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How to Get Red Wine Out of Clothes

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A red wine spill doesn't have to spell disaster. Read our easy guide to red wine stain removal & you'll know how to get red wine out of clothes in a flash.

A glass of wine in the evening is a great way to wind down after a busy day, but a wine stain can completely ruin a relaxed atmosphere! This article gives top methods and solutions that can help to lift those stubborn red wine stains. Even if you’re at a dinner party or a busy restaurant, you can follow a few of these tips for easier red wine stain removal when you get home.  

How to Remove Red Wine Stains

If a glass of merlot tips onto your shirt, you might not be able to whip it off right away (it could be embarrassing!) – but try to follow these steps as best as you can, given your situation. Act quickly – a fresh wine stain is always easier to treat than an old one. And, remember to consult the care labels on your garment before treating the stain. More delicate fabrics, such as silk or leather, may need to be taken to your dry cleaner.

  1. Protect any layers of fabric or surfaces that might be underneath – Place a cloth or napkin under the stained fabric to prevent it from spreading onto anything else.

  2. Soak up red wine from the stain immediately – Press a napkin or paper towel against the stained fabric to soak up as much of the excess wine as you can. Don’t rub when you’re doing this, as you could work the wine further into the fabric by accident.

  3. Don’t let the wine stain dry – It will be much easier to remove the red wine stain if you keep it damp until you’re able to treat the stain properly. Many swear by soaking it with white wine, but you can also try cool water, sparkling water, or soda water to keep the stain moist. Never use hot water, as this can set the stain further.

  4. Press salt against the stained, damp fabric – Cover the stain entirely with salt and press the crystals against the damp fabric. The salt will absorb much of the wine and help to lift the stain.

  5. Repeat soaking and blotting the stain as necessary – Brush off the salt crystals to see how much of the stain is left. If it’s still there, keep saturating the stain with cool water, white wine, soda water, etc. and blotting at it with a clean cloth or napkin to lift the stain.

  6. Apply a pre-treatment – Once you get home, apply a commercial stain remover to the stained fabric as a pre-treatment, following the instructions on the product’s label. You could also try working a paste of baking soda and water into the stain.

  7. Launder as normal in your washing machine – Read the garment care labels first to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a high-quality laundry detergent designed to tackle stains head-on, like Persil Powercaps washing capsules, and wash at 30 degrees. Hotter temperatures could set the stain by accident.

  8. For stubborn stains, apply a stain remover and pre-soak the stain in cool water – If the stain persists, repeat Step 5 and soak the stain in cool water for a couple of hours. Then repeat Step 6.

  9. Only tumble-dry or iron the item if the stain is entirely gone – Again, high heat can set any traces of the stain, so hang or air-dry the item if possible.

Top tip: The sooner you tackle red wine stains, the better. Using washing capsules when cleaning a stained load of laundry can save you valuable time – they're predosed, so you can just pop them in the drum before adding your clothes.

These nine simple steps for removing red wine stains should be easy enough to follow, regardless of where you might find yourself. So the next time things get messy when pouring the cabernet, you don’t have to worry – your white shirt won’t be ruined, as long as you act quickly!