How to: Clean Red Wine stains out of your Carpet

By Joshua Chadwick March 11th

Popping the cork off a bottle of Pinot Noir or your favourite Shiraz can seem like a great idea at first, until you’ve spilled the first glass on your freshly clean carpet. 

Red wine stains in your carpet, however, is not as big of a deal as commonly perceived, as long as you’re quick to react and have the right things prepared to deal with the stain. Should you wait too long the dried stain will be too persistent and hard to remove and you’ll likely need to the help of professional carpet cleaning services. 

But before you rush off and hire a carpert cleaner, here are some easy ways to clean red wine stains out of your carpet so you can correct the mistake swiftly and avoid unnecessary panic. And best of all you can do it without using harsh chemicals like bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

Act Fast and Blot 

As mentioned earlier, speed is key here, as the longer you leave the red wine spill in the carpet, the further it can sink into its fibers, even making its way to the flooring underneath the upholstery leaving an even more difficult stain cleanup job.  

Now to act fast you’ll need to grab any paper towel you have or rather any white clean cloth you have lying around. Ensure the latter is indeed white, as a common blue Chux cloth can easily leave you with blue dye stains instead of the red wine stains already on the carpet. 

Once you have the paper towel or white clean cloth in hand, you’ll need to be sure to blot and not rub. Blotting is essentially a way to take the red wine from the carpet and transfer it to the paper towel or cloth you are using. 

Patting the stain with the paper towel or cloth avoids the liquid from sinking further into the carpet, much like what you would get with rubbing, and helps suck up the liquid leaving less residue to stain the carpet. 

Water and More Blotting 

With the towel or cloth sitting on the carpet stain and starting to dry up, it’s time to move to the next step. 

Prepare an amount of cold water that’s appropriate to the size of the stain and pour it on the area affected. Ensure it is cold water, as hot water can actually set the stain faster… and we need all the time we can get! 

Next up, it’s time to blot again. With the water now mixed in with the red wine, you’ll be able to suck up more liquid and dilute most of the red wine still existing with the cold water you used. 

Now with the stained area drying up again, you’ll need to dig into the cleaning products and see what you have available. The best thing to use in this situation is white vinegar, followed loosely by salt or baking soda and other stain remover products. 

Using White Vinegar to Clean 

For this guide, we’ll be using vinegar to get rid of those nasty stains. Once you’ve finished the blotting above, you’ll want to mix 2 cups of warm water (remember, not hot!) with a splash of dishwashing liquid and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Other vinegars, like brown or balsamic, will only stain the carpet fibers further. 

Be sure to grab a fresh white cloth and dampen it with the mixture you have created. Once done, dab the stain with the cloth while ensuring you don’t apply too much pressure to rub stains further into the carpet. 

For best results, alternate between the dampened cloth and another dry towel or clean cloth to continue to blot the wine away with help of the vinegar. 

Once the stain removal is done, finish it off with a fresh cloth or paper towel with more cold water to get any tiny remnants you can. 

Should there be any more stains remaining the next day, repeat the process above for best results. 

Vinegar can also be used in other cleaning situations, like cleaning a shower screen door, which we have a great guide on here should you have the need to keep that cleaning bug kicking! 

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Joshua Chadwick

Joshua Chadwick



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