How to Remove Wine Stains from Your Favorite Clothes!

white shirt with stain how to remove wine stains

Stains happen to the best of us. Any time you are consuming food or drinks that are made of bright colors, it’s possible you will find yourself in a situation you don’t want to be in as you try to remove stains from your favorite clothes. We don’t know why stains seem to happen more frequently when you are wearing your favorite or most expensive outfit, but we do know that stains happen and that wine stains can be the worst. In those times of peril, it is important to understand how to remove wine stains so that you can keep things classy. We always want you to be able to look and feel your best.

This article will be the ultimate guide to everything you need to know to be able to remove wine stains from your favorite clothes. We want you to be able to enjoy the night out on the town with your favorite people without having to worry about the spot of wine that dripped onto your tie. Read through the article with care to get the information that you need. Different stains and different types of fabric require different methods to accomplish your stain removing goals. This article will walk you through the process to make sure you are doing what you need to do.

Types of Wine

In order to know how to remove wine stains, we must first understand some basics about wine. Wine comes in a variety of different flavors, and different wines are made in different ways. Before we get into our step-by-step guide of how to remove wine stains, we want to take a minute to learn a little more about the types of wines. This will help you to know how to approach your stain removing adventure.

Red Wine

Red Wine tends to have a sweeter and fruitier taste. They have more of the leftover parts of the grape in them, including the skin which helps the wine to retain the grape taste a little more. Also, Red Wines are made from red or black grapes which naturally tend to be sweeter than their white counterparts.

White Wine

White wines are not as sweet as their red peers, and they tend to be more acidic. The fermentation process happens in a different way for white wines, so the acids from the grape juice are very prevalent. Some people might assume that white wines don’t stain because of their semi-clear liquid state, but this is not the case. While the stains might not be as noticeable, you still don’t want a little yellow spot on your nice silk blouse.

An interesting note is that because of the acidic nature of white wine, it is more likely to stain your teeth, so just as you want to protect that pair of white pants, you also want to take care of those pearly whites.

How Wine Is Made

Learning about the process of making wine will help you to know how to remove wine stains. We will discuss the primary steps in the winemaking process for red wine and white wine. There are some parts of the process that are the same for both red wine and white wine, but there are also some significant differences. It is important to know these differences because it will make a difference in the way you approach your stain removal project.

Making Red Wine

When making red wine, the first step is to harvest the grapes. Red or black grapes are used to provide that sweet, fruity flavor. Once the grapes are picked, they are cleaned and crushed, and all of the stems and leaves are removed from the container. At this point, the grapes are put into a vat to begin the fermentation process, and yeast is added to help break down the fruit.

While fermentation is happening, carbon dioxide is released from the vats, and the grape skins begin to rise to the tops. Since the skins are the part which provides the color, they are constantly pushed down into the juice to make sure contact is made. After fermentation, the grapes are pressed, and the juice is clarified to ensure all of the extra particles are removed. Then, the wine is put into barrels to age over time.

Making White Wine

White wine comes from white grapes. During harvest time, these grapes are picked from the vines and then taken into a processing plant. The stems and leaves are removed, and the grapes are crushed by machines. At this point, white grapes are sent to a press where the juice is extracted from them. White wine does not have grape fibers or skins. The best white wines are made from the purest forms of juice which have been pressed and filtered to make sure no sediment from the grapes are left.

Yeast is added to the barrels of white grape juice to aid in the fermentation process, and the wine is aged over a long period of time. This aging and fermentation process is what causes the acidic nature, and thus the staining property of white wine.

Why Does Wine Stain Fabric?

Before learning how to remove wine stains, it will help to know what causes the stains in the first place. This will help you to understand the importance of getting the stain out as soon as possible and will also help you to know what to do first and what products to use.

Different Stains from Different Types of Wine

Obviously, red wine stains will be more noticeable and harder to remove. Especially if you are dealing with a light-colored fabric, you will want to take care to get that stain out as soon as possible. But don’t be fooled by white wine. The stains may not stand out as much from a distance, but they will still be there. The thing we have to understand is that different types of wine create stains for different reasons. The acid in white wine is what causes the staining while chromogens and tannis are to blame for red wine stains.

Acid

The fermentation process of wine causes it to be very acidic. If you’ve ever had a bag of grapes go bad in your refrigerator, you may have noticed the acidic smell as the grapes began to ferment. The acid is heavy in the juice of grapes, and since white wine is only made from the juices which have been extracted, acid stains will be more prevalent when white wine is spilled on clothes. The acid will cause a yellow-colored stain on almost any fabric.

Chromogens

Have you ever wondered where red wine gets its deep red color? Chromogens are to blame. Chromogens are substances which are found in many plants. For thousands of years, these plants have been used to make a variety of dyes. Obviously, it makes sense why figuring out how to remove wine stains is important when you realize that the wine is actually a dye.

