Remove Wine Stains in a Breeze With 5 Common Household Ingredients

Elena K, Hometalk Team
by Elena K, Hometalk Team
10 Materials
1-3 Hour
Another recurrent nightmare: I’m enjoying a romantic dinner and all of a sudden there’s vino everywhere! I spilled my glass — or even worse, knocked the bottle — all over myself.
Have you been there? I used to panic, but not anymore!
Getting rid of wine stains is a lot easier than you think. Stay with me to learn how.
Call 911 pronto! We have a wine emergency! :)
Got a wine spill? A splash? Take a deep breath and relax.

The key to success is to take care of the stain immediately.

Because really, all you need is baking soda (or salt) and a few other household ingredients to remove the stain — no matter how large.
A few household ingredients is all you need!

There are a few ways of treating wine stains and I’m going to give you a couple. Below is a list of materials you’ll need if you use all methods:

— Baking soda (preferred) or salt

— Distilled White Vinegar

— Blue Dawn Soap - or Fairy if you’re in Europe

— Club soda, Schweppes, or Canada dry

— Rubbing Alcohol - at least 70%

— Borax

You’ll also need:

— Cup

— Tablespoon

— Spray bottle

— Container or bucket to wash your clothing
Containing is the Keyword: Blot, don't rub.

The idea is to keep the stain from spreading and doing more damage.

So grab a kitchen towel, cotton cloth, or other disposable and absorbent pad, and use it to absorb excess wine. Pull the fabric taut to get out as much as possible.

TIP: Remember to blot, not to rub — rubbing will get the wine into the fabric!

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the spill, it’s time to add a little sprinkle..
Let’s add a little sprinkle!

Both BAKING SODA and SALT are great containing a wine stain and ABSORBING the moisture off the fabric.

So grab either, and apply a generous amount to the stain. Press gently until it “cakes”. I found that BAKING SODA provides better absorption and sometimes helps remove the stain better.

Leave the baking soda or salt for at least 10 min, or until you notice it has absorbed the liquid. Since my spill was large, I left mine working for 40 minutes.

TIP: Ideally, you should apply the baking soda (or salt) to BOTH SIDES of the fabric.

NOTE that this method only works with WET STAINS.

So if yours has already dried, move to STEP 5 (i.e. WASH IN A VINEGAR & DAWN SOLUTION.)
Let’s give this cake a little shake!

If your stain is small that you only have a little soda or salt, SKIP STEP 4 and go to 5.

In my case, there was so much “caked” soda and salt in the fabric that I had to remove it before rinsing. Use your fingers, a spoon, or just shake it in the sink to get rid of it all.

TIP: No need to get EVERY LITTLE SPECK out from the cloth.

Ready? Let’s give it a nice rinse then!
Can I have another drink please?

Yep! Time for another drink — not for you but to rinse the fabric, that is.

Whether you skip STEP 4 or not, pour your SODA CLUB in a container and rinse your fabric on it.

Let it sit for 30 minutes. Depending on how large your stain is, you may see the soda changing colors. (Mine turned reddish!) Then take it out and rinse in water or put it in the washer.

TIP: Remember to follow the care instructions provided on the the garment label.
Don't you think we need to do another pass?
If your stain was small or the garment is colorful, this will hopefully be enough.

Unfortunately, I used a white towel for my test. (Can you imagine anything more absorbent?)

So, it’s time to pull my secret weapons out of the closet for another tough cleaning mission. :)
Bring 'em on: Vinegar & Dawn to the rescue!

Grab a container and mix DAWN (FAIRY if you’re in Europe or Australia) and VINEGAR in equal parts.

I used half a cup for each. First the Dawn, then the vinegar but adjust your amounts to the size of the stain.

All you may need is a TABLESPOON of each.

TIP: Do not dilute the mix.

Leave it for 15-30 min and rinse. I left mine for 1 hr.
Still have a faint stain? Read on!

So let’s say your stain has’t fully come off and though faint, it is still there. Below something else you can try:

Grab your alcohol, borax, and a brush and let’s get started.

NOTE: Let me digress for a minute:

I also spilled lots of wine on a khaki cotton pants, and used the method described in STEP 4, 5, 6. To my surprise, stains came off completely!

