What can you do about wine stains in your carpet? That depends
on the type and color of carpet and whether the offending liquid
was white or red wine. It's difficult, but not impossible to
get a red wine stain out of carpet, and several methods are explained
here. You can try one, and if that doesn't work, move on to the
To start with the obvious - act fast. Spills are not really
stains until the substance enters the carpet fibers, so you might
prevent the worst wine stains by soaking up the wine quickly
using any napkins, paper towels or cotton rags available (I would
sacrifice a t-shirt rather than have a bad carpet stain). It
is best to use white cotton or paper towels that have no colors
- just to be safe from further stains - but use whatever you
have quickly. Many of today's carpets have stain-resistant treatments,
so if you have a red wine spill you might be able to mop it up
before the color enters the fibers. A wet-dry vacuum cleaner
can work too.
Now, what do we do about the remaining mess, or old wine stains
on carpet? Here are several cleaning solutions and methods you
1. Club Soda and Salt - Club soda won't really do to
much to combat an old stain, but the carbonation can help lift
the red wine up from deeper down in the fibers when you are cleaning
a fresh spill.
Some people say that sprinkling salt on the spot at the same
time helps keep the stain from setting. It is a relatively safe
thing to try (just be sure to rinse well later or the salt residue
will attract moisture). Club soda and salt are meant for initial
cleaning, and you'll normally have to move on to other methods
to finish the job.
2. Vinegar - To start, mix three ounces of white vinegar
with six ounces of water. This is best applied using a spray
bottle, but you can also sprinkle it over the stained area carefully.
Blot it up after a moment or two, and repeat the process.
As long as you still see wine stains transferring from the
spot to your white rag (this is another reason for a white one),
keep doing this. Mix up more cleaning solution if necessary.
Once there is no more transference, you can use the next solution
if necessary. Otherwise continue with step 7.
3. Dish Detergent - Mix five drops of non-aromatic
dish washing detergent (plain blue dawn or yellow Joy work well)
into a cup of warm water. Apply this (spray or sprinkle) to the
spot and work it in very gently (no hard rubbing!). Blot it up
with clean rags or paper towels and repeat.
This short video tutorial will explain
how to get red wine out of carpeting using vinegar, hydrogen
peroxide, and other household products:
4. White Wine - White wine can be applied to help remove
red wine stains. On fresh spills it just dilutes the color, and
you have to be careful that you do not spread the spill. Just
add a bit, blot it up with a clean white cotton rag, add some
more and blot that up, repeating this until you have most of
the red out. Then move on to other cleaning methods.
For old red wine stains the addition of white wine recreates
the initial conditions, making it like an easier-to-clean fresh
spill. Just add a little bit at a time and blot it up. Repeat
the process until you no longer see any red color transferring
to the white rag. If the stained spot is still noticeable, continue
with one of the next methods.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda - After soaking
up any excess moisture, add 3% hydrogen peroxide to the spot
and massage it into the fibers with your fingers (you can wear
plastic gloves if your skin is sensitive). Cover the area with
baking soda and work that into the spot. Let it remain there
for five minutes or so and then rinse it out several times with
plain water. Use a little water at a time, blotting it up or
sucking it out with a wet/dry vacuum cleaner between rinses.
6. Specialized Products - There are some stain removal
products that may work if all else has failed. Test these on
an inconspicuous spot (like in a closet) before applying them
to the stained area, because some of them can bleach out or discolor
carpet fibers, and the damage will be permanent. There are even
some products, like one called "Wine Away," that are
specifically formulated for getting wine stains out of carpet.
You might want to have a bottle of that around if you have regular
parties in a home full of light-colored carpet and red wine.
7. Water - The final cleaning solution is tap water.
Use it to rinse out any remaining stain, as well as any remaining
vinegar or detergent. Use your nose (get close) to be sure it
is all clean.
8. Drying - Blot up all excess moisture with clean
dry white rags or paper towels. Place a fan where it can blow
on the spot for a few hours. fast drying prevents deep stains
from coming back up to the surface and becoming visible again.
You can remove most carpet wine stains in this way, although
red wine stains are tough. If any staining from the wine is still
there, it might be permanent. Get professional help or see the
options outlined on the following page: