A common question we get is how should I remove a red wine stain? By understanding that red wine contains tannins and different acids will aid in the removal of these stains. Tannin is a naturally occurring vegetable dye found in many plants, especially grape skins and, it is these different food acids that have the potential to affect the color of a carpet or upholstery. Acids are very important structural components of wine. If a wine is too low in acid, it tastes flat and dull. If a wine is too high in acid, it tastes too tart and sour. Every wine is different and has a different level of acid. This level of acid is measured by a scale known as a ph level. The lower the ph, the stronger the acid, and the stronger the acid, the quicker it will affect what it comes in contact with. Most red wines have a ph range between 3 and 4. Instead of trying to determine what the ph level of the wine is, that just spilled, it’s better just to take immediate action.
Many people suggest pouring salt on it. This is not a good idea. The salt may absorb some of the wine initially, which is positive but that is only short-term. Soon it will aid in the setting of the dyes in the wine spill. One use for salt is when you wash dark clothes for the first time - use cold water and put salt in the water. The salt helps set the color. So it can do the same to the red wine stain.
Pouring white wine on it is also not a good idea. With many carpets today, the color is set with an acid solution dye process. Before we add dye to a rug, typically the fibers are prepped with an acid that has a low ph rating near 1 ½. This is a very strong acid and will allow instant bonding of the dye to the fibers. White wine usually has a lower ph level than red wine. This means the acid in the white wine would be stronger and could cause a faster dye reaction with the red wine and the fibers thus setting the red color.
The correct process would be to just use paper towels to blot up as much as possible. Next, take a clean white cotton cloth, such as a man’s tee shirt. Wet it with warm water to the point of being drippy wet. Blot the red wine stain with this, then blot again with paper towels. This is to try to dilute any wine remaining on the fibers. Next, apply club soda to the stain. I suggest using a fresh bottle of club soda, put a sprayer into the bottle, and spray the stain. Any small drops of wine on the side of upholstery can be sprayed lightly while heaver splashes on the carpeting can be sprayed much more to ensure coming in contact with all the wine spilled and as deeply as it has penetrated.
The use of club soda will have multiple effects. First also being an acid, with a similar ph to wine it will aid in the rinsing of the red wine, since, like materials interact better with each other. This is like using water to clean water-based paints and petroleum-based products to clean oil-based paints. Second, being clear in color will reduce the appearance of the red color.
This is all you can and should do. At this point, time is no longer an urgency. The remaining stain will now have the greatest chance of complete removal with a professional carpet and upholstery cleaning technician who is knowledgeable in chemistry and has experience in dealing with these types of stains.
Alec’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning LLC has been in business since 1970 and has been providing the best possible service to its clients. Please contact us at 781-871-4428 or visit us at http://www.Alecscarpetandupholsterycleaning.com