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How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Carpeting

Nothing takes the fun out of a party like the sight of a glass of red wine spilled accidentally onto the carpet. It's especially sobering when, as the host, you're challenged with finding the best way to remove the stain. There are several remedies that'll make your carpeting look like a spill had never even happened, and you can cherry pick amongst different techniques depending on the types of products you already have in your home. Luckily, you can tackle red wine stains with simple tricks and techniques and avoid an extra trip to the store.

Soapy water

For the easiest remedy, use a combination of soap and water to lift the wine just like you would any other stain. Laundry detergent, dishwashing soap and shampoo are ideal because they're thicker and more powerful than other soaps. Be sure to dab the stain instead of smearing it to keep the spot contained. While a simple soap-and-water technique will work to remove red wine from carpeting, soap and water alone don't have enough lifting power to neutralize deeper color pigments, so you can always finish the job by applying a stain remover if there's any discoloration.


Hydrogen peroxide & baking soda

This popular method for lifting red wine from carpeting is probably the most efficient. Pour hydrogen peroxide over the stain until it is completely saturated with the new solution. Sprinkle baking soda on top of the hydrogen peroxide until that too is completely covered, and then let it sit for a couple of minutes. Working from the outside toward the center of the stain to avoid making the spot bigger, gently blot the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda with a wet cloth. Baking soda is a lifting agent and when paired with hydrogen peroxide will neutralize even the darkest stains.



Vinegar & water

Your kitchen cabinets contain many ingredients used in commercial cleaners. White vinegar can neutralize the purple color left behind by red wine. Pour a 50/50 mixture of warm water and vinegar into a spray bottle and use it to wet down the stained area. Dab the area to soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Try using salt with this technique, as well. You can even leave the salt in place if you're using vinegar since it acts as a cleaning agent. It will absorb color and turn purple after 15 minutes or so, at which point you can scrape it up and continue cleaning.



Club soda & salt

If you're in a panic and can't find any oxygen-based lifting agents at home, you can sprinkle salt on top of the stain to prevent it from spreading. Salt won't remove the stain, but it's a great remedy to keep the wine from penetrating your carpeting while you figure out which products you already have at home and which technique you want to use. The carbonation in club soda is another temporary solution if you want to lift the wine from your carpeting before using a more powerful cleaning agent.



Carpet cleaner with steam power

Ideally, you should finish the job by going over the area with a carpet cleaner. Some carpet cleaners use steam power to sanitize the area and remove extra soap residue that may have been left behind. Carpet cleaners provide a finishing touch and restore texture so it won't look as if you've favored one area of your carpeting.