Tannis

You’ve probably never cared to know what tannis is until now, but this organic substance is the culprit behind the worst red wine stain. This completely natural substance comes out of the winemaking process. Tannis is the same substance that is used to produce ink. Obviously, ink is meant to be a permanent color-changing agent, so it is easy to understand why it may be perilous if this stuff comes into contact with your favorite shirt.

Fabric Pores

Fabric is not a solid substance. Cloth is made up of fibers which come from either animals or plants. The fibers are pulled, spun into thread, and woven together to make the solid sheets of cloth we know as fabric. Various fabrics are used specifically for clothes. The most common types include cotton, wool, or silk. Stains get down in between the threads of the fabric and even into the microscopic pores. A stain becomes visible on the fabric when enough penetration of the pores happens.

It Depends on the Fabric

Just like different wines stain in different ways, a lot depends on the type of fabric. Certain fabrics retain moisture more than others, and so they are more susceptible to stains. Other fabrics are more porous, and so the color is able to penetrate into deeper parts of the fabric. When considering how to remove wine stains, you must be careful to work with stain fighters that are meant for the specific types of fabric you are working with.

How to Remove Wine Stains from Your Favorite Clothes

A quick internet search will provide a variety of different methods and advice on how to remove wine stains from your favorite clothes. People have all sorts of suggestions, and some thoughts are very contradictory to normal practice. Below, we want to share some tried-and-true ways to remove those pesky wine stains. If you stick with these proven methods, you can carefully work to bring your favorite shirt back to its pristine condition.

Pull the Fabric Tight

Your clothes of made up of microscopic particles of fibers which have been woven together. When a stain happens, the color gets down into the crevices of those fibers and begins to dye them. As you begin the process of removing a wine stain from your favorite piece of clothing, you’ll need to pull the fabric so that it is taut and straight. This will give you access to more of the fibers inside the fabric, and you will have more success in removing the stain.

Blot the Stain Dry with a Clean Towel

Very gently blot or dab the stain to soak up the excess moisture which may just be hanging out in between the fabrics of your clothes. Be careful not to rub or apply too much pressure because you don’t want to press the stain farther into the fabric. Your goal is to allow the cloth to simply absorb the loose moisture so that you aren’t dealing with a puddle. As such, use a rag or towel that is very absorbent. This way you will be able to soak up more of the liquid.

Apply Dry Ingredients to Lift the Stain

The best-kept secret of knowing how to remove wine stains is to apply a dry ingredient. The ingredients in wine will naturally move towards a dry ingredient. There are many different household products which would be helpful in this process. You can apply salt which is the most recommended option. The salt will loosen the moisture in the stain and lift it towards the surface of the fabric. If you don’t have salt, you can also use baking soda, dry soap powder, talcum powder, or even kitty litter. We’re sure Garfield won’t mind you borrowing some of his litter to take care of your dreadful stain!

Let It Rest

It may take a moment for the dry ingredients to work their magic and attract the moisture from the inner fibers of your clothes. Let it sit in a clean, dry area for a few minutes so that the stain has time to lift from the fabric. Make sure there’s nothing on top of it and don’t put it under direct sunlight because the sun might “bake” the stain into place. There’s no need to make the situation worse!

Flush It Out with Hot Water

Once the salt (or other dry ingredients) has had some time to work, grab the hottest water you can find. Boiling water or heating up water in a tea kettle is highly recommended. Very gently pour the water over the stain. It is recommended that you hold the water vessel about 6 inches away from the fabric as you pour. This will allow the water to have enough force so that the stain is flushed out, but it will also keep the water moving so that the stain will move right along with it. Keep flushing the stain with water until you don’t see any color left.

Wash It Like Normal

Once the stain is completely invisible, throw your clothes in the washer. Set the water temperature on the washing machine to the highest setting and make sure to use a stain-fighting detergent. Oxi products are best because they are designed to work at the inner fibers of fabric to get them good and clean. This isn’t the time to throw in the “color preserving” laundry detergent. When you are working hard to figure out how to remove wine stains, you don’t want to use anything that will cause the leftover stains to set in.

How to Remove Wine Stains from Your Favorite Clothes

A quick internet search will provide a variety of different methods and advice on how to remove wine stains from your favorite clothes. People have all sorts of suggestions, and some thoughts are very contradictory to normal practice. Below, we want to share some tried-and-true ways to remove those pesky wine stains. If you stick with these proven methods, you can carefully work to bring your favorite shirt back to its pristine condition.

Pull the Fabric Tight

Your clothes of made up of microscopic particles of fibers which have been woven together. When a stain happens, the color gets down into the crevices of those fibers and begins to dye them. As you begin the process of removing a wine stain from your favorite piece of clothing, you’ll need to pull the fabric so that it is taut and straight. This will give you access to more of the fibers inside the fabric, and you will have more success in removing the stain.

