Red wine is one of life's pleasures that is hard to do without. It's the perfect complement to a hearty pasta, a delicious steak, or a piece—or five—of dark chocolate and is even good for your gut. But as any vino drinker knows, it only takes one wrong move to splash your drink onto your clothing and stain it burgundy.
If you usually resign to tossing an item after it's been tinged red, we've got good news: There's still time to make that stain budge. We searched high and low to bring you foolproof ways to treat red wine stains—some using common cleaners you'll likely already have in the house and others that are worth stocking up on ahead of the next vino emergency.
Before you apply any of these removers, always remember the first rule of wine stains: Never, ever rub the stain; do gently blot it with cool water; and do not put it in the dryer until you've treated it, as heat sets stains. Also, the sooner you treat any spot, the greater your likelihood of getting it out.
There's no need to switch to white—these are the four best stain removers every red wine drinker should know.
Dishwashing Liquid and Hydrogen Peroxide
You likely have these cleaning products in the house already—the first for washing dishes and the latter for cleaning wounds. Simply mix together three parts hydrogen peroxide with one part dish soap and pour it on top of the stain (the combination of the two breaks up the color of the drink). Continue to add more of the solution until the stain disappears… no scrubbing necessary.
Salt and Hot Water
"The first and easiest thing to do is to sprinkle with salt as this will absorb the wine," says Ingrid Johnson, professor and assistant chairperson of textile development and marketing at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Allow the salt to sit on the garment for about five minutes, she says, then put boiling water on it. Pour the water from about eight inches or so above the garment—the height allows you to "push" the wine out of the fabric. Then, wash as normal.
The Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar is one of those stain removers you should have in the house at all times (it may have saved one of our white rugs from hot sauce not too long ago). To remove red wine, wet the item that's dirty, rub the bar directly onto the stain, rinse, and then wash as normal (the solvents in the bar are made to dissolve stains). Sidenote: It's so strong that it treats poison ivy, so you're in the right hands with this stuff.
Stain Remover Spray
The stain remover spray Wine Away was literally designed for wine stains in particular. Spray the affected area liberally, and simply let it be for about 20 minutes (make sure you put a piece of cardboard or another barrier between the stained and unstained sides to avoid spreading the stain). If you see the color change from red or pink to blue, just keep waiting. Rinse a bit, repeat spraying if necessary, and watch the stain go away before your eyes.
Be sure to read about the top green cleaning products, and tell us your best tricks for getting red wine out of clothes in the comments.