How to Remove a Port Wine Stain

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Port wine goes well with dessert.
Port wine goes well with dessert. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Port is a sweet red wine made in Portugal. The wine is often served with the dessert course. When port wine is accidentally spilled on your clothing or tablecloth, it's important to act fast to prevent the stain from spreading. Once the stain is isolated, you must remove the grape pigment from the fabric fibers. While commercial stain removers work to remove wine stains, home remedies may be equally effective without the added cost.

Things You'll Need

  • Table salt
  • Bucket
  • 1/2 tsp. dish detergent
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • Clean cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Enzyme pre-soak stain remover
  • Laundry detergent
  • Oxygen bleach

Lay the port wine-stained fabric on a flat work surface. Cover the stain with table salt to absorb the wine. Leave the salt on the wine stain for 30 minutes to absorb wine from the fabric fibers.

Mix 1/2 tsp. dish detergent, 1 tbsp. white vinegar, and 1 quart lukewarm water in a bucket. Soak the port wine-stained fabric in the detergent solution for 15 minutes. Remove the fabric from the soap solution, and rinse it with cool water.

Dampen a clean, white cloth with rubbing alcohol. Sponge the wine stain from the outside of the stain toward the middle. As the wine stain transfers to the cloth, change to a clean part of the cloth, and continue to sponge.

Apply enzyme pre-soak stain remover to the remaining port wine stain. Dilute concentrated pre-soak in 1 quart lukewarm water. Allow the pre-soak to work on the rest of the wine stain for 30 minutes to remove pigment from fabric fibers.

Wash the fabric with laundry detergent and oxygen bleach to remove any leftover stain. Check the fabric before drying to ensure the entire port wine stain has been removed. Repeat these steps as needed for remaining wine stain.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cover a port wine stain with baking soda or cornstarch instead of salt when necessary.
  • If you're away from home when a wine spill occurs, rinse the fabric with cool water to remove as much of the stain as possible, then blot the fabric dry.
  • Heat from the dryer sets wine stains that haven't been completely removed.

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