Red wine and white carpet

Red wine spill (Photo: Carpet Cleaning Techs Book website)

A recent survey by Carpet Court revealed that people who live in Hawke’s Bay are 37.5% more likely to spill red wine on their carpets than the national average. That surprises me. I would have thought that more houses would have carpet in the cooler and earthquake-prone South Island wine regions.

Red wine is perceived as the worst stain – worse than pet poo in second place, nail polish in third, blood and paint (fourth equal) and pet vomit. My new house has black carpet allowing us to spill red wine with gay abandon.

Light grey carpet in my previous house was more of a problem. I recall managing to remove an inky Argentinean malbec by applying the following technique:

  • Blot the worst of the red wine up using a dry, white cloth or paper towels.
  • Mix two cups of warm water with one tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid.
  • Sponge the liquid onto the wine stain.
  • Blot with paper towels until the stain has gone.

2 thoughts on “Red wine and white carpet”

  1. Gillman Ken says:

    As a lover of Persian carpets, I have a special incentive to be aware of the optimum course of action should such an eventuality arise. I have recently discussed this with a Persian gentleman who is an experienced dealer in Persian carpets. He reminded me of his previous advice as to the optimum technique. We are of course talking about natural wool carpets, not synthetic fibre.

    An important element is speed with which remedial action is taken – it is thus wise to have a pre-existing plan that can be implemented rapidly, especially if your Persian carpets are of value, and pale in colour!

    Step number one is to get the liquid off the carpet as quickly as possible, preferably by scraping with the smooth surface of a flat spoon (same idea as drying a car windscreen with a scraper), and absorbing any liquid that is brought to the surface with a suitable cloth or paper towel. Once such an implement has pulled out excess liquid, step two is to wet the carpet with cold (fridge temperature) water. It would appear cold water may be better because that probably slows any chemical reaction which would help bind the anthocyanins to the wool. Then repeat the process with the spoon and more cold water until the water that comes off is clear. Four or five times is likely to be sufficient. Next step would be to rub the affected area with a damp cloth that has been soaked in cold water which contains a very small amount of wool wash detergent. With quick action, and a bit of luck, even if the wine has been spilled on a white area of carpet, the stain will be removed to a degree which will be barely noticeable.

    Contrary to what some say, it is probably better not to use bicarbonate (which is alkaline) or vinegar (acidic) both of which may act to fix the stain rather than remove it. However, my Persian carpet man did tell me that he had once used white wine instead of cold water (Chablis, rather than Yquem, I suggest). Perhaps the small amount of alcohol in it helps removing the stain? In practical terms, one could argue that, in the circumstances where such mishaps occur, cold white wine is more likely to be close at hand than cold water!

    One parting word of reassurance to any other Persian carpet lovers out there is this. The higher the quality, and the finer the knotting on your carpet, the more resistant it will be to adsorbing liquid poured onto its surface, so you will have more time to act.

  2. duncan forsyth says:

    Bob – surprised a man of your experience doesnt use the white wine method – far easier – just quickly pour the nearest bottle of white wine over the stain – blot – then water – blot – stain gone
    combo of lower pH and higher free so2 plus dilution – colour gone every time –
    just saying
    best duncan

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