How-to Guides

How To Remove Red Wine Stains

Red wine stains are often a death sentence when it comes to clothing, but in certain circumstances, you may be able to save your favorite dress or shirt if you act quickly. Read further to learn how to remove red wine stains.

How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Clothing

The White Collar Dress Shirt

Most high-quality dress shirts are made of 100% cotton or a cotton-linen blend. This fact will work in your favor when you accidentally spill wine on it at a wedding reception or business event.

As with all red wine stains, the key is to act swiftly to soak that dress shirt in chlorine bleach for about ten minutes. Then, remove the shirt from the bleach and launder it immediately. This should remove the red wine stain from most cotton dress shirts.

Of course, if your dress shirt is not white, this is not the route to take. For colored dress shirts with unfortunate red wine stains, don’t waste time with bleach. Instead, spend that time writing a requiem, because most likely that shirt is dead.

The Date Dress

Date dresses come in all forms, from cotton to silk or satin, and even polyester blends. So the method of removing red wine stains can vary widely.

Again, the key to removing red wine stains is to act quickly. If you’re in the midst of a dance at a wedding reception and you don’t cut it short, those few minutes that you spend finishing the song may mean that your dress goes to the trash.

If you prefer a sexy black date dress, red wine stains may be negligible. Even a red or burgundy dress may survive a regular wash cycle or a trip to the dry cleaner. But if your date dress is a brighter color and made with silk or satin, red wine stains can spell doom.

However, we hate to see a woman lose a good date dress, so try soaking that dress in a mixture of white vinegar and color-safe liquid detergent for one hour. Then, wash it in a normal machine cycle and say a prayer. In most cases, the stain should come out. Good luck!

Pro Tip:

A mixture of equal parts of Dawn soap and hydrogen peroxide can knock out a red wine stain on certain fabrics. Simply pour the mixture over the stain and allow it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, launder the garment in the washing machine according to its instructions. This method should only be used with lighter colors as hydrogen peroxide contains mild bleaching properties.

How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Carpet

If red wine spills onto your carpet, blot it immediately with paper towels or a dry cloth. DO NOT RUB IT! Once the bulk of the liquid is removed, pour a generous amount of salt over the stain. After a few minutes, you should see the red wine color transfer from the carpet to the salt. Allow the salt to dry and remove the bulk of it gently by hand. Clean up the remainder with a vacuum cleaner.

How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Table Cloths

The best method for removing red wine stains from table cloths is by pouring boiling water directly over the spot. Since time is of the essence, don’t wait for the stove to heat the water.

Pour hot water into a microwave-safe dish and bring the clean water to a boil in the microwave oven. In a sink, stretch the stained portion of the table cloth and pour the boiling water over the stain from a distance of approximately 12 to 16 inches above. Repeat as necessary and the stained area should lighten. When the red wine stain lifts, wash the table cloth according to its instructions.


Red wine stains happen to the best of us. It’s the risk we accept for the wine we enjoy. We understand that accidents happen, but experience teaches us that the most common red wine stains occur while pouring or when people don’t hold wine glasses properly.

In most cases, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. However, when you’re faced with a red wine spill, these remedies will go a long way toward saving your favorite items.

If these methods fail and you can’t stand to part with your favorite item of clothing, try commercial wine stain removal products as a last resort.

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