How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Silk

A red wine spill on a thin, white fabric.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-50
What You'll Need
Napkins or rags
Hydrogen peroxide
Dawn detergent
Rubbing alcohol
Wine Away
Spray and Wash

Red wine spilled on silk is one of the hardest stains to remove. There are many ways to approach this problem, and a few commercial products will work moderately well. Follow the steps below to effectively remove the stain, hopefully before it sets.

Note: Since silk is a delicate fabric, always test your cleaner of choice on a discreet area of the fabric first before using it on the stain. Check for an damage or discoloration as a result of your application. If there is none, then proceed with cleaning.

Step 1 - Be Quick

If you have spilled red wine on your silk blouse, tie, or upholstery, the faster you work on it, the more successful you will be in removing it. Allowing it to dry will most likely make it impossible to get out. If you are in a restaurant, or otherwise away from home, and can't work on the stain, blot it with your napkin to get as much of the wine out as you can. Do not rub as this will only grind the stain into the fabric and make it harder to remove.

The old wives' tale about using white wine to get red wine out is exactly that. It won't work, so don't waste good wine. You may try dabbing at it with ice cold water, if for no other reason that to keep it wet until you get home. Some people have used a bit of salt to rub at the stained area to remove it. This works well on small stains.

Step 2 - Use Homemade Remedies First

Homemade remedies like these don't contain a lot of harsh chemicals that will damage delicate fabrics like silk, so it is always best to try them before moving on to something more heavy-duty.

Many people have found great success in removing red wine from silk by mixing a solution of one half hydrogen peroxide and one half cold water and letting the stained area soak in it overnight. If it doesn't all come out the first time, pour out the mixture, mix up a fresh batch, and soak just the stained area again. This may take several attempts and you'll need to blot the area in between each application. If it is a very bad stain, use full strength peroxide. Don't allow the stained garments to dry until the red wine is completely gone.

Another effective cleanser can be made by mixing Dawn dishwashing liquid and warm water. Soak the affected silk, and then rinse just the stained area with cold water. If you need to soak it again, do so. Some people like to use vinegar or rubbing alcohol with the Dawn in the same amounts.

If only just a slight stain remains, dab rubbing alcohol onto it; then, put a cloth soaked in alcohol on top of the stain to keep it wet and let it sit. Blot the moisture away to remove the wine. Repeat if necessary.

Step 3 - Try Commercial Cleaners

There are several good commercial cleaners on the market for removing red wine as well. Gonzo "Wine Away" is a very popular one that is available at most hardware stores. Follow the directions on the package and use in a well-ventilated area.

Spray and Wash is also available at any supermarket or discount store and it works well on red wine stains, while remaining gentle enough for silk. Spray it on, keep the area wet and blot away as much of the wine as possible.

Erado-Sol, a commercial cleaner used in doctors' offices and hospitals, is perhaps the best over-the-counter cleaner and will remove 100 percent of the stain. It may be difficult to find, so check on the Internet for a source.

With some quick action, these solutions, and sometimes a little luck, you should be able to save your silk before the red wine becomes a permanent blemish.