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 fairly new custom-made Tibetan rug. I add in the custom-made part just to emphasize what a ridiculous purchase these 2 items were and, therefore, how stressed out I was about the spill. Both of these purchases were obviously made before we had La Jolla Girl and weren’t our sharpest ideas also given the fact we are now getting a dog. It is what it is, now.
Anyway, I saw the wine spillage happen almost as it if were in slow motion. It blasted everywhere. I used club soda on the sofa, blotted (it came out OK) and did the same thing on the Tibetan rug. A disaster of a stain remained. Then, another guest told me to pour salt over the spill and let it sit. The salt 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 on more salt and left it over night. 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. What you do, is up to you. Definitely 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, and like a lot of things in life, different people say different things. Here’s the most common combination of steps I found and probably what I would do if (when) it happens again.
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 salt on overnight or until it is dry. In my case some parts turned into a peanut brittle type substance.
5. Remove salt from rug by scooping up 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’s 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 2 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.