An evening with friends, a great dinner, good conversation over a few drinks – and then disaster! Someone knocks over a glass of red wine and that carpet of yours, the one you so carefully cleaned and vacuumed earlier in the day, looks like it’s burst an artery.
Your heart sinks. You picture yourself having to live with a messy pink smear in the middle of your lounge for years to come. You start thinking about throw rugs and the cost of a carpet repair man. You worry that whatever you do it’ll never look the same.
But all this despair is unnecessary. You can save your carpet. All you have to do is act quickly and follow the tips below.
Speed is the Key
Attacking the wine stain while it is still wet greatly improves your chances of getting it out. I know it’s likely you’ll have had a few glasses of the vino by the time the accident occurs, but throw off that carefree glow for ten minutes and you’ll be a lot happier with yourself in the morning.
Blot, Don’t Scrub
First, using a clean cloth or kitchen towels, blot up as much of the wine as you can. Use a dabbing, pressing motion. Do not scrub – this will drive the stain deeper into the carpet. Working from the outside in will help to stop the stain from spreading.
Now you have two choices. Which one you use will probably depend on what ingredients you have available in the kitchen cupboard.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Dishwashing Liquid
Mix together half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and half a cup of clear dishwashing liquid. Take a sponge and dab this mixture on to the stain. Continue to do this until the stain lifts.
As hydrogen peroxide causes mild bleaching this technique is best suited for light-coloured carpets. Whatever the colour of your carpet, though, test the solution first on an inconspicuous section to ensure it does not produce an undesirable result.
After the stain has lifted, thoroughly rinse the affected area with warm (not hot) water. You can use a mister bottle or a sponge for this. Blot and repeat until all the detergent mixture has been removed.
Soda Water and Salt
An alternative technique, and one which is gentler on your carpet, involves soda water and salt. You’ve heard Americans on TV yell for “club soda” to cure a stain. Well, what they call club soda is really soda water, and it can be very effective for dealing with red wine.
When using this technique it is particularly important to begin work on the stain immediately.
After blotting up as much of the wine as possible, pour soda water liberally onto the stain. The bubbles will help loosen the wine from the fibres of the carpet.
When the soda water has soaked into the carpet, cover the stained area with salt. And here we’re not just talking a sprinkle. You need a good heaping handful of the stuff – enough so that a thick layer covers the entire stain.
Now you can go back to your evening and pour yourself another glass of wine as there’s nothing more you can do until the salt has dried completely and absorbed the wine pigment from the carpet.
When the salt is dry simply sweep up the bulk of it with a brush and pan, then finish off with a thorough vacuuming.
Two Simple Methods
These two methods of emergency response to red wine spillage are simple, cheap and effective. With nothing more than what you can find under the sink in most households you can save your carpet from the effects of the calamitous combination of too much wine and slippery fingers.
Learn more about removing red wine stains in this video.