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How to Get a Wine Stain out of Carpet

A spilled glass of red wine on white carpet
Lisa S./Shutterstock

Wine stains are like any other stain; the sooner you deal with it, the better. Waiting allows the stain to set into the carpet, which means more scrubbing and more work to get the wine out.

Use Baking Soda for Fresh Stains

For a recent spill, use a white cloth to blot up as much of the wine as you can. And make sure you blot; don’t rub. Press hard and replace the cloth (or paper towels) as needed.

By soaking up the spill, you are left with less mess to clean up to prevent a permanent stain. Once the wine is soaked up (as much as possible), put some cold water on the spot. You don’t want to soak your carpet, but you do want to dilute the stain. Continue blotting until you’ve lifted as much of the stain as you can.

You’ll treat what’s left with a baking soda paste made by combining three parts water to one part baking soda. You’ll need to apply the paste to the stain and let it dry. You can use this same method on dried-on stains, starting with the cold water and blotting step. When the paste is completely dry, vacuum your carpet. The paste should have lifted the remains of the wine stain.

Use Vinegar for Old Stains

If the previous method doesn’t work, or you have a serious red wine stain that you didn’t catch right away, vinegar may be the right removal method for your carpet. White vinegar should be something you keep in your kitchen since it’s excellent for keeping glasses spot free and descaling your coffee maker, among other things.

For a recent spill, blot first with a clean, white cloth and try the baking soda trick from the previous section. For an old stain, a vinegar bath usually works better. Mix a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap into two cups of warm water. Use a sponge to apply this mixture to the wine stain, blotting it until it starts to come up. Keep blotting until the stain is gone.

Use a Laundry Stain Remover

If you don’t have vinegar on hand and the baking soda trick doesn’t work, you might want to try your laundry stain remover. If you have a trusted brand that works for you, use it. Spray N Wash is an excellent stain remover and gets out even the toughest clothing stains.

We do recommend trying it on a hidden area of carpet first to make sure it doesn’t discolor the carpet. Spray the stained area with the stain remover until it’s damp. Let it sit for ten minutes. Use a white cloth dampened with some warm soapy water to blot up the stain remover and the stain.

Rent or Buy a Steam Cleaner

If you have more than one stain to deal with—or a particularly stubborn stain—you might want to do a full-blown carpet cleaning. You could hire a professional to come in and clean your carpets, but renting a steam cleaner and doing the job yourself will save you some money. You may be so impressed with the results that you invest in a steam cleaner for your home.

Even if you don’t want a full, stand-up steam cleaner, spot cleaners work well for getting up isolated stains. They’re also easier to store.

For tough stains, use a carpet stain remover that is made to get out tough stains and put it down before you steam clean. The right steam cleaner may offer a deep enough clean that you don’t need any extra stain treatments.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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