grayish tinge to a faded wine stain, which reduced to a faded spot after a detergent wash.

Here are three methods to get rid of dry red wine stains out of a cloth and seven methods to get fresh red wine out of a cloth.

Dry Stains

Red wine stains that have dried are more difficult to remove, as the dye in the wine has had time to adhere to the fabric. Such stains can only be removed with very few methods. The given methods are prewash treatments.

  • After working on the stain with the given methods, wash the garment normally.
  • Proceed to dry the garment in the dryer only after the stain has been removed to your satisfaction.

Method 1: Use Hydrogen Peroxide & Dish Soap

red wine stains on carpet

Hydrogen peroxide is not only good for disinfecting wounds but also works as an effective bleaching agent. The lone oxygen atom separates from the hydrogen peroxide molecule and oxidizes the pigment that gives red wine its dramatic color. With the chemical nature of the wine’s pigment changed, the stain fades.

Liquid dish soap is one of the best and most versatile household cleaners. Being mild, it can be used on a variety of fabrics. A solution of hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap is your best bet to successfully tackle an old red wine stain on your favorite garment.

When the solution comes in contact with the stain, it starts dissolving and thinning out. Repeated application can diminish and weaken the stain without the need for any scrubbing. The stain can then be taken out in a wash.

Things you’ll need:

use hydrogen peroxide and dish soap for red wine stains on clothes things need

  • Liquid dish soap – 2 teaspoons
  • Hydrogen peroxide – 2 tablespoons
  • Water – 1 cup

Step 1. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle

combine the ingredients in a spray bottle to remove red wine stains on carpet

  • Pour 1 cup of water into a spray bottle.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to it.
  • Add in 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap as well.
  • Put the top on the spray bottle and give it a few shakes to dissolve the soap and mix the ingredients completely.

Step 2. Spray the solution on the stain and let it sit

spray the solution on the stain

  • Stretch the stained area of the cloth over a bowl or basin. This will prevent the stain from spreading to another surface while you’re treating it.
  • Spray the solution on the stain and let it sit for a while.
  • After a few minutes, spray the solution again on the stain and let it sit.
  • Continue with this process until the stain disappears completely.

Step 3. Rinse out the stain

rinse the red wine stain

When the stain has been removed to your satisfaction, place the cloth under running water to rinse away the solution along with any remaining stain residue before putting it in the wash.

Note: The solution has bleaching properties. So first test it over an inconspicuous spot on the garment, especially if treating wine stains on a colored garment, to ensure its colorfastness.

red wine stains on carpet

Method 2: Use White Wine

white wine for red wine stains

One of the more popular ways to banish red wine stains is to treat the area with white wine. White wine is said to neutralize the red wine stain, eventually erasing it. The components in white wine actually dissolve the anthocyanins, the chemical group in the skin of the grapes that gives red wine its rich color, thus eventually fading the wine stain.

Single-Step Treatment: Soak the stain with white wine

soak the red wine stain with white wine

  • Stretch the stained area of the cloth over a bowl or basin. This will prevent the stain from spreading to another surface while you’re removing it from the garment.
  • Pour some white wine on the stain and let it sit for a while.
  • Repeat the process a couple of times or more to treat the stain before you throw the garment into the wash.

red wine stains

Method 3: Use White Vinegar

remove red wine stains

White vinegar is one of those simple household items that always come in handy in a pinch. This is one of the most readily available stain removers in most households. If you’ve only just discovered the wine stain from the last week’s party, grab a bottle of white vinegar.

Single-Step Treatment: Soak the stain with white vinegar

soak red wine stain with white vinegar

  • Stretch the stained area of the cloth over a bowl or basin. This will prevent the stain from spreading to another surface while you’re treating it.
  • Pour white vinegar on the stained spot, soaking the stain completely.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the vinegar to loosen up the stain.
  • Repeat this process several times to treat the wine stain completely before putting the garment into the wash.

remove red wine stains with white vinegar

Wet Stains

Red wine stains are comparatively easier to deal with when fresh and still wet. The faster you work on the stains, the more easily they’ll come out.

  • The seven methods that we’re using here are prewash treatments.
  • Blot up as much of the stain as you can before using one of these methods.
  • You don’t need to position the freshly stained cloth over a bowl like you did with the dry stains as no soaking is required for fresh stains.
  • After treating the stain sufficiently, throw it in the normal wash cycle.
  • Proceed to dry only when the stain has been removed to your satisfaction.

Method 1: Use Hydrogen Peroxide & Dish Soap

remove red wine stains

Refer to Method 1 for dry stains to get the instructions for making a solution of hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap. The solution effectively dissolves the stain, which then can be blotted away.

Things you’ll need:

red wine stains on clothes

  • Hydrogen peroxide and dish soap solution

Step 1. Blot the stain

blot the red wine stains

  • Blot up as much of the wet stain as you can with paper towels. Replace a soiled paper towel with a fresh one as needed.
  • Continue until all the liquid from the stain is absorbed onto the paper towels.

