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Fearing the Wine Stain?
On the stain scale, red wine stains are perhaps the most dreaded.  Requiring quick action and notoriously tough to remove, many a table cloth has been trashed as a result of the combination of red wine and an over-enthusiastic toast or an errant elbow. 

However, red wine stains can be removed with care and attention, and the recommended steps really depend on the material that’s been stained.  Here are some ideas and suggestions to try.

The best general advice when it comes to removal of red wine is to act immediately. The longer a stain sits, the harder it will be to remove.  This is true of most stains, but particularly of red wine spills.

Commercial products can sometimes do an excellent job of removing red wine stains, but there are also homemade versions if you don't have the other on hand.

Fabric (Washable)
1. Blot the stain with paper towels immediately.  Make sure the paper towels are white as coloured ones might leak colour onto the fabric.  And try to avoid scrubbing too hard as this can push the stain deeper into the fabric. 

2. Combine 1 teaspoon laundry soap or dish soap and 1 cup hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl. Soak a clean sponge in the mixture, squeeze it until half the liquid is gone and then gently blot the stain. It’s always a good idea to test this mixture on the garment or fabric somewhere that is not visible first to ensure that it doesn’t adversely affect the material.

If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide, try blotting the wine spill with an absorbent cloth and then sponge with carbonated soda water.

3. If the stain has not penetrated through to the back of a garment, place a dry towel or washcloth between the front and back of the garment to prevent the stain from seeping through to the back of the material.

4. Review the washing instructions on the label of the fabric and follow any special care instructions.  Wash in cool water and air dry if the fabric is machine-washable.  Wash gently in the sink with a mild detergent if the fabric is hand-wash only.

Fabric (Dry Clean Only)
For those delicate fabrics that don’t take well to anything but dry cleaning, quick action is really the best solution.  Blot the stain immediately with an absorbent cloth or paper towels and then get it to the cleaners as fast as you can. Pretreatment of the stain might cause irreversible damage and the dry cleaner may then not be able to remove the stain.

1. Blot the spill with paper towels or a clean cloth.

2. Combine 1 teaspoon carpet shampoo or dish soap and 1 cup hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl. Soak a clean sponge in the mixture, squeeze it until half the liquid is gone and then gently blot the stain.  Continue until the stain lifts.  Again, you can try carbonated soda water if you don’t have hydrogen peroxide. 

If the stain persists, a solution of equal parts glycerin and water can be used on the stain for up to an hour, then rinse off and blot well. Another option is using foam shaving cream, which has been known to lift the wine out of the carpet, and then rinse with cool water. If this does not work, a commercial stain-removal product might save the day.

3. Sponge the stained area with warm water.

4. Blot dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.

With quick action and perseverance, the red wine stain need not be the end of a garment or table cloth.  Just watch those elbows!