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How to Clean a Red Wine Stain

You’re at home enjoying a nice glass of red wine—relaxing, maybe sitting down to dinner, savoring the moment—when disaster strikes. The dog jumps up. You loose your footing. The glass slips from your fingers. And then there it is, as bright and horrific as a CSI murder scene (okay, maybe not quite so horrific): a red wine stain. On your beautiful, plush carpet.

What do you do? Call your mother? Spray on some Windex and hope for the best? Abstain from red wine forever after? Cry?

No! Don’t let that red wine stain scare you. It may look like a crime scene, but if you keep your cool and act fast, your carpet will be spotless again in no time.

1. Blot up the excess wine. Before you go running for the cleaning cabinet, grab a cloth and start blotting. Using a fresh spot of cloth each time, absorb as much liquid as possible from the red wine stain. Then, pour a little water on the stain to dilute it and continue blotting. This should make cleanup much easier.

2. Do a test run. If your carpet is darkly-colored or especially precious to you and you’re planning to use a harsh/abrasive cleaning solution, you may want to do a test run before you start pouring on the chemicals. Find a hidden spot (beneath a couch, perhaps) and do a quick test run to make sure the color and quality of your carpet won’t be affected.

3. Pick your method. Based on what you have lying around, try one of these tried-and-true methods:

  • Baking Soda: With a 3-1 ratio mixture of baking soda and water, stir together a paste and pat it thoroughly into the stain. Once it’s dry, vacuum off. You can also use baking soda in combination with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Carpet Shampoo or Clothing Stain Remover: Since I don’t know what product and brand you’re using, I’m going to go with the obvious: follow the directions, treating the carpet like clothing if need be. Simple as that.
  • Salt: Shake some salt (a pretty hefty amount) onto the stain and let it absorb the wine (similar to the baking soda solution above). Vacuum off.
  • Club Soda: The carbonation in club soda makes it a formidable foe of red wine stains. Use it when you’re blotting (instead of water).
  • Vinegar: Some people swear by vinegar for all their cleaning problems, and true to form, it works great on red wine stains as well. Mix vinegar with a little water and blot away. Follow up with some dish soap scrubbing.
  • Dish Soap: Not just for dishes anymore. Mix equal parts dish soap and hydrogen peroxide (or water, if you don’t have it), pour onto the stain, and let it soak. Wash off.

4. Assess your results. If you weren’t able to tackle the stain right away (and it’s not budging from the carpet) or your home cleaning job just wasn’t up to par, you might need to call in the professionals. Experts like the ones at First Choice Carpet Cleaning have industrial strength products and machines that can clean up everything from red wine stains to spilt motor oil or candle wax.

If you drink red wine often, it might be a good idea to keep a variety of these items in the house in case of an emergency. Basic cleaning products like baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap are useful in countless ways and are also inexpensive.

So don’t admit defeat and switch over to white wine if red’s your preference. Relax and savor your glass. And if you do trip up (we all do eventually), confront that red wine stain as soon as possible.

For more carpet cleaning tips and tricks, continue reading the First Choice Carpet Cleaning blog.