So, it happened. You spilled red wine. It probably happened in slow motion, you tried to stop it but you just couldn’t. It was tragic, we know. We’ve been there, trust us. Although it is the most delicious drink out there, wine is a well-known difficult stain to remove. So the choices you make after your spill will make or break the stain. We've all heard someone yelling for the club soda, but does that really work?
In our opinion, the only thing worse than red wine teeth is a red wine stain, especially on a white shirt. Yikes. So, because we’ve all been there and we will also all be there again someday, we decided it was worth our time to put something together for everyone to become an expert wine stain remover. Here are some helpful DIY tips for red wine stain removal.
First Things First
Why the heck are red wine stains so gnarly? Well, fabrics are highly porous (aka, they have a lot of holes) When liquid makes its way into fibers, they become immersed with the fabric and its pores. Plus, unlike our other favorite beverages, red wine’s coloring is completely natural. In fact, red wine contains 'chromogens,’ also known as the main ingredient in dyes that are plant-derived. Yup, read that again. Red wine has the same ingredient as many common DYES. AKA, red wine is a giant bottle of hair coloring your super blonde friend used once and ten years later, her hair is still purple. (Did that happen to anyone else or just us….?) So, that is a tough pill to swallow alone but then combine this with red wine’s tannins (aka an organic substance used in ink production) and you’re pretty much...for lack of better words, screwed.
WELL, that is if you don't take care of the spill or potential stain right away or avoid the spill altogether. The easiest way to avoid red wine stains is by sticking to white wines, like Bev. (Also, because we’re the authors of this blog, we’re going to take creative liberty and also share that Rose doesn’t stain as badly as red wines and we have red wine you can sip on to steer clear of stains) But since you’re stubborn and still want to know what to do in case the fateful day should happen (again), we’ll go ahead and help you out. That’s what good friends and wine do, help each other!
First things first: tap into your inner Veronica Mars. Where the fateful accident occurred will determine your plan of approach. Is it on the carpet, couch, shirt, or tablecloth? Take into consideration all of the factors, assess the damage the same way Veronica Mars would look at a crime scene.
5 Ways to Remove Red Wine Stains
The first difficult decision you’ll have to make is: should you attack the stain now or later. Do you have guests over? Or did you spill during an incredibly dramatic episode of “The Bachelor”? If you have guests and you’re not ready for the party to stop, blot the stained area with a paper towel, sprinkle it with table salt, grab yourself a can of Bev, and return to your guests. In our unbiased opinions, you should have been drinking Bev all along, but here we are. Salt absorbs some of the wet stain from the wine away. Why? Well mainly, because science is cool like that. But also, the grains of salt absorb wine, allowing the color to go into the salt. Then the salt acts as a cleaner by mildly scrubbing the fabric to get out any remaining stain. The best part is at the end of it all, clean up is easy with a vacuum.
Baking soda- Shake, apply a small amount of water, soak, and wash
If you want to attack the red wine stain as soon as possible, guests or not, use a clean cloth for dabbing up the red wine. Then gracefully pour a small amount of the cold water from the glass you swore you were going to drink after every glass of wine. Make sure you don’t add too much, just enough to dilute the red wine as you continue to blot.
When you have blotted up the maximum amount, and your forearm starts to cramp, mix a paste with a three-to-one ratio of baking soda to water. Apply the paste directly to the carpet stain, let it dry completely, and vacuum up the paste. Voila! (note: if a stain remains, use a carpet stain remover)
If you don’t have a penchant for cleaning a la Monica Geller style and, therefore, you don’t notice everything as soon as it happens, you might not see a red wine spill until the next day. And let’s be honest, the spiller probably didn’t want to confess to his or her crime. If this happens to you and the red wine is dry, unfortunately, the cleanup will take a little more elbow grease.
In this case, saturate the stain with hot water or boiling water, pre-treat the affected area with spot remover or carpet stain remover, and then use Oxiclean or an oxygen-based cleaning product on the stain for two to ten hours, depending on how gnarly the stain is.
Dishwashing detergent and Water
A stubborn stain on a couch or upholstery is attacked a little differently than your carpet. However, it starts with the same blotting method. When you have blotted up as much as you can, mix one tablespoon of dishwasher detergent with two cups of water and sponge the stain with the solution. Follow this by blotting with a more absorbent cloth and keep going until it is blotted dry.
If this is something that you find happens regularly, you should really just be drinking Bev but you can also invest in either sippy cups or products like Scotchguard that repel liquid absorption. Your choice!
We’re going to level with you: it doesn’t matter how formal we are pretending to be; we can’t get through a meal without some evidence of it on our clothing. For us, red wine is an avoid while on a first date, along with topics like their ex from high school, we found and already stalked. The second date is a whole different beast, of course. But we digress.
Hydrogen peroxide and Dish Soap- Mix, soak, dabble
If you happen to spill a little red wine on yourself, the first thing to do is not panic. Dab as much as you can out, adding water if necessary. If you do this in the women’s restroom, you undoubtedly will be entertained by fellow patrons sharing how they’ve also been there.
When you return home and can safely remove the item of clothing, mix three parts of hydrogen peroxide and one part dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle and apply it to the stain. Let it sit and do its Harry Potter-like magic for twenty minutes to an hour. Upon returning, blot it clean with a white cloth and then throw it into the washing machine(hopefully you spilled on something washable) with some liquid detergent to remove entirely.
Hairspray- Spray, set, wash on high heat
Another method of getting red wine out of your clothing is with hairspray. Yes, go ahead and read that again. But this method is best used while for a clean home, if possible, because your clothing needs to immediately go into the washing machine with some laundry detergent. To remove the stain using hairspray, spray the stain liberally with hair spray, leave for a few minutes to do its magic then pop into a washing machine to launder.
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