Zapping red wine stains

Chicago TribuneDecember 11, 2013 

HOME TIPS Almost as inevitable as the post-holiday-meal nap is that most dreaded dinner party casualty: spilled red wine.

Red stains, whether from wine or punch or magic marker, are the most difficult to remove, and the sugars in wine make the stain even more stubborn, said Steve Boorstein, who owned a high-end dry cleaning business for 16 years and now dispenses garment care advice as The Clothing Doctor (

How you treat a red wine stain depends on a host of factors, including the type of fabric and the color of the garment, but one key ingredient to success is consistent, Boorstein said: patience.

Degree of difficulty: A lot depends on the tenacity of the stain.

Materials needed: Dry white cloth, salt, white vinegar, color-safe bleach

 • Act fast. It is best to tackle a wine stain when it is still fresh and wet.

 • Blot the stain with a dry white cloth to keep it from spreading. Never rub a stain, because you can abrade the fabric or cause it to pill or thin or cause the threads to separate.

 • Cover the stain in table salt. Let it stand 5 minutes. The stain should fade to pink as the salt soaks up the wine. Rinse with cool water.

 • If the red wine hasn’t come out using the methods so far, create a diluted vinegar mixture — 50 percent white vinegar, 50 percent water — and blot that onto the stain.

Rinse or throw the item in the washer.

 • Still no luck? Soak the garment in a tub of warm water and color-safe bleach (do a spot test for colored fabrics first) for 30 to 60 minutes.

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