How to Get Red Wine Out of Clothes

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Raise a glass to these easy and effective stain removal methods without worrying about spills.

What’s the first thing you should do if you spill a glass of red wine on your clothes?

“Ask for a refill,” laughs Linda Bridges, Vice President of Cork Pops, makers of bestselling stain remover, Vino 911. “Seriously, the most important thing is not to panic, grab a napkin, and start rubbing the stain. You do not want to rub the stain.”

Angie Tran, co-founder of Kind Laundry, agrees. “Blot the stain gently with a white paper towel or cloth. Then, if you can, plunge the item into cold water to soak. If you’re not home, try treating the stain with a little club soda to dilute it, then properly treat it once you can. Just don’t let it dry out in the meantime. That reduces your chances of eliminating it.” Red wine stain removal is important—which is why we’re showing you how to get red wine out of clothes. Knowing how to remove stains like this is a must!

What you’ll need:

To make sure you’re prepared for any red wine spills on clothes, cleaning experts suggest keeping these basic supplies on hand, which also work for removing red wine stains on carpet:

  • Paper towels or clean white cloths
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Club soda
  • White vinegar
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Laundry detergent
  • A commercial stain remover

How to remove red wine stains

There are lots of ways to tackle red wine stains, depending on where you are and what you have available, but the general guidelines are:

1. Attack the stain immediately. The sooner you get to it, the better chance you have of removing it completely.

2. Gently blot the stain with a clean white cloth or paper towel. Do not rub! Keep switching out dirty cloths or towels for clean ones and continue blotting until no more liquid comes out.

3. Apply one of the solvents you have on hand. (Check clothing labels before attempting any method, then test it in an inconspicuous area of the garment, like an inside seam, first.)

4. If one method doesn’t work, try another. Because some stains may require multiple treatments, don’t let them dry completely between treatments. That just gives them a chance to set in.

5. Once the stain is removed, launder the garment like you normally would, preferably in cold water.

how to get wine out of clothesAlaina DiGiacomo/rd.comRed wine stains and salt

Dry, powdery materials like salt are better-suited for carpet and upholstery but can work on clothing in a pinch. After blotting out as much of the wine as you can, cover the stain with salt and let it dry. You can also try baking soda, but it can lift color from the garment, so proceed with caution, warns Tran. Red wine not the only thing you spilled? Find out how to remove coffee stains, too.

Red wine stains and club soda

Club soda will break down the dyes in the wine, but, according to the experts we spoke to, it must be applied as soon as the spill occurs and is most effective when you can allow the garment to soak overnight.

Red wine stains and dish soap and hydrogen peroxide

Bridges’ method of choice involves mixing equal parts dish soap (she always use Dawn) and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Apply directly to the red wine stain, let soak 30 minutes, then rinse with cold water before laundering as usual. Add this to your list of hydrogen peroxide uses and dish soap uses!

Red wine stains and white vinegar and laundry detergent

This method gets mixed reviews from both experts but is worth trying if other methods haven’t worked. First, soak the stain with vinegar to neutralize the wine’s red and purple pigments. Then, without rinsing, cover the vinegar-soaked stain with laundry detergent and wash as normal. Vinegar has so many surprising uses.

Red wine stains and rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can leave its own stain on fabrics so it isn’t ideal, Tran points out. She suggests using pure isopropyl or denatured alcohol on a cotton ball instead of directly applying it to the clothing. Gently dab at the stain until the wine begins to lift out. Then rinse it before throwing it in the laundry. Rubbing alcohol actually works well for many other household chores.

Red wine stains and laundry and cleaning products

Look for products marketed as having “oxi action” or “enzymatic power,” which are effective in removing red wine stains. Make sure you choose one that’s safe for the fabric you’re cleaning, then simply soak the garment according to the instructions before laundering as normal.

Best red wine stain removal products

  • Wine Away is non-toxic and biodegradable and does exactly what its name promises.
  • OxiClean uses the power of oxygen to remove even the toughest stains.
  • Vino 911 comes in a convenient travel size so you’ll always have it ready to take care of emergency spills.
  • Puracy is a complex blend of all six enzymes, natural surfactants, and mineral-based deodorizers guaranteed to break down and wash away all stains.
  • Kind Laundry Sheets are non-toxic, plant-derived, liquid-free, and super effective.

How to remove old, dried red wine stains from clothes

Aside from salt, any of the above methods can also be used on old stains, although you’ll probably need to allow more time for soaking and repeat treatments. Start by rubbing a little dish or laundry detergent into the stain and giving the garment a 30-minute cold water soak first before moving on to one of the methods listed above.

How to remove red wine stains from white clothing

If you get them fast enough, red wine stains can be removed using any of the above methods. As a last resort, you may need to use bleach if the clothing’s laundry label says that’s OK.

How to remove red wine stains from clothing that’s dry clean only

If the item says dry clean only, blot the stain and take it to the dry cleaner as soon as possible. Don’t try to treat it yourself.

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Lois Alter Mark
Lois Alter Mark is an award-winning lifestyle and travel writer. In addition to writing for RD.com, she regular contributes to Forbes and USA Today 10Best as well as a variety of AAA magazines. Because of her blog, Oprah chose her as an Ultimate Viewer and took her to Australia on the trip of a lifetime. Follow her on social media @loisaltermark.