How to (Really) Remove Red Wine Stains

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removing tough wine stainsThe dreaded red wine stain. It’s an unfortunately inevitable occurrence for any avid wine drinker. However, there’s no need to let a splash of vino ruin your favorite shirt or that plush white carpet. Armed with this guide and the proper tools, there’s no stain too tough for you to tackle.

Here are some tips for removing stains by using household products to make sure you are enjoying your wine, not wearing it.

Wine Stain Do’s:

Act Fast: The quicker you act, the easier everything else will be.

Blot, Blot, Blot. The first thing you want to do (after you’ve yelled at the person who spilled or cursed your own clumsiness) is to remove any excess liquid. Take a paper towel or cloth towel and blot away the excess wine.

Wine Stain Do Not’s:

Let It Set: Stain removal becomes considerably more difficult if the wine hardens and dries. Keep it wet.

Scrub: Don’t try to scrub the stain at any point (remember, blot!)

Use Heat: Heat will set the stain permanently!

Recommended Products for Wine Stain Removal

Wine Away

Wine Away is like watching magic happen. Seriously.

I’ve seen a customer spill an entire glass of wine on a white shirt and watched the stain vanish right before my eyes after the Wine Away had been added.

Directions state to absorb any excess liquid, pour Wine Away on the stain, let sit for 1-5 minutes, blot with a damp rag, and launder (if possible).

It is perhaps the most well-known industry-specific stain remover and it regularly ranks as one of the best on the market. At less than $10 for a 12 oz bottle, it is reasonably priced and it is a very useful product to have in your home or at any wine business.

Bonus: it’s made from fruit and vegetable extracts, has a fresh citrus scent and contains no bleach.


OxiClean Max Force Stain Remover Spray, 12 Ounce (Pack of 2) is comprised of washing soda and sodium percarbonate. It is used to remove stains and many folks swear by OxiClean as being the optimal choice for dealing with wine spills.

Spray OxiClean on the red wine stain and let sit on clothes for 5-10 minutes or on carpets for 1-5 minutes, then blot with dry cloth. Wash garments per normal instructions afterward.


Folex is a water based non-ionic surfactant. It is an emulsifying agent that reduces surface tension, so it breaks up the stain so that it can be removed by blotting with a dry cloth.

Safely removes tough spots and stains from colorfast carpet, rugs, upholstery, and clothing is beyond the ability of most cleaning chemicals. This stuff is the real deal and has an excellent reputation for removing any/every type of stain.

Red Wine Stain Removal (w/ Products You Already Own)

Hydrogen Peroxide & Soap

Mix equal parts dish washing soap with hydrogen peroxide. Pour on the wine stain and let it soak. Once the soap solution has soaked in, gently blot with a clean towel.

Add Salt Water or Table Salt

Pour over the stain and let it sit for 4-5 minutes. The salt should soak up the wine and the stain should fade. Rinse with cold water and blot.

Add Club Soda

Similar process to #2 and #3 above, just a different liquid option to add.

Add White Wine (AKA the “Keeping It Classy” Approach)

White wine can actually neutralize the red wine. If you don’t have any cleaning supplies on-hand, you can use white wine to prevent the stain from setting.

There are also a range of products available to purchase that are specifically intended for stain removal.

An Ounce of Prevention…

You know how the saying goes…prevent wine stains before they happen!

Do Not Stand Next To The Lush: See someone who has clearly had a few drinks? That’s probably the person most likely to be the culprit of a wine accident. It’s best to keep your distance on this one.

Know Your Own Limits: Feeling a little tipsy yourself? We’ve all been there. Recognize when you’re approaching your limit and be mindful of your surroundings. Put that wine glass down before you tell a story!

Be Prepared: Ladies, you know the drill (gentleman, find a lady with a purse). Wine Away has a travel sized Wine Emergency Kit and a small 2oz travel sized spray that will come in handy anytime you’re out on the go.

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