A glass of red wine on a white background.

How to remove red wine stains

Whether you’ve knocked your glass over midway through a relaxed evening meal, or splashed wine down your front at the beginning of a party, red wine stains tend to appear at the worst possible time. Luckily, if you act fast, you can save your outfit (and your tablecloth) from permanent staining – and you don’t even have to head home right away.

How to remove red wine stains

Plenty of red wine spills happen at busy restaurants or friends’ dinner parties. In these cases, it’s best not to wait until you get home! Go through as many of the red wine stain removal steps below as you can manage right away, then finish off the process later.

Here’s how to remove red wine stains:

  1. Protect the clothes or layers underneath. Put a napkin or cloth between the red wine stain and any layers you’re wearing underneath to keep it from soaking through.
  2. Absorb the stain. Soak up as much of the red wine as possible by pressing a paper towel or napkin against the stain. Be careful not to rub: this could work the wine stain deeper into the fabric.
  3. Don’t let it dry. It’s far tougher to remove dried red wine stains, so keep the stain wet until you’re able to treat it properly. At this point, many people like to soak the area with white wine (this dilutes the stain’s colour), but water or soda water works fine here too. Stay away from hot water, though, as this will only set the stain further – the last thing you want!
  4. Cover the stain with salt. Salt will absorb some of the wine and help to lift the stain from the fabric. Carefully press the salt against the damp, stained area.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4, if necessary. Brush off the salt and check whether the stain has disappeared. If not, keep flushing the stain with cool water, blotting it with a cloth, and covering with salt until it’s mostly gone.
  6. Apply a small amount of OMO Ultimate Liquid. When you get home, apply a detergent that’s specially formulated for stain removal to the stained area, following the packet instructions carefully. Another option would be to gently rub in a paste made of baking soda and water.
  7. Wash as usual, ideally in the machine. Take a quick look at the garment’s wash care label to choose the appropriate setting. Wash at no higher than 30 degrees, as too much heat could help to set the stain.
  8. Repeat as needed. Removing red wine stains isn’t always an easy job. If the stain is still there after the wash, repeat the first five steps of this method, and then soak the stained garment in cool water for a few hours. Then repeat the sixth and seventh steps.
  9. Dry – but only when the stain has disappeared! The heat of the tumble dryer can, again, accidently set the stain further. If you’re not absolutely certain that the red wine stain is gone, it’s best to dry the garment naturally instead.

Hint: Always remember to carefully check the clothes’ care labels before starting to remove red wine stains! If you’re dealing with a delicate fabric, such as wool or silk, it might be better to take your garment to the dry cleaners.

There you go: red wine stain removal made simple! With these nine easy steps, removing red wine stains should be a snap. Just act fast!

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