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How to Clean Red Wine from Carpet: 5 Best Methods to Use

Stubborn red wine ain’t got nothing on these methods.

There’s nothing like relaxing with a reasonably large glass of red wine after a long day. But, when you accidentally spill it and make a huge mess on your carpeted floors, it can be just the thing to ruin your day.

Red wine is one of the most feared stains on carpets due to its dark color and acidic properties. However, by knowing how to clean red wine from a carpet the right way, you won’t need to worry — or regret your late-night treat.

Key Takeaways

  • Blot the red wine stain gently using a white cloth, working from the edges to the center.
  • Apply baking soda paste, let it dry, then vacuum the area and use a carpet stain remover.
  • Use salt for wet stains, let it dry, and then vacuum the area thoroughly.
  • Try vinegar and dish soap for dried stains or white wine and baking soda for red wine stains.

Do This First

After the unfortunate spill, blot up as much as you can right away. Removing as much liquid as possible is essential before it’s absorbed into the fibers. If absorbed, the stain can be tricky to remove entirely.

Use a white cloth or paper towels to blot the stain gently. Start at the edges and work your way to the center. If you start in the middle of the stain, it might spread as you’re pushing the liquids out.

Avoid A Mess

Never rub or scrub a fresh wine spill. This will only work the stain further into the fibers and make it more difficult to remove.

When you can’t get any more wine out of the carpet, pour a small amount of cold water onto the stain. This will help dilute the remaining wine that may have dried.

You must use cold water on newly spilled wine as hot water could cause it to set. On the contrary, if the stain is old or dried, hot water best dissolves the wine (1).

Fold the cloth into sections and blot using one at a time. Keep wetting and blotting until there’s no more color visible on the cloth.

Once the color of the stain is gone, use a dry cloth or paper towel to blot up excess moisture. When the area is dry, you’re finished.

If this wasn’t successful, or you still see traces of the wine, try one of the following methods.

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Baking Soda and a Carpet Stain Remover

This stain remover combination uses the natural power of baking soda, followed by your favorite carpet stain remover.

1. Make a Paste

After blotting up as much as you can from the spilled wine, it’s time to whip out the baking soda. Make a paste using a 3:1 ratio of baking soda to water — it should be thick.

2. Apply the Paste

Apply the thick paste directly to the stain and leave it to dry. The baking soda will absorb any remaining liquids from the wine while dissolving the color.

3. Vacuum

The paste should look and feel quite crusty once it’s dried. Use a strong vacuum to remove any remains of the baking soda and wine stain.

4. Finish With a Carpet Stain Remover

Having a good carpet stain remover, such as ZEP, right at hand can be a lifesaver. Apply as directed after removing the baking soda paste. This will help to remove any remains of the wine and help to recover the fibers.

Some commercial stain removers are applied and left to dry, followed by a thorough vacuum. Others, like the ZEP, are applied and blotted away almost immediately. Read the directions carefully to avoid any damage or discolorations.

Salt for Wet Stains

Salt is great at absorbing and breaking down stains. This natural stain remover can be a hero on wine stains.

1. Apply Salt

Start by covering the stain with a generous amount of salt. You can use any salt, and regular table salt works just fine. The fine grains of salt will slowly absorb any liquid lingering in the fibers.

If the stain is dry or nearly dry, pour a tiny amount of water onto it first. This will loosen up the stain and allow the salt to work efficiently.

2. Wait

Waiting is key to a successful salt-stain-removal. Keep an eye on it — you might notice the white salt grains are turning pink as they absorb the stain.

The aim here is to wait for the stain to dry. This can take an hour or two, or you might want to leave the salt overnight. It won’t harm your carpet, so there’s no need to worry.

3. Vacuum

Remove excess salt by scooping it away using a spoon. Vacuum the area thoroughly to eliminate any remaining salt in the fibers.

The salt may leave a slight residue after vacuuming. This is easy to remove by dampening the area and vacuuming once more.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Dish Soap on White Carpets

Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful but less toxic alternative to bleach. If you have white carpets, this is the best method to try.

1. Mix the Ingredients

In a small container, combine two parts of hydrogen peroxide with one part dish soap. Use clear dish soap and not a colored one. Colored soap can stain or leave a mark that’s difficult to get off.

2. Apply With a Sponge

Start by putting on some rubber gloves. Then, dip a sponge in the solution and wring it thoroughly — it should be wet but not dripping.

Use the sponge to blot the stain gently. Start at the edges and work your way to the center. Keep dipping and wringing the sponge until the stain is nearly gone.

Keep In Mind

Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach, so it can cause discoloration. We recommend this method for white or light-colored carpets. But even so, you might want to do a spot test first (2).

