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How to remove wine stains from your carpet

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Nip wine stains in the bud

Picture this—you’re at a bustling party full of laughter, reminiscing about the good old days. As guests start to feel more comfortable, hand motions become more animated. Suddenly, wine sloshes over someone’s wine glass and onto pristine white carpet. Contrary to popular belief, however, a red wine spill is not the end of the world.

Instead of joining the other partygoers watching in horror as the wine stain sets, you can be the hero of the night and return that spotless carpet back to its former glory. Here’s everything you need to know about removing wine stains from carpet.

Shop this article: Baking Soda and White Vinegar

Why does wine stain?

While most people are aware that wine is made from grapes, not many know the process required to turn grapes into the popular beverage. The main steps of winemaking are harvesting, crushing, fermenting, clarifying, aging, and bottling. All wine contains tannins, which are imparted into the wine during the fermenting and aging process. Tannins are derived from any grape skins, seeds, and stems left in during the fermenting step and from the barrels used during the aging phase.

Tannins are also present in coffee, tea, and fruit juice and are the main reason why wine stains. Anyone who has ever scrubbed mercilessly at a coffee stain in a mug can blame it on tannins. Another contributing factor to red wine stains is the presence of chromogens, which are a substance that produces pigment.

Does white wine stain?

A common misconception is that red wine is made from red grapes while white wine is made from white grapes. However, a few red and white wines use the same type of grape since the juice from both red and white grapes is clear. The difference is that red wines are fermented with the skins, which gives red wine its pigment.

Since tannins and chromogens (the main reasons why red wine stains) come primarily from grape skins, stems, and seeds, many believe that white wine doesn’t stain. Unfortunately, white wine does contain some tannins and can still stain. After all, they’re made from the same grape.

Here’s everything you need to know about removing wine stains from carpet.

The best way to remove wine stains from your carpet

Blot the stain

The first thing you want to do is blot the stain to absorb as much wine as possible with a paper towel or white cloth to ensure no pigment from a towel soaks into the carpet. The most important part of this first step is to blot, not scrub. Scrubbing will push the wine deeper into the carpet fibers, making the stain more difficult to remove.

Pour water on the stain

Pour just enough water on the carpet to cover the stain and continue to blot. The water will dilute the wine and help you to absorb more onto the towel.

Make a baking soda mixture and pour it on the stain

Next, make a baking soda mixture of three parts baking soda and one part water until it's a thin paste. The alkaline properties of baking soda make it effective in lifting stains. Pour the baking soda mixture on the stain and allow it to dry.


After it’s completely dry, vacuum the area thoroughly.

Mix up a cleaning solution

It’s time to make another solution. The measurements don’t need to be exact, but an effective cleaning solution includes one cup of water, half a cup of hydrogen peroxide, one teaspoon of dish soap, and half a cup of white vinegar. The vinegar will help to neutralize any red pigment left behind. While hydrogen peroxide can be used as a bleaching agent, it shouldn’t discolor most carpets. If you’re unsure, test it on a small, hidden section.

Pour the solution on the stain

When you pour the cleaning solution on the stain, it will bubble up. Let it absorb for a few minutes and blot it clean with a clean sponge.

Finish with water

To ensure there are no leftover products in your carpet, pour a small amount of water and blot with a dry paper towel. Repeat until no suds come to the surface.


Q. What factors make a wine stain harder to clean?

A. Getting to a wine stain as soon as possible gives you the best chance of completely removing it. The wine will sink deeper into the fibers as time passes, making the stain harder to remove. The color of the wine is also a factor. For example, red wines have darker pigments, making them more challenging to remove. Additionally, never put heat on the area, as it will set the stain,

Q. Can white wine be used to remove red wine stains?

A. No. Many people have heard that white wine is an effective cleaning solution to remove red wine stains due to enzymes present in white wine. However, since both colors of wine are made from the same grape, all you’re doing is adding to the stain.

Q. Can I remove dry wine stains?

A. While there’s no guarantee that dry wine stains will come out completely, it’s possible to remove dry wine stains. Employ the same steps outlined for fresh stains. However, the solutions may need to be left on a little longer, and you may need to repeat the entire process more than once.

Accessories for wine stain removal

Stain remover

Those who don’t want to mix up any cleaning solutions can opt for a wine stain-removing product. Stain-remover is one of the best for cleaning up wet or dry wine stains and can be used on carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

Carpet cleaner machine

For hard-to-remove embedded wine stains, a carpet cleaner machine is a convenient choice. Carpet cleaners are meant to be strong on stains while being gentle on your carpet.

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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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