How to treat red wine stains

April 30, 2015

Wool is a natural fiber derived from animal hairs and is very resilient if cared for properly. Many steam cleaners will use excessively high heat, harsh agitation, and/or alkaline products to clean these spills. This type of treatment will cause the wool to curl creating shrinkage, shedding, and tightening of the weave. Most dyes on wool are stable but it’s always best to test for colorfastness before proceeding with any stain removal.

Before you begin, please know that unprocessed wool has natural oils that will repel stains, however, that oil is typically stripped off during the manufacturing process. Some of this natural ability to repel liquids and stains remains with certain types of wool and may help with the stain treatment process. We always recommend having your rugs sealed with a quality protective finish available from Simply Rug Cleaning.

In a hidden or inconspicuous area test the fibers for colorfastness. To do this, you’ll use a white towel to apply your spotting solution (white distilled vinegar) and blot the area. Check the towel for color transfer.

White Distilled Vinegar that most of our clients typically keep in the kitchen is a great product to use as a spotting agent for red wine and other heavy tannin stains. Generally, vinegar is safe for most materials and colors.

  • Apply a small amount of white distilled vinegar directly onto the red wine stain; encompassing the stain.
  • Let it rest for a few minutes.
  • Blot off with a wet white towel followed by another dry white towel.
  • If the red wine stain does not dissipate completely, you will then reapply white vinegar; let it rest a few more minutes.
  • Blot off all moisture with a fresh wet white towel followed by a dry white towel.

If you are not achieving complete stain removal, then it’s time to call the professionals before any potentially harmful damage is incurred. Many enzyme-based stain removers are great stain removers but come at a higher risk of dye migration or bleeding. Stay away from store bought products that contain surfactants or oxidizers.


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How to treat red wine stains