Consider this the mother of all stain removal guides, perfect for all the spills and stains that happen in your home. With all of the cooking, decorating and hosting we do during the holidays, spills are inevitable. Houseguests, unfamiliar with your home, may trip and fall; pets (or children) may act a little crazier and knock over decorations or plates of food. It’s easy for our homes to feel a little abused the day after a party so you’ll want to know how to treat stains and protect the carpeting, countertops and linens in your home. It’s always recommended to treat stains as soon as possible so that they don’t permanently ruin your materials.

We’ve done a little searching and have rounded up some of the best stain removal guides out there. We loved these stain removal guides as they had a robust list of stains, easy to follow instructions, and were thorough with directions regarding stains on upholstery, fabric, carpeting, etc. Here are our top winners (in no particular order):

1. Good Housekeeping

2. Real Simple

3. The University of Illinois Extension

4. Whole Living Nontoxic Stain Removers

You’ll want to bookmark these and have them ready. Of course, everyone has their tried and true method regarding how to get rid of stains, and even the experts may disagree. We wanted to compare stain removal guide instructions for a really difficult item: red wine.

Red Wine

Spills from red foods and beverages, like red wine, cranberry sauce, or fruit juice is a very common, and very intimidating spill that easily happens during the holidays. Red wine spilled on the table cloth, your clothes or the carpeting can be really difficult to clean up. We looked at these 4 guides for their instructions on how to remove red wine spills so we could compare their methods.

Good Housekeeping


1. Sponge the spot with cool water or soak for about 30 minutes in a basin of cool water.

2. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover.

3. Launder. If it’s safe for the fabric, add chlorine bleach to the wash.


1. Blot up as much of the spilled wine as possible.

2. Mix one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent with two cups of cool water.

3. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the detergent solution.

4. Blot until the liquid is absorbed.

5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until the stain disappears.

6. Sponge with cold water and blot dry.


1. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent.

2. Blot until the solvent is absorbed.

3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until the stain disappears.


1. Blot up as much of the spilled wine as possible.

2. Use plain water or mix one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of warm water.

3. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with plain water or the detergent/vinegar solution. Apply a little bit at a time, blotting frequently with a dry cloth until the stain disappears.

4. If using a detergent/vinegar solution, sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Worth a Try

If all else fails to remove the red wine stain (especially on a white carpet), mix one part hand dishwashing detergent with two parts hydrogen peroxide. Sponge on; blot off. Rinse well. Be sure to test first in an inconspicuous spot to make sure the solution doesn’t harm the color of the carpet.


Real Simple

On table linens

For red wine stains, first dab with white wine (you read that right) and let it sit for 1 minute. Then, for both red and white wine stains, immerse in cool water for 30 minutes. Spritz with Tide Boost Pre-Treat spray and wash in the warmest water safe for the fabric, using nonchlorine bleach if the fabric allows.

On the rug

For wool, blot with cold water. If that doesn’t work, apply WoolClean Spot Remover No. 1 and sprinkle with WoolClean Absorb-It Powder. For a synthetic rug, use a damp cloth to blot on diluted dish soap; rinse with a fresh section of damp cloth. Dry with paper towels. Stain still there? Have some time on your hands? Blot on a solution of ½ cup hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon ammonia. Let stand for 2 to 3 hours, covered with a piece of plastic wrap and weighted with something heavy. Apply white vinegar where the stain had been. Dry with paper towels.


University of Illinois

Washable Fabrics

  • Liquid hand dishwashing detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Enzyme presoak product
  • Chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach
  1. Soak for 15 minutes in mixture of one quart lukewarm water, one-half teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon white vinegar. Rinse.
  2. Sponge with rubbing alcohol, using light motions from center to edge of stain.
  3. Soak for 30 minutes in one quart warm water with one tablespoon enzyme presoak products.
  4. If color stain remains, launder in chlorine bleach if safe for the fabric, or in oxygen bleach.


  • Detergent
  • White vinegar
  1. Mix one teaspoon of a mild detergent containing no alkali or bleaches with one cup of lukewarm water.  Blot the stained area.
  2. Mix one-third cup of white vinegar with two-thirds cup of water. Blot.
  3. Repeat step one.
  4. Sponge the stained area with clean water. Blot.


  • Detergent
  1. Mix one (1) tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with two (2) cups of cool water.
  2. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the detergent solution.
  3. Blot until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the stain disappears.
  5. Sponge with cold water and blot dry to remove the detergent solution.


Whole Living Nontoxic Stain Removers

  • Boiling water
  • Club soda

Stretch the fabric over a bowl, then pour boiling water from a height of two to three feet. Or rinse the stain with club soda.


Remember to pre-book your carpet cleaners or house cleaners now and have them show up the day after your party. Find one on Porch today!