How to remove red wine stain from couch

Few things are more frustrating than accidentally spilling a glass of red wine on your favorite couch. Whether it’s from hosting a dinner party, enjoying a quiet night in, or simply an unfortunate mishap, those deep purple-red stains can seem impossible to remove. But don’t panic! With the right techniques and a little elbow grease, you can get your couch looking good as new.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process for effectively removing red wine stains from your upholstery. From blotting techniques to specialized cleaning solutions, you’ll learn the dos and don’ts to tackle even the toughest wine spills. We’ll also share some preventative tips to help you avoid future stains and keep your couch looking its best.

remove red wine stain from couch

So grab a towel and let’s get to work – your couch is about to be as good as the day you bought it.

Red Wine Stains on couch

Before we dive into the cleaning process, it’s important to understand why red wine stains can be so stubborn and difficult to remove. The culprit is a compound called anthocyanin, which is a type of plant pigment that gives red wine its vibrant color.

When red wine is spilled, the anthocyanins bind to the fibers in your couch’s upholstery, creating a stain that can be tough to budge. The longer the wine sits, the deeper the stain will set, making it increasingly difficult to lift. That’s why it’s crucial to act fast when a spill occurs.

Additionally, the type of couch material can impact how challenging the stain will be to remove. Delicate fabrics like silk or velvet tend to be more prone to staining, while sturdy materials like leather or microfiber may be a bit more forgiving. Regardless of your couch’s fabric, the sooner you can treat the stain, the better your chances of getting it out completely.

Preparing to Tackle the Stain

Before you start scrubbing away at that stubborn red wine stain, there are a few important preparatory steps to take:

  1. Blot, don’t rub: The first rule of stain removal is to never rub the affected area. Rubbing will only push the wine deeper into the fabric, making the stain worse. Instead, gently blot the area with a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towels to soak up as much of the spilled wine as possible.
  2. Remove excess liquid: Once you’ve blotted the area, use a spoon or dull knife to carefully scoop up any remaining puddles of wine. This will help prevent the stain from spreading further.
  3. Identify the fabric: Take a close look at your couch’s upholstery and determine what type of material it is made of. This will inform the cleaning approach you should use, as different fabrics may require specialized techniques or solutions. For example, delicate fabrics like silk or velvet may require a gentler touch, while sturdy materials like leather or microfiber can often withstand more vigorous cleaning.
  4. Test for colorfastness: Before applying any cleaning solutions, it’s a good idea to test them on a small, inconspicuous area of your couch. This will ensure the solution doesn’t cause discoloration or damage to the fabric.
  5. Work quickly: Time is of the essence when it comes to red wine stains. The sooner you can start the cleaning process, the better your chances of removing the stain completely.

Now that you’ve got the prep work out of the way, let’s dive into the step-by-step process for removing that stubborn red wine stain.

Removing the Red Wine Stain

  1. Blot with cold water: Start by blotting the stain with a clean, white cloth or paper towels dampened with cold water. Avoid using hot water, as this can actually set the stain. Gently blot the area, never rub.
  2. Apply a stain remover: Once you’ve blotted up as much of the wine as possible, it’s time to apply a stain remover. Look for a specialized upholstery cleaner or spot remover designed for wine stains, such as Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain Remover or Clorox Carpet Cleaner. You can also try using a mild dish soap or laundry detergent diluted in cold water.
  3. Let it sit: After applying the stain remover, let it sit for several minutes to allow the solution to penetrate the fibers and break down the wine stain. Check the product’s instructions for the recommended dwell time.
  4. Blot and rinse: Gently blot the area again with a clean, absorbent cloth to lift the stain. Avoid scrubbing, as this can damage the fabric. If the stain persists, you may need to rinse the area with cold water and repeat the process.
  5. Use baking soda: For stubborn stains, you can try sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda over the affected area. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then vacuum up the baking soda. The abrasive nature of the baking soda can help lift the stain.
  6. Try an enzyme cleaner: For particularly tough red wine stains, an enzyme-based cleaner may be your best bet. These specialized products contain enzymes that break down the proteins in the wine, making the stain easier to remove. Follow the product instructions carefully, such as those for Puracy Natural Enzyme Cleaner or Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover.
  7. Use vinegar: If you don’t have access to a commercial stain remover, you can try using white vinegar. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then lightly mist the affected area. Let it sit for a few minutes before blotting and rinsing.
  8. Avoid heat: No matter what cleaning method you use, it’s crucial to avoid exposing the stain to heat, as this can actually set the wine and make it even harder to remove. That means no hair dryers, irons, or other heat sources.
  9. Repeat as needed: If the stain is still visible after your initial cleaning efforts, don’t be afraid to repeat the process. It may take several rounds of treatment to fully lift a stubborn red wine stain.

Preventing Future Red Wine Stains

Of course, the best way to deal with red wine stains is to prevent them in the first place. Here are some tips to help you avoid those pesky spills:

  1. Use coasters: Always use coasters or place mats when serving red wine to protect your couch’s upholstery.
  2. Be careful when pouring: Pour red wine slowly and carefully to minimize the risk of spills.
  3. Cover the couch: Consider investing in a throw or slipcover to protect your couch when entertaining or enjoying a glass of wine. You can find a wide selection of couch covers on Amazon or at your local home goods store.
  4. Blot immediately: If a spill does occur, act quickly and blot the area with a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towels.
  5. Maintain your couch: Regular cleaning and professional upholstery maintenance can help extend the life of your couch and make it more resistant to stains. Consider using a fabric protector, such as Scotchgard Fabric Protector, to create a barrier against future spills.

By following these prevention tips and acting quickly when a spill does happen, you can help keep your couch looking its best for years to come.


Removing a stubborn red wine stain from your couch may seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques and a little elbow grease, it’s a challenge you can definitely conquer.

Remember to work quickly, blot gently, and use the appropriate cleaning solutions for your couch’s fabric. With a bit of patience and persistence, you can lift that red wine stain and have your couch looking as good as new.

And don’t forget – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Incorporating simple habits like using coasters and being mindful when pouring can go a long way in helping you avoid those pesky red wine stains in the first place.

So the next time you find yourself facing a freshly spilled glass of merlot, don’t panic. Grab those cleaning supplies and get to work. Your couch will thank you!

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.