Racked with guilt over her complicity in murder, Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth famously exclaims, “Out, damned spot; out I say!” while wringing her hands to remove a hallucinated bloodstain. You may be tempted to say something similar – or much worse – when you’re suddenly faced with a horrifying spill of red wine on your carpet.
It’s always a sad moment when that delicious glass of red winds up on the floor instead of in your belly. My good friend Stacy never fails to drip, dribble, spill, or splash whenever we get together. I have honestly never met anyone as clumsy with food and drink as she. Fortunately for us both, she is also a wizard at removing stains from everything – including carpet – with products you already have in your home. Her advice?
- Blot Up ASAP. Gently blot with paper towels from the outside edge of the spill to the center. Act quickly before the wine’s natural dyes and acids work their way into the carpet fibers.
- Select a Solution. See four options below:
- Straight club soda.
- One tablespoon each of white vinegar and liquid dish soap mixed in two cups warm water.
- Table salt – enough to cover the spill.
- Wine removal product such as Wine Away (under $10 from Amazon).
- Test Solution. Test the solution on a small inconspicuous area for colorfastness.
- Dab and Blot. Dab your solution of choice in small amounts on the spill with a soft, clean white cloth (an old T-shirt will do nicely!), again working your way from the outside of the spot to the center. Don’t be tempted to dump the mixture all over the stain as it will cause it to spread and may damage the carpet’s backing.
- NOTE: If using salt, cover the stain, let sit until dry, then vacuum.
- Rinse. Rinse the cloth frequently to avoid spreading or reintroducing the wine to the area.
- Rest. Let everything sit for five to 10 minutes.
- Rinse Again. Rinse the area with cold water.
- Blot and Repeat. Blot with a white towel. Repeat until no more color transfers to the towel.
Theoretically, you can use white wine to remove a red wine stain following the steps above. If wasting any wine on a spill shocks you to your core, consider having vinegar or salt or Wine Away at the ready before you pop the cork.