We had an unfortunate incident in my house last summer where a friend of mine launched a full glass of red wine all over my custom-made beige sofa and a fairly new custom-made Tibetan rug. I add in the custom-made part to emphasize how stressed out I was about the spill.

Anyway, I saw the wine spill happen almost as if it were in slow motion. Wine flew everywhere. I used club soda on the sofa and blotted (it came out okay). The same steps were repeated on the Tibetan rug. A disaster of a stain remained.

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Then, another guest told me to pour salt over the spill and let it sit. Salt, apparently, absorbs the wine and pulls it out of the rug fibers. I blotted most of the liquid up and thought, what the heck, and dumped every single ounce of salt in the house on the rug.

Then, we waited. It was the longest wait EVER though only about an hour—which was not enough time. I vacuumed it up but you could still see an outline of wine on the rug. For the most part, it was gone and I was relieved but not totally happy with the results.

I poured more salt on and left it overnight. I was awake most of the night thinking about it. The morning showed improvement but still an obvious outline that luckily disappeared over time (it looked horrible for a few days) and the rug now looks like nothing ever happened. The rug guy told me at the time of purchase, that Tibetan rugs are indestructible. Back then, I took that with a grain of salt, pun intended.

Unlike me, you really should know in advance what to do when you get the unfortunate red wine spill.

Do not use a chemical spot remover on an Oriental rug because it will damage the fibers.

Also, do not scrub an Oriental rug. When I saw the outline of the red wine spill was still there after 24 hours, I made a bunch of phone calls to see if anyone could spot clean it. They said no, but one company referred me to an Oriental rug specialist who would come pick up the rug and handwash it in a special facility for something like $700. Yikes.

So, I looked up what you are supposed to do. Like a lot of things in life, different people say different things. Here’s the most common combination of steps I found online.

How to Handle Red Wine Spills on Rugs, Carpet & Upholstery

1. Pour white wine over the red wine spill. White wine neutralizes the red wine which makes the red wine easier to lift off the rug or carpet. Some people prefer water or club soda, but white wine definitely seems to be the most recommended.

2. Gently, gently blot up excess liquid.

3. Pour about a 1/4″ thick layer of salt over the spill. Be generous. If the 1/4″ of salt is wet or looks slushy, I would definitely pour more.

4. Leave the salt on overnight or until it is dry. In my case, some parts turned into a peanut brittle type substance.

5. Remove the salt from the rug by scooping up the hard, dry pieces and then vacuuming.

It’s your call how to handle the stain ultimately and you must consult manufacturer’s instructions, but the moral of the story is to know well in advance what you are going to do when a spill happens.

And, have many canisters of salt on hand. This is the one thing most sites I looked at recommended. My husband always jokes about my stash of 10 blue Morton’s salt canisters in the pantry.

This remedy (maybe other than the white wine part) supposedly applies to coffee, grape juice, and other dark liquids. Here are some other websites that have similar and slightly different suggestions. They have information for carpet and Oriental rugs.




I’m giving you all of this information because, again, you need to decide what to do before it happens. One glass of wine in my case, took over two big canisters of salt because the wine shot such a far distance! Imagine if you were having a party or someone knocked over an entire bottle. Yikes.

Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Pingback: Wine Wednesday – How To Handle Red Wine Spills On Rugs | rug repairs, rug cleaning
  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  3. I used tips this weekend, had a little red wine spill. Was happy to have this information! I will be sure to share with friends.
    .-= noà«l´s last blog ..How do you show your neighborhood pride? =-.

  4. Thank you for sharing this article. I would like to clarify a few things since there are a few misconceptions. Pouring salt can actually make things worse. Sounds logical that salt soaks up fluids, but it also the way to get the stain deeper into the fibers. Instead of white wine, it’s better to use vinegar. All white wine is doing is making it smell sweet. Hope that helps!