The White Wine Trick To Clean Red Wine Stains

There are some meals that seem to call for a glass of red wine: a cold winter night curled up with a crispy-topped lasagna, a fancy steakhouse dinner with a slab of beef, or an evening at an elegant wine bar with a wedge of aged cheese. However, if you've chosen to wear any color other than black, your expensive pinot noir might come at a higher price than anticipated.

We're referring, of course, to the dreaded red wine stains. The tannin-rich beverage can penetrate clothes and furniture within minutes and, once dry, can be nearly impossible to remove. However, some cleaning experts propose what might seem at first glance to be a counterintuitive solution: more wine.

If a splash of the ruby liquid hits your clothing or decor, try following it with a splash of white wine. The white wine may help lift the red, making it easier to blot away with a paper towel or cloth. Just be sure to thoroughly wash out the white wine when you're done, as the alcohol can eventually discolor the fabric too.

Lifting up red wine spills

The white wine trick is believed to work because it dilutes the colorful beverage, ultimately preventing the stain from setting and aiding your efforts to remove the red splotch. This means it works best when the spill is fresh, and has not yet been absorbed by your clothes or the fibers of your rug. If you discover drips or splatters the next morning, adding more alcohol likely won't help your fabric.

Of course, there are plenty of wine aficionados who argue against this method, regardless of when you use it. They believe that this approach could simply enlarge the spill or lighten the stain without fully removing the dark hue. Additionally, adding more alcohol creates extra work and an unwanted smell. They prefer using different liquids, such as white vinegar or sparkling water, to mitigate the red wine.

Regardless of the liquid you choose, it's important to follow the age-old advice of gently blotting rather than rubbing to remove the stain. Although this may seem obvious, it's also wise to remind you not to use your new, colorful linens to clean up the spill, as fabric dyes can transfer onto your stained clothing. Acting quickly is crucial for the best results, since a dried splotch is much harder to remove.

Other stain-busting tactics

Another popular method involves using dry pantry items like baking soda and table salt to draw out the spill. To do this, cover the red wine spill generously with salt or baking soda, then let the fabric sit for five to 10 minutes before scraping or vacuuming off the crystals. The discoloration should lighten as the liquid is absorbed. However, this method also has its critics, who believe that salt can actually set the stain.

A combination of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide can also be effective in removing alcohol stains. But exercise caution when using this pair, as they're known to work a little too well. Together, they may remove not only the tannins but also the clothing dye, which could be problematic for a colorful carpet.

If you're still uncertain about a spill on your shirt, rely on the reliable efficacy of laundry detergent and store-bought stain remover. Manufacturers have begun introducing products specifically designed to tackle wine stains, providing a strong alternative to the white wine method. Now, you can confidently pour wine for your friends without too much worry.