Removing Red Wine Stains from a Sofa

Image of red and white wine spilling

You’re enjoying a relaxing evening at home with a glass of red wine in one hand and an engrossing book in the other when you spy Fido making a running leap straight for your head.  You can’t help it; it’s instinctual to raise your hands to protect your face. Unfortunately, you forgot all about the wine until you noticed huge blotchy red spots all over your brand new cream microsuede sofa. You love Fido, so you’re prone to easy forgiveness. After all, how can you stay mad at a dog with that much enthusiasm to express his love for you? But you love your sofa too, and you’re more than a little worried that it now may be ruined, and you are destined to a life of slipcovers from here on out.  If only you’d opted for the leather one instead…

If you find yourself with red wine stains on your upholstered sofa, is there hope you can get it out?

What makes red wine stain fabrics?

The reasons behind why red wine stains fabrics are multi-faceted. Much like tea, another substance with powerful staining potential, red wine is comprised of tannins. These tannins imbed fabrics and are particularly difficult to remove if not treated properly.

The color itself is also problematic. Red is a color that does not blend, and that is difficult to ignore. It also tends to smear into a bright pink if not properly treated while the stain is still wet.

What Are the Best Remedies for Removing Red Wine Stains from Upholstery?

Removing red wine stains is tricky but not impossible. The key is not to panic. Panicking makes the removal of any stain far more difficult as our initial response is to grab some soap and water and begin to scrub away.  When it comes to a tannin-based stain in a brilliant hue, this is the worst mistake we can make.  In fact, it’s a recipe for a couch that was once cream and is now cream with assorted dark pink clusters that closely resembles your son’s science project on amoebas.

As with all stains, there are things you can do BEFORE you treat the stain that can aid you in its permanent removal.  Doing the WRONG thing could set the stain and render it impossible to completely eradicate it.

Here are some steps you should take to make red wine stain removal easier:

Attack while the stain is fresh
The longer you wait to address the stain, the more time you give it to imbed itself in the fabric. Strike while the iron is hot to obtain the very best shot of saving your sofa upholstery.

Remove as much of the spill as possible
Blot as much of the wine up as you can. You want to remove any excess liquid. It is important that you use an absorbent material and pat but never rub at the stain.

Rinse immediately
Take the time to rinse the remaining stain with cold water. This will help to remove any additional liquid from the fabric, leaving you with less tannins to treat. Be certain to use cool to cold water only.  Heat is known to aid in permanently setting stains.

Once you have pre-treated your stain using the above methods as your guide, you can then move on to more aggressive home remedies.

Here is a list of some of the best solutions for removing red wine stains from upholstery:

Commercial products
There are many great commercial products on the market that can help remove fresh wine stains from upholstery and clothing.  Most are sold in grocery stores or large chain retailers such as Walmart.

Among the best available today are Wine Away, Vanish, and Carbona Stain Devil #8.

Salt is a natural dehydrator and removing as much moisture from your red wine stain is critical to its removal. To help remove red wine from fabrics, pour salt liberally over the stain and allow it to sit overnight.  You can then vacuum the remaining salt in the morning.  If any discoloration is still apparent, you may need to treat using a different method.

Experts report that this solution is quite effective, but what is most important is that it will never hurt to attempt it, and you can always try something else if this doesn’t do the trick for you.

Baking soda and vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar earn high marks in the stain removal department.  This combination works wonders with a number of stains including red wine.

For best results, pre-treat the stain with a liberal coating of baking soda. Allow the mixture to sit for several hours, watching carefully for color changes to the stain.

Soak a cloth in a dilute vinegar solution and wring out excess liquid. Apply directly to the stain. Gently wipe the affected area with the cloth then allow the air to penetrate until completely dry. Vacuum any remaining residue.

Dishwashing detergent and peroxide
Dishwashing detergent (Dawn, in particular) and peroxide is arguably the method of choice for moving red wine stains. Dawn is known as an excellent degreasing agent capable of assisting in stain removal. For best results, dilute the detergent with peroxide and apply directly to the stain. Rinse with cool water and repeat if necessary.

Club soda
Many experts agree that when it comes to red wine stain fighting, you can’t beat club soda when combined with salt. For the most effective stain removal, saturate the stain with club soda then apply a thick layer of salt.

Depending on the depth of the stain, sometimes club soda is an efficient cleaner all on its own.

Has red wine collided with your sofa and left it a disastrous-looking mess? Not to worry. Follow these stain fighting home remedies to help get your sofa back to looking good as new.



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