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Remove Red Wine Stains from Clothing

Updated on May 1, 2017

Spilled red wine? No Problem! Use Vodka!

This really happened just last week.

I was at my friend's beach house for a girls' retreat. In our group, that usually means a lot of red wine. Late one evening, I managed to slosh an entire glass all over my brand new light peach cotton shirt. It looked like something died and bled all over me. I just knew the shirt was ruined forever so I changed and threw the poor shirt in a pile. While cleaning up that night, I googled ways to remove red wine stains. Everyone had a theory or a concoction to mix. We were in no condition to drive so we had to work with what we found in the condo.

I found a site where people were arguing about whether vodka would work to remove the stain. t this point my shirt had been in a pile for over an hour and the stain was pretty much dry. Since it was, in my mind, already ruined, there was no harm experimenting. I'm going to share our method and the results here.

First we thoroughly doused the stains (and they were many - large and small) with vodka and patted it in. Not convinced that was enough, we also poured a little generic seltzer water over some of the stains (there wasn't enough seltzer to do all of them). We put a little Dawn dishwashing detergent on a few as well, just for experimentation. We then put the shirt in the apartment washer and washed on cold with a tiny bit of Tide (there wasn't much of that either).

At that point we kind of forgot about it and went to bed. The next morning, I was hesitant to check - but upon removing the shirt, I realized that the only stain remaining was a very faint one on the cuff. All evidence of other stains was completely gone! The shirt would have been wearable at that point - no one would have seen that very faint stain - but we decided to go ahead and try to remove that too. All we had left was the vodka, so we once again doused the remaining stain with Vodka (only vodka - nothing else) and put it back in the washer, poured a tiny bit of Tide (what was left) in with it and washed on hot.

20 minutes later, there was no stain at all. My shirt was completely clean! We had no idea this would work. I don't know if this would work on all fabrics, but it definitely worked on cotton knit.

I wish we'd taken pictures of the before and after - but we didn't have the foresight to do that. I hope there's no next time, but if there is, I will take photos and post them here.

Hope this helps someone else!

© 2014 bbray

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