How to Remove Red Wine Stains From Carpet
LAST UPDATED: JANUARY 29, 2023
When a wine spill lands in your carpet, it can either become a wine spot or a wine stain. Wine spots can be easily removed by cleaning the affected area with a spotter. Wine stains are more difficult to remove and occur when the red wine pigments/dyes become permanently bonded to the carpet fibers.
This article will demonstrate how professional carpet cleaners remove both wine spots and wine stains from carpet. The two methods demonstrated on this page will remove far more than just wine stains. If fact, with these methods, you will be able to remove nearly any kind of spot or stain from carpet.
Regardless of whether you are dealing with a wine spot or a wine stain, you should always start by cleaning the wine spill with a spotter. After cleaning the affected area with a spotter, if there is still a red colored stain in the carpet, proceed to the next step – stain removal.
Step 1: Remove Wine SPOTS From Carpet
As a first step a spotter should always be used to try and clean the wine out of the carpet. Wine contains a lot of sugars and dyes, and a good spot removal method should remove all or most of the sugars and dyes from the carpet. In fact, if a good spot removal method is used, most of the time stain removal (step 2) wont even be necessary.
The most important item that you will need for spot removal is a good quality spotter. There are many kinds of store-bought carpet spotters that work reasonably well for this. Resolve, Spot Shot, Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover or TriNova Spot Remover are a few good options. These common spotters require the use of a white cloth to blot the wine spot/stain after applying the spotter. If you are using store bought spotters, follow the directions as indicated on the bottle.
Alternatively, a homemade spotter can be used instead of a store bought spotter. I have a great homemade spotter recipe that I call DIY Spotter. Click here to learn how to make and use DIY Spotter, or watch the video below to learn how to make it!
If you are dealing with a large wine spill, I recommend using a mini wet/dry vacuum to suck, rinse and extract the wine and spotter solution from the carpet. Professional carpet cleaners use high powered truck mount wet vacuums to suck all the soils, spots, and stains out of your carpet. Your average person can easily copy this method for spot removal by simply using a mini wet/dry vacuum!
Step 2: Remove Wine STAINS From Carpet
Stain removal is the main topic of this article. Google searches and YouTube videos generally only show wine spot removal methods. What they don't tell you is that wine can also cause a permanent stain that is more difficult to remove. The stain removal method below is commonly used by professional carpet cleaners, but can be used by absolutely anyone!
If you have completed step 1 (spot removal), and were left with a permanent red stain in your carpet, then this next step is an important one! If the wine stain has completely come out of the carpet, then this second step is not necessary and can be skipped.
Sometimes dyes from foods and beverages, like red wine, can bond to carpet fibers resulting in permanent discoloration of our carpet. Imagine millions of tiny microscopic red dye molecules clinging to the carpet fibers and refusing to let go. Essentially, these wine pigments have permanently dyed the carpet.
Sometimes pigments stick to the surface of the carpet, and sometimes they don't. This can depend on how old the stain is, type of carpet, if the carpet had a stain resistant coating, and even the temperature of the wine when it was spilt.
So what is stain removal? Well, stain removal is the process of destroying pigments that are permanently stuck in the carpet.
Wine gets its red color from anthocyanin pigments, and these pigments have color thanks to their unique molecular shape. Stain removal is a chemical reaction that will break these pigment molecules into pieces. Once the pigments have been broken into pieces, they lose their color properties and the stain disappears!
For wine stain removal, you will need 6% hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a color safe bleach and is safe to use on colored carpets.
Where can I buy 6% hydrogen peroxide? You are probably familiar with the 3% hydrogen peroxide that you can buy from the drug store. 6% is similar to 3%, however, it is twice as concentrated, and works significantly better for stain removal purposes. I recommend using 6% salon grade hydrogen peroxide, also known as 20 Volume Clear Developer.
In the demo below, household ammonia will be used in tandem with hydrogen peroxide. Household ammonia cleaner has a high pH and it will boost the hydrogen peroxide performance.
Step 1 – Using a spray bottle, saturate the stained area with 6% hydrogen peroxide.
Step 2 – Fill a second spray bottle with household ammonia cleaner. Add a few sprays of household ammonia cleaner to the stained area. Household ammonia cleaner has a strong odor. The odor will go away fairly quickly as the ammonia evaporates and escapes to the atmosphere. If the odor is at all irritating to you, leave the room after adding the ammonia to the carpet. This method typically does not work without household ammonia, as the ammonia activates the hydrogen peroxide.
Step 3 – Allow the hydrogen peroxide and ammonia to dwell for at least 8 hours, or until the stain disappears.
Step 4 – This is what the wine stain looks like after 8 hours. You can see that the wine pigments that had bonded to the carpet fibers have started to break down. If the stain persists, dry the carpet with a towel, and repeat steps 1 to 3.
Step 5 – When the stain has completely vanished, dry the carpet with a white towel and that is it! Both hydrogen peroxide and household ammonia will break down into gasses and escape to the atmosphere, so there will be zero chemical residue left in your carpet after using this method!
Step 6 – Make sure you check out the video instructions below for a full demo of wine spot and stain removal!
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Do not dilute the 6% hydrogen peroxide or household ammonia.
Do not use this method on fine materials such as wool, silk, or other natural fibers. Contact a professional cleaner when cleaning such materials.
test this method in an inconspicuous area on your carpet before using. This can be done on a piece of scrap carpet, or in the corner of a closet.
Do not use this method in direct sunlight. Close the blinds in your home before using hydrogen peroxide on your carpet.
When using household ammonia, it is best to open a window for ventilation. Household ammonia has a pungent odor and can be slightly irritating on the eyes.
The odor caused by the household ammonia will disappear quickly. Once the carpet is dry, the odor will disappear completely. After applying the household ammonia, it is best to leave the room for 10-15 minutes, while the odor is strongest.
To keep them safe, keep your children, and pets in another room while using hydrogen peroxide and household ammonia cleaner.
Household ammonia does not have to be rinsed from the carpet after cleaning because it completely evaporates (turns into ammonia gas) and escapes to the atmosphere.
Hydrogen peroxide does not have to be rinsed from the carpet because it completely breaks down into oxygen and water.
Hydrogen peroxide and ammonia will leave zero residue in the carpet after using (which makes this method very safe for children, people, and pets)
Never mix household ammonia cleaner with bleach. This mixture produces a toxic gas called chloramine that can cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
Use these methods at your own risk!
Let me know if you have any questions by using the contact me page, or by commenting on the YouTube video above. I'm always happy to help!