The “Good Housekeeping” Method You Can Use To Treat Red Wine Stains at a Party

published Dec 18, 2019
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Morgan Smith

On our quest to find the best possible way to remove red wine stains, we came across this “Tried & Tested” method published online from the Good Housekeeping Institute Team. “Tried & Tested” means they’ve, well, tried and tested it—so we had pretty high expectations for this one. Upon reading the method we were a bit baffled that a simple two-step pre-treat method could actually take down red wine, the monster of all stains. 

The method doesn’t require a lot of elbow grease, and uses items that can be sourced in no time at all—probably while you’re still sitting down to dinner from guests at the table, or from a bathroom attendant (if you’re dining dans un restaurant chic). So we’re calling this one the method for treating red wine stains while you’re still at the party.

The Good Housekeeping Method: How To Remove Red Wine From Clothing

1. Flush the affected area with soda water or sparkling water as soon as possible. A red wine spill is usually accompanied by a gasp, or shriek, or some other colorful exclamation, and usually garners the attention of a waiter pretty quickly. Once yours appears, ask them to bring you some soda water or sparkling water ASAP. Head to the bathroom and pour the soda water over the stain. The soda water actually pushes the stain through the fabric. It won’t remove it all, but will definitely get the excess out.

Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy
Soaking the stain in soda water.

2. Spray red wine stain liberally with any brand of hairspray. Ask around to see if anyone at your table has a bottle of hairspray. Apply the hairspray to the stain liberally. You’ll start to see the stain change colors from a bright color to a darker purple color. 

If you aren’t able to find any hairspray at the restaurant, follow this step as soon as you get home. Once the stain has been saturated with hairspray, set it aside for 5-10 minutes.

Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy
After a spritz of hairspray.

3. Wash the at the highest acceptable temperature for that garment using a biological detergent. Set the water temperature to “hot”, the soil level to “heavy”, and pour in some Persil or another biological detergent.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Morgan Smith

My Honest Review of The Good Housekeeping Method For Removing Red Wine Stains From Clothing

The steps involved in this method were surprisingly simple. (I found them to be a welcome change after the very involved Martha Stewart method!) I was excited to try the wonder-method that used bubbly water and hairspray—two things that are usually found in close proximity to red wine at any party. But the results left quite a bit to be desired, a big disappointment considering they were labeled as “Tried and Tested.”

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Morgan Smith

The steps were easy enough, but going into the laundry the towel still had a significant stain, so I wasn’t surprised when I took it out of the wash to find that the stain was still there. There wasn’t much pre-laundry effort involved in removing the stain—so I didn’t feel it was right to expect major results. The stain faded, but was still very much there.

And as for the test I did on the overnight stain—yeah, that wasn’t impressive at all:

Credit: Ashley Poskin/Apartment Therapy

My final thought on the subject: If you spill wine on yourself early in the night and have no plans of leaving the party or restaurant, give this method a shot. Then go home and try the Martha Stewart method.

Overall Rating: 6/10