Imagine this scenario. You’re enjoying a casual night with some good company when you accidentally spill wine on your dress. A friend of yours hands you a towel, but you know the damage is done.

Is it possible to get red wine stains out of clothes?

You’ll be thrilled to know you can get wine stains out of clothes, carpets, and more with a little knowledge. Red wine, just like any other ingredient, is susceptible to the cleaning power of several common home ingredients. Keep reading to learn how to get red wine out of clothes easily.

Red wine spilled out of a wine glass onto a beige carpet.

The Science Behind the Wine

Before we dive into removing wine stains, let’s take a look at the science behind the wine. Whether you bought pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon, your wine is home to several chemicals that make conventional cleaning difficult.

Grapes are a legendary ingredient when it comes to stains. Their high sugar content makes them extra sticky, while their rich color is a disaster to white carpets. To make things worse, this fruit is filled with a chemical known as ‘chromegens’. This chemical is in several plant varieties used to make clothing dyes.

You might be tempted to give up on a wine stain, but don’t worry! There are quite a few techniques and tools you can use to reverse this phenomenon. You can also buy spill-proof glasses for your next wine night.

Step #1: Act Immediately

The sooner you act and target the stain, the easier it’ll be to remove the stain. As the wine dries, it takes on an ink-like quality that will make it extra stubborn.

When your stain is a little damp, it’ll mix nicely with your chosen cleaners and lift out more quickly. This applies to any stain location: pants, shirt, dress, you name it.

Related: How to Remove Red Wine From Your Carpet

Step #2: Resist the Urge to Scrub

You’ll definitely feel the need to scrub at the stain as hard as possible. Resist this urge: you’ll only make the stain more stubborn. 

When you scrub at a stain, all you’re doing is pushing it deeper into the fibers of wherever it’s spilled. This action will make it harder for your chosen cleaners to reach it and change its chemical makeup. Remember, wine is literally composed of chemicals used to dye clothes.

Step #3: Never Apply Heat to the Stain

Another accident many people make when trying to clean a wine stain is by applying a hot, wet towel. Like the traditional clothes dying process, heat makes the color richer and darker.

A stemmed wine glass spilling red wine onto a white floor

Step #4: Check Your Cabinets for Common Cleaning Ingredients

You may not have to take a trip to the store. Many household cleaning ingredients are fantastic for clearing out vivid, stubborn stains. 

Baking Soda

You likely already knew about this one. Baking soda is a common ingredient in our laundry detergent and toothpaste, able to kill bacteria and lift stains simultaneously.

You might have even used this ingredient to eliminate wine stains on your teeth.

Table Salt

Yes, salt is an excellent stain-fighting ingredient. It’s also in pretty much every household as an additive to food, so put this on your list.

Kitty Litter

Do you have housecats? Put this ingredient on your stain-fighting list since it has superb dehydrating properties. 

Sodium Percarbonate

This may seem like a fancy ingredient, but it’s just another form of hydrogen peroxide. This stain-fighting tool creates a bubbling effect that makes short work of stains.

Powdered Dry Soap

Are you a skincare guru? You may have some powdered dry soap, which can help with the stain-fighting process. Make sure it’s unscented, since other fragrances can interfere with the chemical change.

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Step #5: Use Your Dry Ingredients to Blot Out the Stain

Remember: do not scrub at the stain! Use a gentle press-and-blot method to lift the color gradually.

You should also leave the dry ingredients on for several minutes to let them do their magic. You’ll notice the stain slowly, but surely fading away.

Related: How to Open a Wine Bottle Like a Pro

Step #6: Use an Alternative to Water

You might think it’s time to use some water to rinse the rest out. Wrong! You’re better off using an alternative such as club soda, white vinegar, or milk.

All of these options do a much better job at absorbing the leftover chemicals and separating them from your fabric. Water is too runny, simply passing through instead of collecting the stain.

Step #7: Save Some Oxi Cleaner for Next Time

In the event of another spill, consider adding Oxi Cleaner to your kitchen cabinet for the next spill. Life is unpredictable, after all, and you won’t always be able to avoid a messy spill.

Oxi Cleaner uses sodium percarbonate to fizzle away stains in the blink of an eye. It’s a very popular ingredient and one you’ll be glad to have during your next merlot night. Just make sure to apply all the same rules: no scrubbing, heat, or water!

Related: 3 Ideas for Leftover Wine

A small glass of table salt spilling onto a gray table.

It's That Easy

Getting red wine stains out of clothes doesn’t seem like an easy task, but it’s pretty simple. When you have a proactive attitude and the right tools, no stain stands a chance.

Scrubbing, heat, and water are all terrible techniques for stains. While it’s instinctual for dirt or food stains, these three options simply make stains darker and more stubborn. Use basic household ingredients such as baking soda, table salt, sodium percarbonate, powdered dry soap, or kitty litter to dehydrate the stain.

Rinse out the remaining stain chemicals with white vinegar, club soda, or milk is also a better alternative to water. Keep some OxiCleaner on hand for the future to make stain cleaning even easier.

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