red wine stain on sofa

How to get red wine stains out of your sofa

23rd June 2021

Any kind of stain on your sofa is generally bad news, but red wine in particular can be a total nightmare. In fact, it’s widely regarded to be one of the most troublesome of common stains, right up there alongside coffee. That’s largely because they both contain tannins, the tiny biomolecules that give them their strong colour – a strong colour which can all too easily end up setting into your removable sofa covers, or even into the fabric of your sofa itself.

Just to complicate matters, red wine sets very rapidly, and once it has it can be nigh-on impossible to remove. So once you have a spill, it’s really important to take action as quickly as you can. We’ve got a couple of suggestions for how to tackle that problem below. Before we go any further though, we have to say that they are exactly that – just suggestions. Ultimately, you’re the best person to judge what will or won’t work for your sofa, so here at Cover My Furniture we can’t be held responsible if any of these solutions don’t quite yield the results you want.

With that said, they generally all have a very good track record, so if you decide they’re worth a shot, you might be surprised at what they can achieve!

Damage control

Now, we’ve just talked about the importance of acting quickly, and red wine can set in seconds. So, to give yourself a bit more time to make a decision on the best way to tackle it, first you’ll need to limit the amount of wine that actually sets in to your sofa as best you can. Here’s one of the best ways to do that.

What you’ll need:

A clean cloth
A clothing remover spray / spray bottle of sparkling water
Salt (optional)

How to do it

1. First things first. Get a clean cloth or some paper towels – preferably plain, and not patterned. Use them in conjunction with a clothing stain remover to dab the wine stain, soaking up as much of the excess liquid as possible. Have extra cloths or towels on hand – if your first cloth gets to the point where it can’t absorb any more liquid, all you’ll be doing is dabbing more red wine onto your sofa again.

2. If you don’t have a clothing stain remover, you can spray sparkling water instead.

3. Alternatively, you can use salt. While this won’t solve the problem entirely by itself, what it can do is slow down the rate at which the wine soaks into your sofa. Essentially, it prevents the wine from setting properly, as you use your cloth to soak up excess liquid. It should buy you a bit of time until you’re able to sort out a proper cleaning solution.

4. Don’t forget that when it comes to red wine, as with all tough stains, the important thing is to dab it rather than rub it, so that you’re not scrubbing it further into the fabric. And of course, work from the outside in, so you’re not spreading the ink out to other parts of your sofa!

Hydrogen peroxide

You probably know already that different types of stains need different types of cleaning agents due to the types of chemicals involved. Red wine stains are classed as oxidisable, which means that they’re best tackled with oxidising cleaning agents like hydrogen peroxide or bleach. It’s not as easy to get hold of as some other materials we’ve suggested in this post, as you’ll normally need to source it from specialist cleaning retailers or online stores, but trust us – it’s a good one to have on hand for future stains and spills!

What you’ll need:

Hydrogen peroxide
Baking soda

How to do it

1. Obviously, hydrogen peroxide is exceptionally strong stuff, so the first thing you’ll need to do is test it on a discreet area of your sofa. This way, you can be sure that your fabric won’t run or fade – neither of which you’ll want on an easily visible area! Like all types of bleach, hydrogen peroxide is very corrosive, so make sure to be exceptionally careful with it.

2. Once you’re sure it’s not going to damage your sofa, spray your hydrogen peroxide over the red wine stain so that it’s completely covered

3. Then, sprinkle a smattering or baking soda over the top of it, which will effectively lift the stain.

4. Leave it to sit for a short while, and then finally rinse it with cold water. Voilà!

White wine

Let’s be honest, if somebody’s spilled some red wine, chances are that there’s also some white wine immediately in the vicinity too. Using white wine to clean red wine sounds like one of those suspicious old wives’ tales, but surprisingly enough, it does actually work! This is largely because the enzyme in white wine neutralises the stain caused by red wine, by stripping the dark pigment from it, making the latter easier to remove from your sofa.

What you’ll need:

A small amount of white wine (depending on the size and depth of the stain)
Baking soda

How to do it

1. Pour a very small amount of white wine over the stain, just enough to cover it. It probably goes without saying, but – be conservative! It’s better to slowly add a little more rather than immediately add too much. Make sure to do it before the red wine sets.
2. Next, blot the liquid up with a cloth, using that same gentle dabbing motion and working from the outside in. If you can still see the stain once you’re done, then add a little baking soda as required. This will raise the pigment of the stain, making it even easier to clear up.

Washing up liquid

If you can rely on it to strip the toughest stains from your pans and crockery, you bet your bottom dollar that it can do wonders for red wine stains too.

What you’ll need:

Washing up liquid
Cold water

How to do it

1. Start by mixing one part washing up liquid with two parts cold water
2. Dip a sponge in that solution, and blot it until the liquid is entirely absorbed, and the stain is gone

Again, the main thing to do is ensure that you react quickly, and trust your gut – go with what you think will work best. You may find you even need to use a combination of several techniques to fully tackle it. If you decide not to risk any of them, or you’ve not been able to fully remove the stain, then you’ve still got options – you can always simply cover it with a loose sofa cover from us right here at Cover My Furniture. We take care to provide a comprehensive range of sofa covers, chair covers and more in a wide variety of colours to choose from, so that you’ll always be able to find plenty of options to suit you.

And if you’re having trouble making a decision, or you’re looking for something in particular, don’t hesitate to let one of us know. You can get in touch using the contact form on our website, or through our Facebook or Instagram. We’re always happy to hear from you!

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