Red Wine on White Carpet


Carefully stabilizing two hand-painted ply-boards into an “L” shape, using my end table and the cat’s scratch post to hold one end up as a backdrop, I set an opened bottle of wine and full glass of red, on the end-table board. Walking six feet to the kitchen to grab my camera, I hear the boards falling and turn around to see a knocked over empty glass of wine and a bottle of Rioja guzzling onto my white carpet. Moving quickly, but consciously trying to stay calm, I grab the bottle of wine, move the boards, and tell myself how bad of an idea this was. I even knew better. This is the third time I’ve had to clean wine off my floor as a result of this same type of setup. Fortunately, this time, there wasn’t any broken glass.

I quickly grabbed a small roll of paper-towels and start to dab. Running out of paper towels before the wine was soaked up, I used the only rags I had (which happened to be white) to soak up the rest of the wine.  I’m multi-tasking at this point, turning off the burner of the apples that were staring to burn, and putting a halt to making dinner. Next, I grabbed carpet cleaner and sprayed it all over the large section of red-stained carpet. Letting that soak for a few minutes, I started to heat up water in my coffee kettle – to use as a hot-water treatment – for a third method of cleaning this mortifying mess.

I was on my hand and knees scrubbing the cleaner into the carpet, until the water boiled. Pouring the boiling hot water, in a back and forth motion, I watched the cleaner suds rise to the top.  After three full kettles’ worth of hot-water treatments, I let it dry, knowing that I’d most likely have to repeat this process the next morning.  Fortunately for me, no one would be around for another three days, so I was pretty confident I’d get away with never sharing this experience.  The following day, I could still see a very faint tint of pink on the carpet and decided to pour the rest of the carpet cleaner onto the stain. Scrubbing once again and applying two more hot-water treatments, the stain was gone.

I vowed to never again, set up my wine-photography in this manner, but I also thought I could turn this horrifying experience into an educational one. If you drink wine at home, here are the items you should have available to you, at all times:

  • Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner
  • Kettle (though maybe a pot would work)
  • Access to hot water or a stove
  • Lots and lots of rags!

And here is the method:

  • In the event of a spill, dab the wine off of the carpet, being careful not to spread, until most of the liquid is soaked up. (I used paper-towels for this.)
  • Cover the stain with carpet cleaner and let soak for a few minutes while heating up water. For a big stain, be prepared to use a whole bottle.
  • Heat water in a kettle until boiling. Stand directly over the stain and pour the water, in a back and forth motion, at a distance of a few feet, so the pressure of the water can cause the wine & cleaner to rise to the surface. Let cool for a few minutes. Then…
  • Scrub the carpet with another clean rag and let it completely dry.
  • Repeat process if stain is still visible after 24 hours.


Here is a picture of the cleaner I recommend (on the carpet that had the stain!)