How do you get wine out of a wedding dress?

Honestly, it makes me nervous to even say "wine on a wedding dress" out loud. But, in the spirit of being prepared for your big day, it's a good idea to have your maid of honour, or other helpful friends, knowledgeable about emergency stain care. (Remember how your mom always talked about an "ounce of prevention?" This is a very, very good place for that ounce).

If – God forbid – there is a wine spill, (take a very deep breath) and work to contain it immediately. Natural fibres (like silk) are hollow- so they absorb. Get as much of the wine off of the dress as fast as possible. 

A lot of ladies have probably experienced this, and it is a very horrifying experience. Luckily for you, red wine stains on a satin or silk dress do not necessarily spell the end of life. There are techniques that you can use to help get rid of the stains. Some of the techniques may require a bit of skill and experience. If you do not clean the dress exactly as you have been directed, you may end up ruining your wedding gown, and you will have to look for another one. 

The ability to remove the red wine stains will mostly be affected by two factors.

The severity of the stain and how old the stain is. For you to remove the red wine stains, you will need the following; stain remover, hairdryer and water. The first step is to apply the stain remover directly on the stain. Then work it gently with your fingers and rinse with cold water. While doing this, care should be taken so that you do not spread the stain to other parts of the dress. Repeat the process severally until the stain is gone. You can use a water bottle to pour the water. After you are done, dry the dress with the hairdryer. This will help prevent the formation of water rings around the stain, which may distort the appearance of the dress when it dries.

Know Your Dress Fabrics For Emergency Stain Removal

Be prepared for emergency stain removal by knowing exactly what materials are in your dress ahead of time.

When you buy the dress, read the labels carefully and research how to best handle a wedding dress, food stain or lipstick stain with that specific type of material. Some types of bridal gown materials can't handle getting wet and may show water spots after getting wet.

In general, synthetic fibres made from polyester are easier to clean because they don't soak up the stain as natural fibres will.

Also, know that all stains are not the same. Understand how to treat different types of stains. Mud, blood, chocolate and other food stains, fruit juice, and bodily fluids are water-soluble stains that can be best removed by blotting the stain as much as possible and then dabbing (not rubbing) with a wet cotton ball. Use the minimum amount of water possible.

The above methods may prove useful at times, but they should not be completely relied on. A small mistake may damage the whole dress. The best option of removing red wine stains from your wedding dress would be to take the dress to a professional dry cleaning company. They have the equipment and the expertise needed to remove the stains. Depending on the material used to make the dress, they will know the most appropriate technique to use when cleaning the wedding gown. You will, therefore, do not worry about your wedding dress being ruined since the responsibility of cleaning the dress will now be with them, and they will be accountable for any extra damage as opposed to when you do the cleaning yourself.

One of the most effective ways of removing stains from your wedding dress is using a cleaner that is manufactured using oxygen. The method is very effective in cleaning fabrics; using a spoon, stir warm water with a spoonful of powder in a relatively small spray bottle. Using the spray bottle, target the stained areas of the wedding dress then give it time to take effect as per the instructions of the solution box. Finally, using warm water, rinse the stained areas gently then hang dry in the sun for some time.

If you really can't remove the stains on your own, then take the dress to a professional dry-cleaner. It is, however, challenging to predict the reaction of the wedding dress with a cleaner. With a professional wedding dress dry cleaning service, you get to ensure that the stains do not worsen or rather cause irreversible damage. Dry cleaners are well equipped with unique tools and effective solutions that remove stains from a wedding dress, so you may want to try your local dry cleaner. In addition, there are cleaners that provide laundry services specifically for a wedding dress; these are the best to use in getting rid of the stains on your wedding dress.

Quick Steps To Remove Wedding Dress Red Wine Stains... At Your Reception

Dab The Red Wine Stain With A Cloth Or Paper Towel

Firstly, get someone to find you a clean white cloth or paper towel. Avoid using any other coloured cloth because you don't want to risk the colour running on to your dress and causing another disaster. Start dabbing the stain gently, but take care not to rub it because you may end up spreading the stain further. Start dabbing from the outside of the stain towards the centre to prevent spreading.

Alternatively, use a clean, preferably white towel to dry out any moisture or a blunt knife to remove the residue gently. Make sure that you do not rub the spot to avoid smearing it over a wide area or make it absorb more into the fabric. Once the stain is concealed, the bride is not afraid of wedding dress stains appearing on photographs anymore.

Wet The Cloth With Water Or Soda And Continue Dabbing

If you have a soda, wet the cloth with it and continue dabbing the stain. If you don't have soda, normal or sparkling water will do too. Hold the damp cloth over the red wine stain to see if it will break down and disappear from your dress. Remember not to rub too hard because you don't want to end up destroying the delicate fibres on your wedding dress.