So your garment fabric and the type of wine spilled may determine how hard removing the stain is.
Let’s use an alcohol spray first

Start by pouring some alcohol in your spray bottle. Remember to use a funnel if the opening is small.

Now get the bottle and start spraying directly into the stain, both in the front and back of the fabric.

TIP: The idea to wet the material so it absorbs as much of the borax you'll apply next.
Let’s rock that borax!

Now that the fabric is wet, add borax to the stain.

Apply a generous amount and use your finger or a brush — any good ole toothbrush would do — to really get the Borax into the fabric. You can turn the fabric over and do another application on the reverse.

TIP: Feel free to spray a little more alcohol on the borax and use the brush to mix them again. Let the borax work its magic.

Time to grab a cookie or the choc you’re hiding in the pantry (I got my own stash ready!) and take a break.

I left the borax & alcohol a couple of hours, you can try 30-60 min if your stain is small or faint.

Time to do last rinse and then we're done!

I hope you saved your previous Vinegar & Dawn solution, because it’s time to bring it back. Otherwise, check STEP 6 to make it afresh.

TIP: feel free to add some alcohol to the mix as well. I used half a cup of each vinegar and borax, and about 1/8 cup alcohol.

Dip the fabric into the mix and let it sit for a while. You can come back occasionally to stir and rub. I left mine overnight (yes, that was a BIG stain I had!)

Come back and rinse the fabric with cold water. And that should do it.

NOTE that it may take a few minutes to remove the soap under running water if you had a large amount of Dawn.
Yes, we’re done.
The drops that splashed around the edges came out totally but you can see there’s still a very faint stain left over in the center. As I mentioned earlier, I tried this on another fabric and the wine stain came out easily.

I hope yours is not a toughie, and you’re able to wear your favorite top again. Yes, wine is romantic, but ruining your most flattering dress is not.

Before I wrap it up, let me add a couple of reminders:

— If your garment is delicate, consider taking it to a dry cleaner instead.

— Read the care instructions provided in the label to make sure none of these products are harmful (to date I haven’t had any problems, but you never know!)

— Lastly, if you’re not sure if the fabric will get damaged, you can try in a small non-visible area for a few minutes. If ok, apply to the stain, which will likely be visibly standing out right in the front.

If you enjoy this post, follow me! Next week I’ll be making a Faux Christmas tree with found branches.

And for more DIY cleaning recipes, check these posts:


— NO-RUB CLEANER & DEGREASER FOR YOUR KITCHEN HOOD—Rub Magic DIY Cleaner & Degreaser for Your Kitchen Hood:

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3 of 23 questions
  • Phyllis Williams Phyllis Williams on Nov 24, 2020

    can baking soda be used to kill bed bugs?

  • Vicki Vicki on Feb 13, 2021

    I want to print this to keep for future use (eternity?) I don't see a "print" area to click. Is there a way to obtain these directions without doing a copy/paste on each sections?

  • Carol Carol on Sep 23, 2021

    What is the best solution to wash jealousies windows?

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2 of 143 comments
  • Mary jones Mary jones on Nov 28, 2021

    ELENA K:

    Don’t go to all this trouble. I looked online and followed directions!

    OXY CLEAN mixed with WARM WATER is so easy!! Same thing. Red wine on my beige carpet as well as upholstered seats on my dining room chairs. The chair seats had foam rubber under the fabric. It of course soaked the mix like a sponge. I got ALL the wine out very quickly from the carpet. THE SEAT CUSHION was soaked. The following morning, I cleaned up the mess. Towels to push out the water from the foam. Bottom line, MY experience was cheap and so fast. OXYCLEAN also suggests the same for GRASS STAINS.

    You’d never know there had been RED WINE anywhere. Oh, the guest who spilled, made a hasty retreat home. ( across the street.)

  • P P on Oct 29, 2022

    Instantly dump pile of table salt on red wine spill the instant it spills - yep, heap it up, empty the salt cellar if need be. If table cloth or rug or towel is white you MIGHT need hydrogen peroxide to get out residual stain but salt might take it all.

    If OLD wine stains, Resolve carpet cleaner spray - used with a sponge mop per directions, got out red wine & traffic stains left for YEARS, that Stanley Steamer professional cleaners didn't budge.