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4 Methods to Clean Wine Stains on Your Carpet
Food House & Garden

4 Methods to Clean Wine Stains on Your Carpet

Jan 2, 2024

A red wine spill on a carpet can quickly turn a dinner or birthday party sour, especially if the carpet is white. However, according to carpet cleaning expert Misty Poole, your night doesn’t have to be completely ruined if you act swiftly. Dealing with the spill promptly is crucial to preventing a lasting stain.

According to Poole, red wine stains are challenging to remove, but tackling them immediately is the key. Acting while the spill is still wet prevents the wine from penetrating deep into the carpet. Once it reaches the carpet backing, the situation becomes more problematic.

Poole warns that if you delay and the wine has already seeped into the back of the carpet, the spot may reappear days later, even if it initially looks clean when you dry and clean the surface.

To avoid disappointment, act promptly when a red wine spill occurs on your carpet. Here’s what a carpet cleaning professional recommends for handling this common issue.

What You’ll Need

  • Cold water
  • White towels
  • White vinegar
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Something heavy (like books or weights)

Carpet cleaning with brush and detergent foam. Close-up of woman's hand cleaning wet rug. Home hygiene.

How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Carpet

Misty Poole’s proven process for removing red wine from carpets is a step-by-step approach. Start with Method 1, and if there are still stains or discolouration, proceed to Method 2, and so forth. If, after completing Method 4, your carpet retains pink stains from the red wine, Poole suggests seeking help from professional carpet cleaners, who have access to industrial stain treatments for a more effective solution.

Method 1: Cold Water

  1. Blot the wine with a dry white towel.
  2. Continue blotting with a wet white towel until the wine is completely gone or you’ve removed as much as possible.

Expert Tips:

  • Cold water is crucial, as it effectively absorbs tannins from the grapes present in wine.
  • Always use a white towel to avoid accidentally transferring dye to the carpet. White towels can also be bleached in the wash to remove residual red wine stains.
  • Avoid rubbing or scrubbing; instead, blot the stain. Scrubbing can push the wine, making the stain larger and potentially damaging the carpet fibres.

Method 2: Vinegar and Dish Soap

  1. Complete Method 1.
  2. Mix 2 cups of cold water, 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap, and a tablespoon of white vinegar.
  3. Apply the solution to the spilt area.
  4. Use a white towel to blot the area until the wine is completely gone or you’ve removed as much as possible.

Expert Tips:

  • Ensure you use plain white vinegar, not apple cider or any other type.
  • Be patient! It might require several rounds of blotting, but investing time and effort is worth it.

Method 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

  1. Complete Methods 1 and 2.
  2. Combine 2 parts cold water with 1 part hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Use a white towel to blot the area until the wine is completely gone or you’ve removed as much as possible.

Expert Tips:

  • Dilute hydrogen peroxide with water as it can bleach; undiluted hydrogen peroxide may leave a new mark, especially on non-white carpets. You can also add dish soap to the solution.
  • If your carpet still struggles after trying these methods, consider seeking professional help. Adding more solutions at this point can make it challenging for professionals to remove the stain later, according to Poole.

Method 4: The Towel Trick

  1. Complete Methods 1-3.
  2. Lay a white towel over the stained area.
  3. Place a heavy object on top of the towel and stain.
  4. Let it sit undisturbed for 24 to 48 hours.
  5. Check if the spot is still damp; if yes, restart from step 2 with a fresh towel.

Expert Tips:

  • Misty Poole relies on this trick to remove red wine stains, even when they’ve reached the carpet backing. Use it not just for red wine but also for spills that saturate the carpet backing.
  • Resist the temptation to check it too soon. The towel must stay on for a minimum of 24 hours continuously.

cute african american child cleaning carpet while mother washing floor with mop

Warning! What Not To Do

Aside from being patient, Poole points out innocent carpet cleaning mistakes that can hinder your wine removal efforts. While salt is often suggested to absorb red wine, Poole strongly advises against it. Although salt may absorb the wine, its abrasiveness can damage the carpet.

“It’s like rubbing sandpaper on the carpet,” warns Poole. “Salt can harm the carpet fibres, so it’s better to stick to liquid products.”

However, not all liquid products are suitable. Poole suggests steering clear of carpet cleaning solutions, even though they might be the go-to for many. The issue, she explains, is the chemistry. Store-bought carpet cleaners are typically pH-neutral or alkaline, which is ineffective in this situation.

Alkaline carpet cleaner will set that spot,” says Poole, “turning it from a spot into an actual stain.”