Cleaning Guides

How to Get Red Wine Out of Sofa

So, someone got a little bit over-excited at the dinner party, and as a result, you ended up with a red wine stain on your sofa. And now, apart from cleaning up after the party, you have soiled furniture to take care of. 

We don’t want to scare you, but the red wine pigment sets rather quickly, therefore, you need to act as soon as possible. But don’t you worry, with the right tips and tricks, you can easily remove that pesky wine stain from your sofa in no time!

So, if you:

  • Have discovered a red wine stain on your sofa after a dinner party;
  • Are searching for tips on how to remove a red wine stain from a couch;
  • Want to know how to remove the stain without making it worse,

Then read on for our top tips that will ensure your sofa looks good as new!

Understanding red wine stains

To remove red wine spots effectively, it is important to understand the science behind the stains in general. By their nature, stains are divided into four different categories: enzymatic, oxidisable, greasy, and particulate. 

Depending on the category, you will need to use different cleaning agents. For example, greasy spots are better removed with a help of surfactants, enzymatic ones with enzymes, and particulate stains are removed with so-called ‘builders’.

Red wine falls into the oxidisable stains category, therefore, the best solution to remove it will be an oxidising cleaning agent, such as hydrogen peroxide or bleach

Helpful tips before cleaning wine stains

Tip #1. React as fast as possible. Wipe up wine spills immediately to prevent them from setting in your couch fabric. Blot the liquid up with a paper towel or a rag to remove some of it before it dries. This will save you some time cleaning up afterwards.

Tip #2. Blot, not rub. You should use gentle blotting motions. This will prevent the stain from penetrating deeper into the upholstery fabric, making it much easier to remove the spot in case it sets in.

Tip #3. Work your way to the centre. If you want to keep your wine stain in check, start from the edges and work inwards. Cleaning the red wine stain that way, you prevent it from spreading all around the sofa. 

Tip #4. Different materials require different cleaning methods. Check the labels on your sofa, if there are any, to find out the most suitable cleaning method for it. If you are not sure about the interpretations of the labels, check our helpful post on the topic: 

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Tip #5. “Lift” the stain from the fabric with salt. While the stain is fresh, generously apply salt on it. Because salt has absorbing properties, it will “draw” the wine out of sofa fabric and save you from creating even more mess. 

Don’t just start rubbing the salt in – let it sit on the sofa fabric for a few minutes, and remove it with a dry cloth or a vacuum cleaner. This small ritual will not remove the stain completely but will prepare it for further cleaning. 

Tip #6. Spot testing. Before treating the red wine stain, test your cleaner on a small hidden part of your upholstery item for colour fading. It’s often easier to remove a stain from a couch than a faded couch from the house. 

How do you get red wine stains out of upholstery?

Now that you have finished with all the preparations, it is time to get the actual job done. There are several different ways you can get a red wine stain out of the sofa, depending on the type of upholstery material and the severity of the stain. Let’s take a look at them:

Oxi cleaners

Remember we talked about oxidising cleaning agents? Sodium percarbonate in commercial cleaners and bleaches when mixed with water releases hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is exactly the agent that can break down the colouring chemicals of the stain and remove it. 

Time needed: 30 minutes.

So, to clean the red wine stain with sodium percarbonate, you need to:

  1. Apply the cleaner to the stain.

    Depending on the form of your oxi cleaner, you need to check the application instructions. The instructions might say to spray the solution, or if you have a powdered cleaner, distribute the powder evenly on the stain; 

  2. Leave the cleaner to work.

    Check the instructions for the exact waiting time. Usually, it should take from 5 to 10 minutes;

  3. Blot the stain with a dampened cloth (optional).

    Different cleaning solutions require a different approach, therefore, check the instructions (yes, we won’t get tired of repeating it, because it’s important!) to know what to do exactly;

  4. Vacuum the sofa.

    If you have a dry-cleaning powder, then vacuuming is an essential step. In other cases, wait until your sofa dries and finish up the cleaning with a vacuum cleaner. 

Dishwashing liquid and hydrogen peroxide

If you don’t have an oxi cleaner on you, you can try removing the dry red wine spots with more available household items, like hydrogen peroxide and dishwashing liquid.  

Hydrogen peroxide has oxidising properties, however, they are not as effective as the ready cleaners. The issue lies in the fact that the peroxide doesn’t function well unless you wash the stain with hot water (not less than 40˚C). This is where dishwashing liquid comes in handy. 

So, now that we know how it works, let’s get to cleaning:

  1. Prepare the mixture.
    Mix hydrogen peroxide with dish soap in a 3:1 ratio; 
  2. Apply the solution to the stain.
    With the help of a sponge, apply the mixture to the wine stain and let it work for 15 – 20 minutes; 
  3. Blot the stain with a wet cloth.
    Take a clean wet cloth and dab the area until the solution is fully removed.
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Soda water

If you have just spilt some wine, club soda is your chance to resolve the situation. This method requires some patience, but believe us, it’s worth it. Pouring some club soda on top of the fresh red wine spot will prevent it from setting and turning into a long-lasting one. 

Tip: To remove more stubborn stains, you can pour some hydrogen peroxide over the club soda to enhance its cleaning abilities.

  1. Blot the spilt wine.
    Collect as much wine as you can with a clean cloth or paper towels;
  2. Pour some club soda.
    As soon as you cover the stain with soda, start blotting it up with a clean cloth;
  3. Repeat the steps above.
    Continue pouring and blotting the club soda until you see that the stain is gone. Bear in mind that your absorbent towel or a cloth will soon start getting saturated with red wine. Be prepared to grab a new one, or use A LOT of paper towels. 

Vinegar and baking soda

Vinegar and baking soda are those two ingredients in your pantry that can clean a significant number of stains in your house, including wee stains. By combining these two regular household items, you will be able to remove the wine stain as well. Just a sprinkle of patience and the stain will be gone in no time. To clean red wine stains with vinegar and baking soda, you need to:

  1. Spread the baking soda.
    Cover the wine stain with a fair amount of baking soda.
  2. Pour white vinegar.
    Using a spoon, apply the vinegar on top of the baking powder. The mixture will bubble, don’t get scared.
  3. Vacuum the leftovers.
    Once the solution has dried, collect the dried paste with a vacuum cleaner. As an alternative, you can use a dampened cloth to rinse the cleaning solution off.
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Get professional help 

A little bit of wine can make your day brighter, just not when it’s spilt all over your upholstery item. And as you might have noticed, it takes a lot of time and effort to clean it up by yourself. Not to mention that you might ruin your sofa in the DIY attempt to remove the stain. 

This is why a great solution will be to get your sofa professionally cleaned. Fantastic Services offers expert upholstery cleaning with the Hot Water Extraction method. This solution is quite effective not only for common household stains but also for the grime and dust our upholstery items can accumulate over time. If you want your soft furnishings to look fresh and free of stains, contact us today to schedule a professional upholstery cleaning!

Need a professional to take care of the stains?

Find one in your area, now!

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  • Red wine is an oxidisable stain, therefore you’ll want to use a mild bleach or hydrogen peroxide to effectively remove the red wine stain;
  • The effect from cleaning will be better if you clean the stain as soon as possible;
  • Never rub the stain, as you risk soiling your couch forever;
  • Always check for the cleaning labels on your sofa, as it might require special treatment.

And if your party had chocolate cake and someone accidentally dropped some on the couch, then we recommend checking out our helpful post on how to clean chocolate stains out of a sofa.


We hope you found this post helpful! And if you want to share your experience with our readers, go ahead and do it in the comments below!

Image source: Shutterstock / Vershinin89

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