Step 2. Dissolve the stain with hydrogen peroxide & dish soap

dissolve the red wine stain

  • Spray the hydrogen peroxide and dish soap solution on the stain and let it sit for a while. The stain will start dissolving.
  • Blot with paper towel to lift the dissolved stain.
  • Continue the process until the stain disappears.

red wine clothes with hydrogen peroxide and dish soap

Method 2: Use White Wine

red wine stains on clothes

Step 1. Blot the stain with paper towels

blot the stains with paper towels

  • Blot up as much of the wet stain as you can with paper towels. Replace a soiled paper towel with a fresh one as needed.
  • Continue until all the liquid from the stain is absorbed onto the paper towels.

Step 2. Neutralize the stain with white wine

neutralize the stain with white wine

  • Pour white wine on the red wine stain and let it sit for some time.
  • Keep repeating this process until the red wine stain is completely neutralized.

remove red wine stain

Method 3: Use White Vinegar

remove red wine stains

Step 1. Blot the stain

blot the red wine stain

Blot the stain with paper towels until all the liquid is absorbed onto the paper towels. Replace soiled paper towels with fresh ones as needed.

Step 2. Treat the stain with white vinegar

use white vinegar to treat red wine stain

  • Pour white vinegar on the red wine stain and let it sit for some time.
  • Continue with this process until the red wine stain is completely neutralized.

remove red wine stain

Method 4: Use Boiling Hot Water

remove red wine stain

Boiling hot water is a very easy and effective method if the stain is quite fresh. Fresh stains can be literally washed completely away with this method.

However, this method is more effective on sturdy fabrics like tablecloths and towels. Take the water temperature down a few notches when dealing with a fabric that’s more delicate.

Step 1. Blot the stain

blot the red wine stain

Blot the stain with paper towels until all the liquid is absorbed onto the paper towels. Replace soiled paper towels with fresh ones as needed.

Step 2. Pour boiling hot water on the stain

pour boiling hot water over red wine stain

  • Stretch the stained area of the cloth over a bowl or basin to prevent the stain from bleeding onto another surface.
  • Pour boiling hot water over the wine stain in a steady stream. You’ll notice that the stain immediately starts washing away.

remove red wine stain

Method 5: Use Club Soda

club soda to remove red wine stain from cloth

A lot of people hail club soda as an impromptu savior when it comes to wine stains. Also, club soda is easier to get your hands on at party than baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. It can also help prevent the stain from drying and setting into the fabric.

Step 1. Blot the stain

blot the red wine stain

Blot the stain with paper towels to remove the liquid wine from the fabric. This will minimize the stain and prevent it from spreading.

Step 2. Weaken the stain with club soda

use club soda on red wine stain

  • Pour club soda on the stain and let it sit a while.
  • Keep pouring club soda over the wine stain at regular intervals to weaken the stain.

remove red wine stain

Method 6: Use Salt

salt to remove red wine stain

Salt is your first line of defense when it comes to removing a wine stain from any sort of fabric. Covering a fresh spill with a heap of salt soaks up the wine and weakens the stain as well.

Step 1. Blot the stain

blot the red wine stain

  • Blot up as much of the liquid from the stain as possible with paper towels. Replace a soiled paper towel with a fresh one as needed.
  • Continue until all the liquid from the stain is absorbed onto the paper towels.

Step 2. Cover the stain with salt

cover the red wine stain with salt

  • Pour salt over the stain, covering the entire stain area with a thick layer.
  • Leave the salt on the stain undisturbed for about 1 hour.

Step 3. Remove the salt

remove the salt from red wine stain

  • Gently brush the salt off the stain with a paper towel. Remember not to scrub at the stain.
  • There might be a grey tinge to the wine stain that’s not completely faded. Throw the garment into the wash to get the rest of the stain out.

remove salt

Method 7: Use Baking Soda

remove red wine stain with baking soda

Baking soda also helps soak up wine from fabric, preventing the stain from spreading any further. It weakens the stain and deodorizes the cloth as well.

Step 1. Blot the stain

blot the red wine stain

Blot the stain with paper towels until all the liquid is absorbed onto the paper towels. Replace soiled paper towels with fresh ones as needed.

Step 2. Cover the stain with baking soda

cover the red wine stain with baking soda

Cover the entire stain with a thick layer of baking soda and leave it for 1 hour or so.

Step 3. Remove the baking soda

remove baking soda from red wine stain

  • Brush off the baking soda with a paper towel and avoid scrubbing while doing it. You might notice a grey-green tinge over the faded wine stain.
  • Put the garment in the wash to get the rest of the stain out.

red wine stains

Tips

  • Any method should first be tested over an inconspicuous area of the fabric or any other garment of similar fabric to check the colorfastness before using it to remove the wine stain.
  • You can follow the club soda method with the salt method to get better results.
  • You can also follow the salt method with the boiling water method for good results.
  • If you’re at a party and can’t tend to the wine stain on your garment while it’s fresh, don’t let it dry. Keep it wet using club soda or just plain water.
  • Red wine stain removal will be more difficult in natural fabrics than in the synthetic ones. Natural fabrics should be attended to as soon as possible.
  • Avoid hot laundering for wine-stained garments and check the stained area after washing the garments. Proceed to dry the garments only if you’re satisfied with the stain removal. The heat of the dryer acts as a sealant to the dye present in the wine, making the remaining stain permanent.

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