Remove Red Wine from Carpet in 4 Steps

First off, if you just spilled red wine, skip this intro and go to step 1 now!

Acting fast is the #1 goal in a red wine stain.

If your tired of looking at an old red wine, skip to Step 4. I’ll cover the best way to remove an old red wine stain, including how to make a DIY cleaner.

For best results, I’ll also recommend a couple of my favorite red wine removers. Let’s start with that…

Captain’s warning! A few notes before we start: Anytime you are using a new carpet cleaning product, it’s worth taking the extra time to try your cleaning product on a scrap piece of a carpet (or an area that’s out of sight). In rare cases, chemicals can interact poorly with carpet. Also, any cleaning products you buy through Amazon I get a small affiliate commission. However, this does not influence what I recommend, and I appreciate any support.

Before we start: the best red dye cleaning products

In step 4, I cover a DIY approach to cleaning red dye.

But sometimes it helps to have a cleaner that’s specifically made for red dye stains. The problem is many are marketed for this, and many don’t work.

There are a couple I think stand out, and if they can’t get out my red dye stain, I start losing hope:

#1 Wine Away.  This one surprised me. It’s often used for clothes but works great on carpet. It works about as well as some of the professional products, but it’s much less expensive. You can click here to check out the price on Amazon.

#2 Pro’s Choice Red 1. This is a professional cleaner that works extremely well (possibly a slight edge over Wine Away). The reason this took the second spot is it’s a little more expensive. It also comes in a bigger quantity, so if you expect future spills, this might be well worth the money. If stains are a rare thing, I’d stick with Wine Away. You can click here to check out the price on Amazon.

Step 1: Act now! Blot up the excess liquid

This isn’t an infomercial. But if you don’t act right away on red wine, your chance of removing it decrease dramatically.
The key is to interrupt it from bonding into the carpet fiber, while continually blotting it.
What’s the best way to blot?

  • use: white, cotton towel (the more absorbent the cloth the better)
  • technique: blot up and down with less pressure at first and then increase pressure as there’s less liquid. DON’T rub
  • work outside in: starting on the outside and pushing slightly in toward the middle of the stain makes you less likely to spread the stain

Continue blotting until there’s not much excess wine coming up, but don’t spend so long doing this that the stain is dry! If you’re in doubt, skip to Step 2.

Step 2: Flushing the stain with a vinegar mixture

You just soaked up all the excess wine, but now you have to get the rest out. There are 2 critical parts here:

Break up the wine’s ability to bond, and keep the are liquid so it can be blotted up. To prevent the bonding, you’ll use this vinegar mixture:

  • 1 tablespoon non-caustic, plain dishwashing soap
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • 3 cups warm water
  • Clean rag
  • Bowl
Captain’s warning! Make sure you are using white vinegar. Apple cider and balsamic vinegar are NOT substitutes. They have dyes in them that will stain the carpet, potentially making your problem worse.

Mix the previous ingredient in a bowl. Then soak the area with the mixture. Let it sit for about 5 minutes (don’t let it dry, but you want it to work on the stain). Then, blot the area you like you did originally with a clean cloth.

Repeat Step 2 until you don’t notice any more red wine on your cloth and ideally not on your carpet as well. Now you’re ready for step 3.

Step 3: Drawing out any remaining moisture

Salt and baking soda suck up liquids. This can be used as a final extraction of the wine.

All you need to do is thrown down some salt or baking soda, and it will do the work (ever dropped your phone in water and left it in rice to dry it out? Same philosophy.)

You still want to keep the salt or baking soda damp (don’t let it try out), so add cold water if you need to. You can vacuum the salt/baking soda up.

This should take care of it. If it doesn’t, your only choice is to try to remove the dried stain.

Step 4: Removing a day old or older red wine stain

We discussed earlier the key with a wine stain is disrupt it and blot it up before it has the chance to sink into the care.

But what if you didn’t get to it? Or what if there’s a leftover stain despite your best efforts with Steps 1-3.

This can be done in two ways. One is by purchasing a product to assist you with removing the red wine (my favorite is at the bottom of this section). Or you can use a product you likely have in your home… hydrogen peroxide. Let’s start with the homemade stain remover:

For this trick, you will want half a cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide combined with no more than a quarter cup of liquid dish soap. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, so you only want to do this method if you have a white or very light colored carpet. Higher concentrations (above 3 percent) will be more likely to discolor your carpets.

Once you’ve mixed your solution, take a clean rag and gently blot (not rub) at the affected area. You want to move slowly and gently so the solution has time to soak into your carpet and remove the deeper stains. After you finish, let the solution sit for a few minutes.

After it has sat for a few minutes, you can rinse the hydrogen peroxide solution out with soapy water. You can either blot with a fresh cloth or shake dishwashing soap and water in a spray bottle until bubbles form.

Now, what if you don’t want to create this homemade remedy? What’s the best product to remove old red wine stains?

I’ve found this wine stain remover to be the best for carpet. You spray it on, let it sit, and it will remove many red wine stains. This is your best shot for a red wine stain that’s already set in.

It also has a few other benefits: its cheap, easy to use, and can be used on clothes and other fabrics.

Captain’s parting words!

Spilled wine does not have to ruin an entire evening. The most important step is to take quick action to clean up the wine. Rinsing the area with water, then applying a layer of salt or baking soda can dilute and draw out the red wine before it has a chance to soak into your carpet.

If the stain lingers, there are a few homemade remedies you can try to clean up before buying commercial cleaners or hiring a professional. Even if that does become necessary, it never hurts to lighten the stains as much as you can beforehand.

Any personal stories, tips, or questions on removing red wine stains? Let me know in the comments below.

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