Monday, January 9, 2012

Just a little tipsy: Removing red wine stains from carpet or rugs

Wine is a sure thing in our house. In my opinion, it goes with everything---seafood, steak, bad days, celebrations, cookies, the sniffles, television, and the list goes on and on. I do not, however, enjoy it on my rug, which sadly seems to be its favorite place to spill, red wine in particular. Wine is for relaxing, right? So why is mine bent on giving me a stain-induced coronary? Nothing kills the chillaxin' like the double despair of lost wine and a crimson puddle on your cream rug.

Party fouls happen, however, and since they happen frequently in my house, we have worked the clean-up routine into something of a science. It is with pride and in the spirit of solidarity, therefore, my fellow lover of wine and impractically pale rugs, that I share the following homemade arsenal of smack downs. Good luck!

Step 1:  More party fouling (White wine)
If you love wine as much as I do, this one is going to hurt.  Nonetheless, if you happen to have white wine on hand as well, a solid first step while you flounder around for the other supplies is to charge someone else with the task of pouring a little of the white on top of the stain.  Something about the white wine neutralizes the red, preventing it from seeping in and making it easier to blot up.  Don't ask me how it works.  I don't understand the magic---I just make it happen.

Step 2: Blot
Take an old towel or some rags and blot up as much as you can.  No rubbing though!  Rubbing at this stage will only work the stain in.

Step 3: White vinegar & hydrogen peroxide
Create a concoction that is 2 parts white vinegar and 1 part hydrogen peroxide and spray (or pour) directly and generously on the stain.  Both of these products neutralize the purple pigment in the red wine and again help lift the stain.  Work the mixture into the carpet.  You should see the purple change to a grayish color and the continue to gradually fade through step 4.

Step 4: Baking soda
After the above concoction has had time to soak in (two minutes or so), cover the affected area with baking soda and let sit for 2-3 minutes.

Step 5: Rinse
Rinse with water and blot dry again.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3-5 and pray.
Keep at it, repeating until you can't see the stain anymore.  Of course, now you have the task of cleaning away the big wet spot (I usually blot, let it air dry and then vacuum up the leftover baking soda) but that is a heck of a lot better than what you started with.

If all else fails, open another bottle and set to work rotating the rug and/or the living room. . . :)

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