The world of wine is full of myths, mysteries, and old wives’ tales – and the secret to removing red wine stains is perhaps the holy grail amongst them. For every secret formula there are at least a handful of products on the market, all promising to remove all evidence of Shiraz-spillage. But which products actually work, and what kinds of ingredients should you look for? Today we’re going deep into red wine stains to find the most effective way to get them out.
The Keys to Effective Cleaning
- Clean the stain as soon as possible; it will be much more difficult to clean once it’s set or dry.
- Blot, don’t rub.
- Do not use a cleaning product on fabrics unless you have spot-tested them first for colour-fastness (especially important for products containing bleach).
- If using an enzymatic cleaner, be sure to fully saturate the stain so that the enzymes can fully penetrate it and break it down, and don’t worry if the stain doesn’t disappear right away – enzymatic cleaners keep working long after you’ve applied them.
- Wash or launder the item as soon as possible.
For easy and effective stain treatment, you’ll find many specially-formulated commercial cleaners. Look for something containing enzymes, which break down organic matter (including wine, coffee, etc.). If you can, try to avoid products that contain bleach, since their use will be more limited. Fragrance is a matter of personal preference, but if you have pets or small children, be careful about anything that uses essential oils; while they’re a great natural choice for fragrance, they can be quite harmful (even fatal) to animals and little ones.
We’re big fans of Wine Away, which gets rave reviews from wine lovers everywhere, as well as magazines, online forums and more. OxiClean also has a bit of a cult-following. For use on-the-go, Shout Wipe & Go wipes and Tide To Go pens are also great choices.
Many people have a tried-and-true technique that they turn to in need. Soda water is a common stain-treatment method that does seem to be quite effective, especially on fresh stains. Simply pour soda water on the stain to dilute it, and then blot (don’t scrub!) to clean. If the soiled fabric can be laundered (in the case of clothing, for example), try to do so as soon as possible. Many people also swear by using salt (to absorb the stain) or white wine (to dillute it, presumably?) but in many cases these latter solutions only exacerbate the problem by giving you more of a mess to clean, even if it is a slightly less dramatic one. Plus, the only thing worse than losing some red wine from your glass is wasting some white in an attempt to make things better. Talk about doubling your losses!
If you’re in a pinch and need something stronger than soda water, many people swear by a cleaning solution made from equal parts dishwashing liquid (something concentrated, like Dawn, works best) and hydrogen peroxide. Keep in mind that peroxide is a bleaching agent, so do a spot-test first and use only on lighter fabrics.