As we all know, spilt milk is nothing to cry about. Red wine spilt on a pale coloured or white carpet may seem like altogether another matter. The horror of the moment is not hard to conjure in the imagination. You have friends over for a dinner party. You’ve finished eating and are enjoying reminiscing and sharing tales over a few more bottles of wine. As a particularly exciting point in a story – the narrator stands and begins to gesticulate – wine glass still in hand. Perhaps he stumbles; perhaps someone leaves to use the bathroom and he tries to step aside. It makes no difference. The result is the same: the world seems to slow as you watch the wine glass slip from his fingers and slowly tumble to the floor. There is stunned silence as you all take in the dark stain spreading at his feet. You know the next minutes are crucial if you are going to salvage your carpet, but what should your next move be?
The first thing to do in this situation is to blot up the excess liquid using a paper towel or a cloth. If using a cloth, ensure that it does not contain fabric dye that could leach out onto the carpet worsening the stain. Blot form the outside edges in to prevent the stain form spreading, and make sure that you never use a scrubbing motion. Scrubbing will only work the stain deeper into the carpet fibres; you want it to stay as close to the surface as possible so that it can be easily lifted out. Once the excess moisture has been dabbed up, there are several ‘next steps’ you could choose to take. Below are our top three tried and tested methods for removing red wine from carpets, and the great news is that none of them require strong, expensive, dangerous chemicals.
As incredible as it seems, the tannins in white wine somehow neutralise those in red wine. The upshot of this is that pouring white wine on a fresh red wine spill will counteract the staining and allow you to soak all of the unwanted red wine colour out of your carpet with a dry cloth. All you need to do is to pour white wine over the stained area and wait for around 10 – 20 minutes. Then use a dry cloth to blot up the remaining moisture. There are two downsides to this. The first is the smell. While white wine will remove the colour, you will still need to scrub the carpet with laundry detergent to remove the lingering odour. Secondly… well, who has a bottle of white wine lying around that they were planning to pour on the floor? This is only really a useful solution if you have both bottles of white wine and red wine open and to hand. Even then, if it’s a good vintage, it may seem like a waste.
A second solution is to use white vinegar to remove the discolouration caused by a red wine spillage. White vinegar works in a similar way to white wine, but we are usually much more willing to pour this on the floor since it is both cheaper and less appealing to drink. Vinegar has the same issue as white wine in that it leaves a strong smell. To reduce this effect and increase its stain removing power, it is a good idea to make a solution that consists of 1tbsp white vinegar, 1tbsp dishwashing liquid, and 2 cups of warm water. This should work a treat and leave your carpet smelling fresh.
Salt – it’s basically magic!
Our number one, all-time best method to clean up a red win spill – is salt. This is cheap, easy, hassle free, and it does not smell! It is also pretty amazing to witness how it works. The method is very easy. After dabbing up the excess wine with a cloth or paper towel – pour salt on the stained area. Pour a good thick layer of salt on – don’t be sparing. In fact, when it looks like you have the stain good and covered, go ahead and pour on a bit more. Then – leave it. Some people say that the stain can be cleaned up after half an hour – but we wouldn’t like to chance it. The one issue with this solution is that you cannot see the extent to which it is working. We recommend leaving the salt in place overnight – for at least 8 hours. After this time, you can simply hoover it up and the stain will have disappeared. It really is like magic.