Blot the Stain Dry with a Clean Towel

Very gently blot or dab the stain to soak up the excess moisture which may just be hanging out in between the fabrics of your clothes. Be careful not to rub or apply too much pressure because you don’t want to press the stain farther into the fabric. Your goal is to allow the cloth to simply absorb the loose moisture so that you aren’t dealing with a puddle. As such, use a rag or towel that is very absorbent. This way you will be able to soak up more of the liquid.

Apply Dry Ingredients to Lift the Stain

The best-kept secret of knowing how to remove wine stains is to apply a dry ingredient. The ingredients in wine will naturally move towards a dry ingredient. There are many different household products which would be helpful in this process. You can apply salt which is the most recommended option. The salt will loosen the moisture in the stain and lift it towards the surface of the fabric. If you don’t have salt, you can also use baking soda, dry soap powder, talcum powder, or even kitty litter. We’re sure Garfield won’t mind you borrowing some of his litter to take care of your dreadful stain!

Other Methods of Removing Stains

When you have a stain on your favorite clothes, and you need to know how to remove wine stains, you’ll probably do whatever it takes to get it back to normal. Below, we have listed a few more tricks and tips which may help you in your quest to get that stain out of those pants.

Bleach

Sometimes the only way to attack that stain on your solid white shirt is to use bleach. Bleach is a very strong acting agent that will remove the color from anything it touches. Be very careful not to get it on any other clothes or surfaces because there’s a reason they say that something can be “bleach white.” You should soak the piece of clothing in the bleach for a few minutes before putting it in the washing machine for a normal cycle of hot water.

White Vinegar and Laundry Detergent

This is a unique method of removing wine stains because it depends on the neutralizing properties of vinegar. You should cover the stain with vinegar and then immediately dab it with liquid detergent. You may want to rub very gently, but only enough to get the detergent and vinegar to mix together. Put the garment in the washing machine with hot water. The hot water and the vinegar and detergent mixture should work together to help to lift the stain out of the fabric.

Dish Soap and Hydrogen Peroxide

If you have some Dawn dishwashing liquid laying around the house, you can mix together equal parts of the dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Simply pour the mixture over the stain and allow it to soak in. Let it sit for a few minutes so that the concoction has time to soak deeply into the fabric and then throw it in the washing machine. Use a hot water cycle to make sure it gets clean.

What Not to Do When You Have a Wine Stain

While it is important to know how to remove wine stains from your favorite clothes, it’s also just as important to know what mistakes to avoid. You don’t want to make the situation worse by trying to short-cut the process or use substances which may cause more harm than good. Here are a few things you will want to stay away from as you work to get the stain out of your clothes.

Don’t Let It Sit Too Long

We get it. It’s not always fun or easy to get to the tedious task of removing wine stains. You may have been out at a restaurant when the dreadful spill happened, or even if you were at home, it’s not like time will stand still while you deal with the mess. However, the problem is that the longer it sits, the worse it will be. You don’t want that red dye to start changing the colors of the fibers inside the fabric of your favorite white shirt. At the very least, go ahead and attempt to gently dab it so that there is less moisture sitting there to be absorbed by the fibers.

Don’t Rub

We’ve said this before, but this part is so important that it is worth repeating. Resist the urge to rub the stain. You will only be making matters worse when you do this. The pressure you apply will force the fibers to absorb more of the color, and the rubbing motion will spread the color out and cause it to affect even more of your fabric. That’s why we are using words like “dab,” “pat,” and “blot” to describe the motion you should use.

Don’t Use Regular Bar Soap

When trying to figure out how to remove wine stains, you may think that it’s a good idea to go grab the bar of soap out of the bathroom. The problem is that the waxy flakes from the soap will penetrate the fibers, but they won’t penetrate the stains. Also, as with any hard substance like soap, the way it is applied will cause you to use too much pressure and force. This is sure to cause the rubbing motion that we keep warning you not to do.

Don’t Wash It without a Stain Removing Agent

Most normal laundry detergents on the market today are made with color-preserving chemicals which are specifically designed to keep the color intact. This is great if you are trying to keep your son’s soccer jersey bright and colorful, but if you are trying to remove the unwanted color from last night’s wine spill, this is a very bad idea. Make sure you use a stain removing agent such as Oxi Clean to help penetrate and lift the stain from the fabric.

Don’t Put It in the Dryer Until the Stain Is Completely Removed

Putting a piece of clothing in the dryer with a stain on it is the worst thing you can do. The dry heat from the dryer will cause the stain to set into place permanently. When you’re trying to figure out how to remove wine stains, you should give yourself all the chances you can to get it right. Putting your clothes into a dryer before the stain is removed will ruin your chances of being successful.

