How to Get Rid of Red Wine Stains

A glass of red wine knocked over and spilled across a white surface

This is seriously magic.

By Erin Henderson

Sometimes I pull a shirt or sweater out of my closet and find it splattered with red wine stains.

This is highly embarrassing; what grown adult doesn’t realize there are stains on her shirt, and deal with it promptly and efficiently? Apparently, that would, occasionally, be me. It makes me wonder what sort of state I was in when returning my clothes to the wardrobe. Apparently, a pretty good one.

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Before you dismiss me as an uncivilized boor, I also need you to know there are many more times (many!) when I’ve noticed the offending spot, and got the damned thing out in the next wash cycle. So, I’m not a complete write-off.  

My vocation is a highly dangerous one when it comes to spills and splatters – red wine, to be sure, but also drips and drabs of oil and butter and various combinations of sauces and dressings. I should take out stock in my local dry cleaner.

Because of this highly perilous profession, I’m on a constant search for stain removers that work well, require minimal effort, and are as safe to the environment as possible.

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This hero’s journey is how I stumbled upon Laundry Patric.

Patric Richardson is an American fabric expert who penned the indispensable text: Laundry Love, Finding Joy in a Common Chore. My hard copy is lined with sticky tabs and sits within easy reach on the shelf in my laundry room.

Patric worked for years in the big, US department stores, eventually opening a vintage boutique. And seeing a long line of tragedies that come from the broken promises of stain removers that simply don’t work, he came up with an arsenal of ways to get out almost any stain from almost any material.

Now there’s a lot of hooey out there about laundry detergents so good they brighten and whiten everything in their paths… but as Patric did, I’ve never found anything that’s actually been all that good. So, it was with some (ok, a lot) of doubt that I tried Patric’s recommendation for getting out red wine stains. His simple prescription is even bold enough to suggest wine stains don’t need to be treated immediately… they can sit until your next laundry day without any problem. If you are suspicious, you have every right to be. I was too.

But as you can see in the video at the bottom of this post, the results are astounding.

A picture of the book laundry love on a black counter with a white towel
Patric Richardson's Formula for Removing Red Wine Stains

This magic elixir comes from Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore, by Patric Richardson.

Ingredients: 
  • Hot water
  • 1 Tbsp sodium percarbonate
  • Your wine-stained clothes
How to Do It: 
  1. Bring a kettle to a boil.
  2. Pour sodium percarbonate into a bowl or laundry pail.
  3. Carefully pour the boiling water into the tub, and watch the sodium fizz up.
  4. Place your stained item in the boiling water and submerge the stain. You will immediately see the water begin to change colour as the wine is lifted from the fabric.
  5. Swish it around for a few seconds, then carefully remove your garment from the hot water – I bet the item will be stain free already – and launder as usual (or better yet – as the way Patric instructs you wash all your clothes which can also be found in his book.)

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