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How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Clothes, DIY Style


Red wine on a white shirt. It happens to the best of us. And for most of us, it means a new shirt for the “donate” clothes pile. But it certainly doesn’t have to mean the end of your favorite shirt or dress. There are simple, effective ways to remove wine stains from your clothes. All it takes is a little know-how and a touch of finesse.

First of all, aim to understand WHY red wine stains tend to be so stubborn. It’s because they stain in a different way. Heat and time make red wine stains more stubborn than other stains, so the urge to “fix the stain after the party” is your worst enemy when it comes to lifting the stain. Additionally, scrubbing the stain away is the surest way to ensure a permanent stain. The rubbing action creates heat, and that helps set the stain.

Instead, your goal should be to dilute the intensity of the stain, and whisk it away with frequent dabbing motions. Many people start by spreading salt over the stain, as it will help wick the wine up and out of the fabric. Typically results are best when you allow the salt to sit overnight.

Another tried and true method is club soda. Sometimes a layer of club soda on top of the salt can create the perfect blend to lift the wine. After 24 hours (or so) you’ll want to wash the fabric in cold water to finish lifting as much of the color as you can.

red wine stain on a shirt

Photo credit: http://www.allyou.com/budget-home/organizing-cleaning/best-cleaning-products-2014/laundry-stain-remover-0414

Other DIY Wine Stain Removal Options:

Remember when we said heat sets the wine stain? Forget we ever said that. Sometimes, when dealing with a stained, sturdy, heavier fabric like a tablecloth, heat becomes your best friend. You’ll boil water and pour it over stretched fabric (think about stretching it over the brim of a large bowl) to remove the red wine stain. When stretched properly, the stain rinses right out of the fabric before your eyes.

Other stain experts recommend a 3 to 1 ration of hand soap/hydrogen peroxide mix to lift stubborn red wine stains. If you can believe it, they swear that adding this solution, in several small doses, allows the stain to remove itself, no dabbing, rinsing, or scrubbing required.

There are a variety of products on the market which promise to help with red wine stains as well. Popular products include:

  • OxiClean Powder
  • Wine Away
  • Carbona Stain Devils
  • Bac Out Stain & Odor Remover
  • Tide Sticks
  • Ecover Stain Stick
  • Spot Shot

Need more help on removing stains? Check out this awesome guide from Shirtspace.com that walks you, step by step, through how to remove a variety of stains. Everything from red wine and coffee to blood, grass, are covered in this interactive guide.


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