The Easiest Way to Clean Up Wine Stains

published May 26, 2017
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(Image credit: Mariyana M)

So you threw your friend a cocktail party for her birthday? That’s so sweet of you! And someone spilled all the booze? Or some of it? That’s not sweet at all! Luckily, you can easily clean it up, as long as you handle the spill smartly, says Donna Smallin Kuper, a certified house cleaning technician and author of The One-Minute Cleaner. Here’s what you should do.

Note: These techniques will work on all sorts of boozy stains including spills of whiskey, scotch, red wine, or other dark liquids. Oh, and in the future you might want to consider a white wine and Champagne party instead — both of those things are a lot less likely to stain!

If the spill is on clothing or a tablecloth:

Now: Blot up what you can with paper towels and apply an instant stain remover like Tide to Go or Shout Wipes. Blot again to remove as much of the stain as possible. Hard-to-remove stains such as red wine, punch, or creamy liqueurs (like Bailey’s) may need a double treatment.

Later: Rinse the stain under the faucet from the underside to push the pigments out. Then use a stain pre-treater and launder as directed. If the stain doesn’t come out the first time, pre-treat and wash the item again. Whatever you do, do not put the fabric in the dryer until you’re sure the stain is gone — the heat will set the stain and make it even harder to lift.

If the spill is on upholstery or carpet:

Now: Again, do your best sop-up job with some paper towels, patting rather than rubbing at the stain. If you can, spritz the splotch with water or dribble with seltzer and keep blotting with clean towels until the stain is as good as gone.

Later: Follow up with a deeper clean using upholstery or carpet cleaner, as directed on the label.

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