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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Red Wine and Sauce Stains

By Dr. Laundry January 13, 2012

Q: I have red wine and sauce stains on my cloth napkins and tablecloths.  What would be the proper ratio of water to Clorox® Regular-Bleach for a soak in a bucket (not machine)?

A:  The proper ratio is 1/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water.  Fully submerge the items for 5 minutes, and then drain the soaking solution before washing the items in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent + 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Air dry the items to make sure the stains are all the way out.  This is particularly a good idea for food stains because often they can be “combination stains” that require multiple approaches to get all the way out. 

You mentioned sauce stains – these can contain an oily component and a colored component, and it’s best to treat the oily component first.  In that case, try rubbing a little liquid dishwashing detergent onto the stain first.  Wait for 5 minutes, rinse the stain with a little warm water and then do the bleach soak. Red wine, on the other hand, comes out beautifully with just the bleach treatment.

Do any other readers have some post-holiday stains that are proving difficult to remove?