Red wine is a fantastic drink, it is a drink to be enjoyed and luxuriated over with some fine cheese, olives or a warm hearty dish. It is also a sophisticated date drink enjoyed over a nice dinner and it is a fun component of the many red wine based cocktails around. However, despite being so popular, people are unanimous in agreement that red wine is the most irritating drink to spill as it not only stains and discolours but seems to land and destroy everything it lands on. It also leaves a pungent smell which can linger in the room or on the object for days. What is just as great a problem is that there is no definite answer to the question of how best to combat red wine stains.
The first and most common suggestion to prevent long term staining is to immediately soak up the excess red wine using paper towel or something equally or more absorbent and then cover the area affected with white wine. Having poured white wine onto the red wine, it is important to let it soak in for a while and then wash the stain with cold water. When removing the white wine and cold water, it is important to blot the stain as scrubbing it can actually make the stain more enforced. This idea for using white wine as a stain removing agent has also been adopted by some with soda water and can be effective but only on smaller stains. If this method is not entirely successful it may leave a blue stain in place of the original purple and red stain, but this blue discolouration is a lot easier to remove with chemical detergents.
Another incredibly effective method for removing red wine stains from clothing is to lay the piece of clothing out and then cover the affected area with a thick layer of salt which will absorb up the excess colour. After covering it with salt, you must leave it for about half an hour so that the salt can soak it up. By removing it any earlier you run the risk of having the salt, and thus the stain, rub back into the fabric. After removing the excess salt, you should take the item to the shower and wash out the salt and stain with a harsh blast of cold water. Again if this is not entirely successful first time round, simply cover the stain with a stain removing solution and then place in the washing machine as usual.
For any non-washable fabrics or items completely covered in red wine, it is worth taking the item to a professional dry cleaning service immediately as their high temperature washes and chemicals are the best bet for eradicating the red wine stain.
With carpets and furnishings, there are two methods of stain removal that can be attempted. The first common suggestion is to, as aforementioned, cover the area affected with a thick coating of salt, as the salt will absorb any excess liquid. It is then recommended to cover the red wine stain with a thin layer of heavy duty detergent, use a large wet rag and rub the stain out using cold water.
Another option is to cover the stain with glycerine and leave it for one hour. After an hour has passed one must then soak the carpets or fabrics in a heavy duty detergent which contains oxygen bleach as this will remove most of the discolouration. Again, as before, it is important to blot the glycerine and liquid as scrubbing the stain could make it a lot harder to remove. If the stain remains after either one of these suggestions for carpet and furnishings, then one should treat the affected object with hydrogen peroxide which is available from all reputable chemists. For white objects try a white object specific heavy duty stain remover to eradicate the final evidence of discolouration. If the worst comes to worst, you may have to pay professional cleaners to use harsher chemicals in order to remove the red wine stain.
Regardless of which method you end up trying, it is important to remember that you need to act quickly to ensure that the red wine stain does not set into the fabric or carpet. The splashed item will likely be stained forever as even if the reddy purpley colour fades, there is usually a blue coloured stain left in its place, rendering the object destroyed. If the stain has been left untreated for over twelve hours it is incredibly likely that you will no longer be able to get it out at all.
I noted with interest that this article was written from research on a number of other websites but perhaps it doesn’t match the entirely more practical research completed by Simon Woods! Read about his experiments over here.