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Red Wine Stains

Are all those carpet care tips you find on the internet correct?

Arming yourself with accurate information for treating red wine stains can make all the difference between successful stain removal and a permanent stain.

Carpeting can be a fresh, soft, beautiful part of interior design, but carpet with permanent stains can make even the cleanest carpets seem dirty and unsightly. Of all the types of carpet stains, one of the most difficult to remove is red wine. When red wine spills happen, your carpet will need immediate attention in order to prevent a permanent stain. Before you search for one of the latest internet remedies, you should know that there is a lot of incomplete or incorrect information circulating online. Let’s take a look at what’s out there.

Treatments Found on the Internet

Club Soda

Some people claim that the bubbles in club soda will help lift a red wine spot. While club soda can be used as a carrier to blot up wine spills, it is no more effective than regular water.

Plain Water

Most of the time, plain tap water can be very useful for blotting up red wine spills. However, in certain regions “hard water,” or water with a high mineral content could possibly leave some mild discoloration. If you know you have hard water or you want to be extra cautious, use distilled water, which has no minerals.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mildly abrasive alkaline substance. Baking soda can be used to absorb wine from carpet if the spill is fresh. Baking soda’s abrasive properties can result in fiber damage and breakage with foot traffic if it is not completely removed from carpet, so, if you choose to use baking soda, be sure to thoroughly vacuum once the area is dry.

Soap or Detergent

Soap can leave sticky residue on carpet fibers that will attract dirt. Certain types of soaps can de-color or discolor certain types of carpet. If soap is used, it should be tested in an inconspicuous area first. If no discoloration occurs, it should be diluted before use and then cleaned with water afterward.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a popular green household cleaner, but it can leave behind odors and de-color or discolor certain types of carpet. Test in an inconspicuous area first. In addition, it should be diluted before use and then cleaned with water afterward.


Known for its stain removing properties, OxiClean is often recommended for removing red wine spots. OxiClean Carpet Spot and Stain Remover is made specifically for carpet. Do not use this product on carpets made with wool or silk. Test in an inconspicuous area first.

Our DIY Spot Treatment

For red wine spills, as well as many other types of spills, the spot removal method is pretty simple. Use dry, white, clean cloths or paper towels to blot the spill and absorb excess liquid. Moisten with water and repeat until the entire spot is gone. If this doesn’t work, use a manufacturer-recommended spot cleaner or try our DIY how-to.

First Step: Blot, Blot, Blot!

If it is a new spill, use a white cloth or paper towels to blot as much of the red wine spill as you can. Follow this with pouring a bit of cold water directly onto the wine stain. Doing this helps dilute what remains of the stain. Continue with blotting until no more of the stain is coming out then follow with cleaning methods.

Cleaning the Spill

(IMPORTANT! Don’t forget to test: Of course, your stains don’t always cooperate by appearing in inconspicuous areas, but do keep in mind that it is always recommended that you first test any cleaning solution on a portion of carpet or upholstery that is out of the way.)

The Dish Soap and White Wine Vinegar Solution Method

This method is great for red wine and a host of other tough stains.

  1. Pour two cups of warm water into a bowl. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and another tablespoon of dishwashing liquid.
  2. Dip a sponge into the bowl and wring out well. Begin applying the solution directly onto the wine stain. You should see immediate lifting of the stain, but continue blotting until the stain has lifted completely.
  3. Follow with blotting the area with clear water, then blotting dry with a clean white towel or paper towels.

If spot cleaning fails to remove the red wine discoloration, call your carpet cleaning pro right away. The longer the spot remains on the carpet, the more likely it is to turn into a permanent stain.

Note: Home remedies are not guaranteed and may, at times, make spots/stains appear worse or make spots/stains that a trained professional is capable of removing into more permanent issues.

Spot Cleaning Pitfalls

Here are a few pitfalls to consider as you spot clean.

  • Note that thorough rinsing can be very difficult to accomplish using DIY methods, because the carpet can become too wet, which can cause odors and other problems. Focus on keeping the cleaning activity limited to the area affected, taking as much or more time to remove excess moisture as you do for the actual spot removal.
  • Avoid vigorously scrubbing the carpet. Carpet fibers can become damaged or break off if the cleaning methods are too aggressive.
  • If you purchase a product made for removing spots from carpet, read and follow the instructions.
  • Keep your carpet manufacturer’s warranty valid. Read and follow your manufacturer’s warranty instructions on required carpet care.

If your attempts at red wine spot removal fail, don’t give up! Leaving the spot will only increase the likelihood that it will become a permanent stain. Professional carpet cleaning solutions and equipment can achieve a deep level of clean not possible with DIY methods. In most cases, professional methods can safely and effectively get the red wine spot out and leave your carpets clean and fresh. The main concern with red wine spills is to take care of it right away.

Note: Home remedies are not guaranteed and may, at times, make spots/stains appear worse or make spots/stains that a trained professional is capable of removing into more permanent issues.