How to get rid of red wine and other common entertaining stains

Between the messy feast and flowing spirits, it would be a miracle if there wasn't a spill or two at your dinner party. Luckily, Debra Johnson, home cleaning expert for Merry Maids, has pro advice that will help you remove even the toughest of stains.

Read on for Johnson's specific instructions on how remove the most common entertaining stains, so you can keep your textiles tidy for many shindigs to come.

Red wine

Photo: POPSUGAR Photography/Mark Popovich.

While red wine is a favourite, it can be unkind to upholstery and carpets. To clean, blot with a microfibre or white cloth, pour on some soda water, and continue blotting.

If the stain is dry, whip up a quick solution of dishwashing liquid (one tablespoon), white vinegar (one tablespoon), and warm water (two cups) and blot the stain.

Candle wax

Photo: iStock.

When wax drips onto that special tablecloth, it's a nightmare to remove. Place in the freezer and scrape with a blunt butter knife. If any wax remains, place a sheet of wax paper on the affected side of the linen and use an iron on the reverse side to transfer the spilled wax onto the paper.


Photo: iStock.

Nothing says holidays like chocolate. When stains occur, mix a solution of dish washing liquid (one tablespoon) and cold water (two cups) to blot the soiled area until no colour transfers to the cloth.

Continue to blot the soiled area to assist with drying carpet and then place a fan over it until it's completely dry.


Photo: POPSUGAR Photography/ Sheila Gim

Coffee is a crowd pleaser after every holiday feast, until sips turn into spills. Dab carpet stains with a microfibre or white cloth to remove excess coffee and then blot with liquid dish soap (one tablespoon), cool water (two cups), and white vinegar (one tablespoon).


Photo: iStock.


What's a roast without its best friend gravy? If you're stressing about what spilled gravy may do to your linens or new outfit, relax. Blot the spill to remove excess gravy, treat with laundry stain remover, and soak in the washing machine for two hours. Wash, air dry and voila!

Cranberry sauce

Photo: iStock.


Cranberry sauce is a sure-shot darling of the holidays, until it spills on the new tablecloth. Quickly combine a solution of mild liquid detergent (1/2 tablespoon), vinegar (one tablespoon), and one quart of cool water and let the stained cloth sit for 15 minutes; then wash with cool water.

This article originally appeared at

This story How to get rid of red wine and other common entertaining stains first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.