Removing a red wine stain – ask Decanter

George Foster, Nottingham, asks:

I recently spilt some red wine on our cream carpet and quickly put salt on it because I thought that was the best course of action. It did a reasonably good job but should I have tried something else?

Gareth Ferreira, assistant head sommelier at private members’ club 67 Pall Mall, replies:

There are many ways to clear a red wine stain and although none of them are 100% successful, the method you used was a good response as salt will absorb some of the stain if applied within seconds of the spill. But it cannot guarantee complete stain removal.

Another solution would be to blot up as much of the spill as possible with a solution of dishwashing detergent, white vinegar and warm water.

If there is one piece of advice I would give, it is don’t ‘smudge’ or rub in the stain but rather ‘blot’. Additionally, always act as soon as possible, as the longer the stain sits, the harder it is to get out.

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