Use Dishwashing Detergent To Remove The Stain

Your wedding venue will likely have a kitchen, so get someone to bring you some dishwashing liquid as soon as possible. Apply it to the cloth and let it rest on the stain for a short while. The dishwashing liquid will counterbalance the acidity of the red wine and will cause the stain to loosen from the dress. Wash the cloth and reapply detergent if the stain is very deep. Use a dry cloth to pat the red wine stain dry and prevent it from spreading.

Camouflage The Red Wine Stain With Baking Powder Or Talcum Powder

If you've managed to get most but not all of the red wine stain out, then your best option is to apply some baking or talcum powder to the area so that it appears stainless. Make sure you apply just enough to cover the stain, as you don't want the powder to be all over your dress during the reception.

These steps should help you get rid of or camouflage red wine stains at your wedding reception. 

Once you get home, don't forget you'll need to treat the stained area as soon as you can too. You'll now be able to rinse and soak your dress in hot water, or cold water if it's a delicate fabric. Then wash out the stain more thoroughly, hopefully removing any last remaining discolouration.

Use a stain removing liquid laundry detergent. Then launder your garment on the highest setting the fabric can handle (check the label). Air dry once you're finished laundering.

If you still haven't been able to remove the stain, you can always take it to the dry cleaner to give it a final try. You may need to wash your garment a few times to fade the stain completely. Just continue to repeat until you see results.

We've put together a helpful infographic that guides you through stain removal no matter how stubborn it is! From butter to tomatoes, learn how to lift any stain and save your beautiful dress to wear again.

Its important to note, as soon as possible you should get your dress to a wedding dress dry cleaning service to ensure the stain is permanently removed.

How to remove old wine stains?

You'll Need:

  • hydrogen peroxide (mai chamsan in Hebrew), available in Israel at your local pharmacy in small bottles, about 10 shekels a bottle
  • liquid dish soap
  • a spray bottle
  • an old toothbrush

Fill your spray bottle with a solution of 1 cup water with 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, and then add a little bit of liquid dish soap. Spray the solution directly on the stain, and stand by as the stain disappears. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the stain if necessary gently. Depending on the type of fabric and size of the stain, you may have to spray and wait several times, even over the course of several hours, but do keep an eye on the garment to make sure the hydrogen peroxide isn't acting as a bleaching agent. I did not have this problem, but it can happen, so don't leave your garment unattended! And incidentally, after treating and removing the spots, wash your garments immediately.

Apparently, this process doesn't actually remove the wine from your garment, and rather it removes the colour from the wine such that the stain becomes invisible! And I read that this formula works well on any organic stains, so try it on coffee stains, chocolate stains, tea stains, you name it. I have some clothes with mould stains on them (don't ask....), so I'm going to try this method for that too!

You can also use white wine to help remove the red wine stains. 

It works, but you have to be really careful when you are doing this. The alcohol that is found in the white wine can remove the colour from your dress, particularly if it is made from cotton, silk or any other natural fibre. Water is, therefore, the best alternative since it does not have the alcoholic properties of white wine. Remember, when using water, never rub the stain. If you rub the stain, especially if the wedding gown is made of silk, you will remove the surface colour and sheen of the dress. This is permanent, and it will ruin your dress completely.

Some people will advise you to use baking soda, salt or even flour in removing the red wine stains. 

As soon as you stain your carpet with red wine, blot as much of it as you can with a paper towel, and then cover the entire stain with salt until you can't see the red wine stain anymore. Let the salt soak into the wet stain and then dry. As the salt dries, it should suck up the stain. Then, simply vacuum everything up.

Do not ever think of using these items on the wedding dress. Most wedding dresses, as you know, are not usually made of the material used to make common clothes. While these items may work on other clothes, they will not work on your dress. Instead of soaking up the red wine, they will oxidize, and they will most certainly cause further damage to the wedding gown, rendering it useless. 

Club soda can help you get rid of the red wine stain if the stain is still wet. 

Pour some club soda on the wet stain and let it bubble up. You should continue pouring the soda till all the stain has disappeared. After that, let the fabric dry, and you can use a clean paper towel to dry the parts surrounding the stain.

A mixture of dawn and hydrogen peroxide

Mix together equal parts Dawn dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide. Pour the mixture over the wine stain and allow it to soak in. You should see the stain begin to fade almost immediately. After you have allowed the mixture to soak into the stain, launder the clothing normally. This trick works best on light coloured clothes, as hydrogen peroxide has a tendency to bleach.

Interested in how much wedding dress dry cleaning can cost? Check out our blog posts.


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