Don’t Mix Products

It’s no secret that chemical products can be dangerous if the wrong ones are mixed together. When you are deciding how to remove wine stains, make a game plan before you start and then stick to your plan. If something isn’t working, rinse it out with warm water before trying the next stain removing agent. The last thing you need is to make your problem worse by causing a chemical reaction. You may end up ruining the fabric by burning or melting it, or you may end up causing physical harm to your body. Please be very careful when choosing chemical products to help you remove stains.

If you do make a mistake and find that you’ve created a chemical reaction that is bigger than you can handle, call your local emergency services or poison control number immediately. You want to make sure to take care of yourself first and get the proper care needed, especially if the chemicals have made contact with your skin, nose, mouth, or eyes.

Don’t Pick the Wrong Product for Your Stain or Fabric

Be careful to make sure you don’t use the wrong stain removing products on your special fabrics. If your favorite clothes are made of silk or wool, you’ll need to make sure you don’t apply anything made of enzymes. This is because Enzymes break down protein fibers as they work. Silk and wool are actually woven protein fibers. You will find this to be true with any fabrics that come from animals. Cotton and other plant-based fabrics are different and may be ok to use with enzyme-based cleaning products.

Stain Fighting Products You May Want to Try

Sometimes, those pesky stains are just too much for the average household cleaner. If you have looked up how to remove wine stains and tried a few of the trusted methods, but you’re still struggling to get that spot off of your jacket, it may be time to turn to commercial products. While DIY projects can be fun and can elicit a sense of accomplishment, sometimes it takes certain chemicals to get the job done. Below we have listed some of the most popular products on the market which have been specifically made for this purpose.

Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover

Wine Away can be bought for less than $20. This product uses a methylcyclohexane which is an organic solvent to penetrate into the pores of the fabric and wash away all the color. This is a great product if you are trying to remove a stain from cotton or polyester clothing. This product comes in a variety of sizes, so you could even carry the travel-sized bottle with you when you are out an about or away from home for extended periods of time. It will be a relief to know that you don’t have to wait until you get home to take care of that ugly stain.

Wine away has many good reviews and is well-known as a top product for removing wine stains.

Wine Enthusiast Wine B’ Gone Ultra

You can purchase Wine Enthusiast Wine B’ Gone Ultra for about $20. This product is very helpful for both hard and soft surfaces so that makes it perfect for articles of clothing. The only complaints about the product were that it can produce a lot of suds in the process. This shouldn’t be a problem for clothes since you can just throw it in the washing machine after removing the stain, but it may be an issue other surfaces like the carpet. This product is also great on other types of stains, like the ones caused by fruit or coffee.

Gonzo Wine Out Stain Remover

Gonzo Wine Out Stain Remover is one of the cheapest products on the market that has been created specifically for the purpose of removing wine stains. It can be purchased online for about $6. While it may be cost-effective, it does come with an industrial odor which has been described by some as “pungent.” The squeeze bottle type of dispenser makes Gonzo Wine Out Stain Remover easy to use and many reviewers online found it to be highly effective. Many people have used this product to remove wine stains from carpets as well.

Wine Off

Wine Off can be purchased for about $12. The product uses bacteria and enzymes to remove stains. However, be careful to check the labels on the packaging for directions. Enzymes are not good for all products—especially animal-based products—so Wine Off might not be the solution to remove a stain from your silk scarf. The interesting thing about Wine Off is that the company that makes this product is actually better known for their product that removes urine stains. We think that it makes sense that a company that specializes in removing an acidic substance would also be good at cleaning up wine spills.

Chateau Spill

This product has very interesting origins as it was first developed to help scientists remove stains from their hands after working in the lab. This background warrants this product to be appropriate enough to be used on skin and detailed enough to be a powerful stain agent. These scientists wanted a product that fought the stains at the molecular and cellular level. Chateau spill can be purchased online for about $8.

Conclusion

wine glass and how to remove wine stains

Wine stains are known best for their ability to ruin the most special occasions. No one wants to deal with a big red spot on their favorite blouse in the middle of their dinner party. Even though this isn’t the topic anyone wants to discuss, you’ll be glad you know how to remove wine stains from your favorite clothes when you need this particular bit of wisdom. Hopefully, we’ve provided some helpful tips so that you can get back to the things that matter most quickly and you won’t have to deal with an ugly stain forever.

Take care to pay attention to the various methods of removing stains. You don’t want to use the wrong chemical on the wrong kind of fabric and you don’t want to do anything which may prevent you from being able to remove the stain. Knowing the different types of wine, how wine is made, how different fabrics hold stains, and what chemicals work best will help you as you decide how to remove wine stains from your clothes.

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