If you drink red wine, inevitably you spill some of it. On your clothes. On your tablecloth. On your carpet.
Take heart, red wine stains are not the heart-halting débâcle you imagine. Especially if you act quickly to remedy your ghastly gaffe. Some tips:
• No matter what you spill it on, take swift action. Use a paper towel, clean cloth, or clean sponge to absorb as much wine as possible. Blot, do not scrub.
• On light-colored clothes, mix equal parts of dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide. Pour the mixture on the stain and let it soak. The stain should fade quickly. Then launder as you normally do.
• On darker-colored clothes, cover the stain with white vinegar to neutralize the red and purple pigments. Rub in liquid detergent immediately after applying the vinegar. Launder in hot water.
• Use bleach on white, bleachable fabrics. Soak the fabric in bleach for 5-10 minutes, check to see the stain is gone, then launder in hot water.
• Boiling water can rescue your tablecloth. Boil water in a tea kettle. Put a large bowl in the sink, stretch the part with the stain over the bowl, keeping it taught with a rubber band or some other method. It is important for the fabric to be taut. Pour the boiling water directly on the stain with the pot about a foot above the taut cloth.
• On carpet, cover the entire stain with salt until you cannot see the stain. Let the salt soak on the stain until the salt is dry. Vacuum up the salt.
• Baking soda can work on both carpets and clothes. Liberally cover the stain with baking soda and add a small amount of water—just enough to smooth it out as a paste. Let the paste dry completely, then vacuum the carpet or launder the clothes or tablecloth.
• There are several commercial products available with the usual plethora of promises. In online reviews, Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover was a consistent winner.
If red wine stains are a recurring vexation, consider drinking white wine.
• Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard Riesling Beacon Hill Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton 2019: Exuberantly ripe fruit inundates your palate, balanced by topflight acidity. $21-26 Link to my review
• Marchesi Frescobaldi Tenuta Perano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015: Punch and power paired with elegance and easy drinkability. $30-40 Link to my review
Last round: Pessimist: “My wine glass is half empty.” Optimist: “My wine glass is half full.” Realist: “My wine glass needs a refill, and you can leave the bottle here.”