How to remove red wine stains from carpet, clothes and more

Spilled wine
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The worst thing imaginable has happened — you’ve spilled red wine on your carpet. Don’t panic! These are tricky stains to remove, but it’s doable and just requires a couple of household products. In this article we will talk you through the best methods for removing red wine stains from the carpet, clothes and the couch. 

If you can't find your corkscrew to open wine bottles, try one of these 7 hacks to remove a cork without a corkscrew. And if your carpets are looking worse for wear, here's how to clean carpets with or without a carpet cleaner. Or you can always rent or buy a carpet cleaner if all else fails too. 

First thing’s first, act quickly; don’t leave cleaning this stain until tomorrow. Once it sets, it’s much harder to remove. For this reason, you also shouldn’t apply heat to the stain as this can dry and set it. You should also remove as much excess wine as you can before you start to clean it. Do this by blotting the stain as much out as possible with a dry white towel or cloth, but don’t scrub as this can spread it further. Make sure you blot with a fresh, dry section of the cloth or towel each time, so it’s as effective as possible.   

What you will need

Dry white cloths or paper towels

Water/soda water

Table salt

Wine Away (optional)

Pre-wash treatment (optional) 

Wine Away ($16.98 on Amazon) is a well known, effective cleaner for this exact job, so if you’re often facing this problem it’s worth buying a bottle. If you already have a bottle in the cupboard, simply follow the instructions, but if you don’t have this to hand, there are a couple of household products you can use too. However, the best methods differ slightly depending on where your spill is:

How to remove red wine stains from the carpet and couch 

1. Once you’ve finished dabbing out the immediate excess of the stain, you will need to spritz some cool water or club soda onto the wine stain to keep it damp. Don’t saturate the stain with water though as this can damage carpets and upholstery. If the spill happened on a seat cushion, remove the case if possible so it’s easier for you to clean. 

2. Continue blotting the stain to pick up as much of it as possible. Remember to change your cloth/towel regularly and blot with a clean section.

3. Cover the stain completely with salt and leave it for 2-3 minutes to dry and absorb the stain. Once time is up, vacuum up the salt and check the results. You can repeat this process of spritzing with water, blotting and applying fresh salt if necessary. 

4. If you’re not having any luck, unfortunately it’s time to call in a professional. However, if you’ve managed to remove the stain, make sure you thoroughly dry the carpet or upholstery. You can weigh down some paper towels on the carpet overnight to help with this. Ventilating the room by opening windows also helps with drying. 

Blotting wine stain

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

How to remove red wine stains from clothes 

1. Don’t let the stain dry and soak the stain with cool water or soda water. Some claim the bubbles from soda water help lift the stain out. Then blot out the excess liquid so it isn’t saturated. If your item is dry clean only, remove as much of the stain as you can by blotting and then take it to the dry cleaners right away.  

2. Cover the stain entirely with salt and wait for 2-3 minutes. You can press it against the salt, but again, don’t scrub — this will absorb the stain.  

3. Brush the salt away, blot the stain with clean towels and check your progress. If you can still see the stain, rinse it again and repeat the process with blotting and fresh salt until the stain dissipates. 

4. If your stain is particularly stubborn and it’s set on machine-washable clothing, you can also use a pre-wash treatment such as OxiClean Laundry Stain Remover Spray ($17.49 2-pack on Amazon) before washing the item on the highest temperature the care label allows. If possible, use a biological powder detergent as this has the best stain removal capabilities.

Washing machine

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Got more than just wine stains to remove? Well, here's how to remove oil stains from clothes without ruining them. And learn how to clean a leather couch to remove everyday stains. Also take a look at the 11 things you didn't know you could clean with toothpaste.

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.