How to Remove Red Wine Stains From a Carpet

Relaxing with that glass of red wine quickly turns to feeling stressed when the wine hits carpet. The dark color stands out, especially on light-colored carpet, but with quick thinking and a few items you likely already have, you can remove the stain.

Blot Technique

As soon as the wine hits the carpet -- Berber or plush -- reach for a clean, white absorbent cloth. Blot the stain repeatedly to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. If the red wine stain has already set, skip the initial blotting step and move on to other cleaning methods.

Salt Absorption

An alternative to blotting is sprinkling a generous amount of salt on the wet red wine stain. The salt absorbs some of the wine. Vacuum up the salt.

Water Dilution

Diluting the stain with clean, cold water helps remove additional wine from the carpet. Pour water directly on the stain, and blot the stain with a new clean cloth. This draws out the water and some of the remaining wine. Continue diluting and dabbing until your cloth appears clean, as if no more wine is lifting from the carpet.

Household Stain Removers

When water alone doesn't remove all of the red wine, or when the stain is already dry, reach for household items that help. Baking soda, dishwashing detergent and vinegar in particular may work on red wine.

Use this method to remove the stain with baking soda:

  1. Mix 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water to make a paste.
  2. Put the baking soda paste on the red wine stain. Let the paste dry.
  3. Vacuum up the dried baking soda paste.

Mix vinegar and dishwashing detergent for this method:

  1. Add 1 tablespoon each of vinegar and dishwashing detergent to 2 cups of water. Stir the mixture.
  2. Dip a clean cloth in the mixture.
  3. Dab the dampened cloth on the red wine stain. Continue dabbing with clean parts of the cloth until the wine stain is gone.
  4. Blot the area with a clean cloth dipped in clean, fresh water to rinse out any remaining vinegar and detergent.
  5. Blot the area with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture.

For especially difficult stains, a combination of dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide is an option. This method is particularly important to test in a hidden spot, as it could discolor the carpet.

  1. Combine 2 parts hydrogen peroxide with 1 part dishwashing detergent.
  2. Rub the mixture into the carpet with a cloth or sponge.
  3. Blot the spot with clean water to remove the mixture from the carpet.

Stain Removal Products

Some commercial stain removers and carpet cleaning products, such as OxiClean, may work on the red wine stain. Leave the cleaner on for up to 5 minutes, not allowing the area to dry. Blot the area with clean water and a clean cloth.

Decorate Around the Stain

If you can't get the red wine stain out completely, use design elements to hide the stain. Some ideas include:

  • Move furniture to cover the spot if the placement doesn't affect the flow of the room.
  • Purchase a new piece of furniture, such as a small table, if it works in the location of the stain.
  • Cover the wine stain with an area rug.

Shelley Frost

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.