3. Blot Dry

Take a clean, white cloth and begin to blot up excess solution. Work in sections as we discussed above to avoid spreading any color. Keep blotting until the area is completely dry.

Take Note

Use a white cloth on white or light-colored carpets when using products such as hydrogen peroxide. The gentle cleaner can cause the color from the cloth to rub off on the carpet, creating an even bigger mess.

Vinegar and Dish Soap for Dried Stains

If the wine stain has dried, don’t panic. This method can break it up and remove it without leaving a trace.

1. Mix the Solution

In a bowl, combine a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and a tablespoon of clear dish soap. Add two cups of warm water and stir well to combine.

Take Note

Never use apple cider or balsamic vinegar when cleaning a carpet. These other types of vinegar will create their own stains, which can be tricky to remove (3).

2. Apply

Dip a sponge or cloth in the solution and dab it onto the stain. The warm water will help to loosen the dried particles of the stain. If the stain is fresh, replace warm water with cold as this is better for fresh spills.

Grab another clean cloth to blot up the liquid and stain as you go. Fold it into sections and move it after each blot. Keep wetting and blotting until the stain is nearly gone.

3. Apply Cold Water

Grab yet another clean cloth and soak it in cold water. Press it into the stain to help dilute the last bits of the wine. If you feel like it isn’t effective, pour a small amount of water directly onto the stain and then blot.

White Wine and Baking Soda

Did you know you can tackle red wine stains with white wine? Check this out.

1. Apply White Wine

It may feel odd to be pouring white wine onto your carpet, but hear us out. White wine works effectively at diluting and lifting the dark red color of red wine.

Use only a small amount to avoid oversaturating the carpet. Some homeowners swear by plain old vodka and say it does the trick perfectly. See what you’re feeling brave enough to try.

Take Note

Don’t use any dessert-type of wines as these can leave a sticky residue behind.

2. Blot

Grab your best sponge and gently blot up the color of the stain. Don’t press too hard, as you might push the red wine further into the fibers. Dampen the sponge in cold water before applying for the best results.

3. Apply Baking Soda

For this step, you can either sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto the stain or make a paste. Do the latter by combining equal amounts of water and baking soda. Spread it evenly over the stain.

4. Cover

Take a clean cloth or rag, fold it into a square and place it over the stain. Put something heavy on the cloth to help weigh it down. This could be a dictionary or a phone book.

Leave the white wine and baking soda combo on the stain overnight. The ingredients will be pushed into the fibers gently for a deeper clean.

Take Note

Be careful what item you place on the cloth as it might become damp.

5. Vacuum

After your morning coffee or tea, it’s time to remove the cloth and inspect the area. The baking soda paste might look slightly pink due to the red wine. Just grab your vacuum and clean the entire area thoroughly.

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What Stains Cannot be Removed From Carpet?

There are very few stains that cannot be removed from carpet, although coffee, red wine, and blood are among the most challenging. Other notable fluids include vomit and urine.

How Do You Get the Wine Smell Out of Carpet?

The easiest way to get the wine smell out of carpet is to wet a cloth with dish soap and vinegar. Dab it onto the wine stain, and it should transfer to the cloth. Vinegar is mildly acidic and deodorizes the odor.

Another way is to sprinkle baking soda on the stain. If the spill is fresh, use salt to draw the liquid from the carpet fibers and then deodorize with baking soda.

Does Toothpaste Remove Red Wine Stains?

Toothpaste does remove red wine stains in small, concentrated areas. Apply a small amount and dab the spot clean, and the red wine should lift clean off.

Will Oxiclean Remove Red Wine Stains?

Oxiclean will remove red wine from carpet because it uses oxygen to target the fibers and lift the stain. It also eradicates oil, grease, and other stubborn blemishes.

Does Lemon Juice Remove Red Wine Stains?

Lemon juice does remove red wine stains thanks to its acidic qualities. Lemon juice gets to work, breaking down the stain and lifting it from carpet fibers.

Know When to Call the Pros

You might be familiar with the old saying: “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” Well, we say, “Don’t cry over spilled red wine — it can be removed.” You can save yourself a scare by acting fast and knowing how to clean red wine from a carpet.

Always start by blotting any stain if it’s still moist — you might even be successful at removing it entirely.

When everything else fails, don’t hesitate to call in for professional help. Some red wine stains are simply too difficult to remove, especially if they’re dried and old.

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy Anthony is a cleaning expert, author, and contributing writer for Oh So Spotless, a leading online resource for all things related to cleaning, organizing, and maintaining a spotless home. With over 15 years of experience in the cleaning industry, Amy has gained extensive knowledge and expertise that have made her a trusted authority on best practices, efficient techniques, and innovative cleaning solutions.