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How to Remove Red Wine Stains

Advice from our experts

Why does wine stain?

Red wine’s color comes from the skins of the grapes, which include astringent compounds called tannins. The tannins make removing wine stains difficult. However, tannins are antioxidants, so stains made from anything high in tannins respond well to bleach, which is an oxidant.

Tips for removing wine stains

When it comes to wine spills, the first thing you can do—as soon as you can—is blot the stain, apply club soda (carbonated water that includes baking soda) and then blot again. This will lighten the stain considerably and make it easier to remove later when you can wash the item.

Keep reading for more tips on removing wine stains.

Steps for removing wine from white clothes

Follow these step to remove wine stains from bleachable fabric:

  • Step 1 Gently rub the stain with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel before laundering. But, don’t apply it to the item while you’re wearing it.
  • Step 2 Wash the item immediately in hot/warm water with regular detergent and 1/4 cup of either Clorox® Regular Bleach2 with COLORMAX® or Clorox® UltimateCare® Bleach.
  • Step 3 Before you toss the item into the dryer, check that you’ve successfully removed the stain. If the stain remains, repeat the process above until it’s gone. If you dry a stained item, the stain could get set into the fiber making removal more difficult.

    Watch this video showing how to remove wine stains from white clothing.

    Need advice on how to remove fruit juice stains? Get the steps.

Steps for removing wine from colored clothes

The steps for removing stains from colored or patterned items are a little different than for white fabrics:

  • Step 1 Blot the excess wine and apply a small amount of Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster Liquid to the stain.
  • Step 2 Gently rub in the liquid and wait 3–5 minutes.
  • Step 3 Wash the fabric immediately in the hottest water recommended on the fabric care label using regular detergent and more Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster Liquid.
  • Step 4 Before you toss the item into the dryer, make sure the stain has been fully removed. If the stain remains, repeat the process above until the stain is gone. If you dry a stained item, the stain may get set into the fiber, which makes removal more difficult.

    Watch this video showing how to remove wine stains from colored clothing.

    Curious about laundry symbols? Check out this article.

Steps for removing wine stains from carpet and upholstery

For removing stains from upholstery, follow these steps:

  • Step 1 Cover the area with plenty of baking soda to absorb as much wine as possible. Or, you could use table salt, which works best on synthetics.
  • Step 2 Vacuum up the baking soda or salt.
  • Step 3 Dab a little club soda on the remaining stain, then use a steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment.

    For carpet, pretreat the stain with Clorox® Urine Remover, then go over the stain with a steam cleaner. Make sure the carpet or upholstery dries completely to prevent mildew growth or other problems.

    What about removing other types of stains from upholstery? Read this article.

    What about other carpet stains? Read this article to get the steps for removing them.

Red wine stain Do’s and Don’ts

DO use the hottest water you can when washing—the hotter, the better. Remember to refer to the item’s care label.

DON'T use full strength bleach to pretreat a stain. Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel is better for pretreating because it contains the same sodium hypochlorite bleach as Clorox® Regular Bleach2 with COLORMAX®, but at a lower concentration that’s safe to apply directly to white bleachable fabrics.

DON'T tumble dry an item that had a wine stain without making sure you’ve completely removed the stain.

DON'T use laundry products to treat red wine stains on carpet or upholstery. They are too difficult to rinse completely without getting them overly wet.

Removing red wine stain FAQs

Q. Does white wine stain?
A. Yes, white wine can leave a stain, though it may not be obvious until later. However, you can remove the stain if you pretreat it using the same techniques for red wine.
Q. Are there any tips for removing old wine stains?
A. Any stain that’s been sitting around for a while will likely need multiple treatments to get it out completely. And don’t forget the club soda pretreatment step—it still helps, even on older stains.
Q. How do you get wine smell out of carpet?
A. If you’ve removed a wine stain, but the carpet still smells, you may have missed some of the stain. You should be able to remove the rest of the stain if you go over the entire area with a steam cleaner.

Some wine may have also absorbed into the carpet pad under the carpet. Pull up the carpet where the spill was. You may need to replace part of a stained carpet pad because foam carpet pads can’t be cleaned. You can also spray the underside of the carpet with Clorox® Urine Remover to eliminate the smell. Make sure the underside of the carpet dries completely before retacking it down.

Advice From Our Experts