How to Remove Wine Stains from Polyester

Filling a wine glass with red wine, cheese and grapes sitting in the background.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 1-30
What You'll Need
White wine
Dish soap
Hydrogen peroxide
Commercial stain cleaner

While polyester fabrics may not be as absorbent as cotton in many cases, this doesn’t stop them from holding on to a red wine stain. Polyester is used often in several kinds of apparel and even more often in common fabric blends, so the odds of your next wine spill landing on a polyester fabric item are fairly high. Learning how to remove these stains from synthetic fabric could be crucial to saving your best shirt or blouse sooner than you think.

Tip: Always try to remove a red wine stain immediately if possible. The longer you wait to treat the fabric, the harder it will be to clear the stain at all.

Step 1 - Blot the Stain

Always blot any excess liquid from the fabric as soon as you can with a clean, dry cloth. Don’t rub the stain, as this will only push the liquid deeper into the fibers and make it almost impossible to remove.

Step 2 - Add Salt

A scoop of salt

Salt is a useful tool to take advantage of when you may not be able to attend to a red wine spill immediately. A thick layer of table salt on the fabric prevents the stain from spreading and setting. Just carefully vacuum the salt up later when you’re ready to follow through with treatment.

Step 3 - Add White Wine

While putting more wine on the clothing may seem counterintuitive to fixing the problem, white wine actually helps to counteract the red wine, lightening the stain so it will not be as prominent. Blot the stain lightly again to remove as much of both wines as you can. Again, take care not to rub the polyester. After this, the stain should be almost gone completely and you can launder the clothing normally. Cold water is the best bet, but follow the washing instructions of each garment for the best results.

Step 4 - Try Soap and Peroxide

Dish soap bottles

If you don’t have white wine handy or using it didn’t seem to do the trick, there are other options to try. For a strong stain-fighting solution, mix equal parts liquid soap and hydrogen peroxide. Pour this onto the spill, and let it sit for a minute or so before you dab over it with the cloth. This should lift any discoloration, and you can follow up with a normal wash in your machine.

Step 5 - Use a Vinegar, Soap, and Water Pre-soak

Another solution you can try to lift a persistent wine stain is a pre-soak comprised of one tablespoon of white vinegar, one tablespoon liquid soap, and two cups of lukewarm water. Soak the stain in this mixture before dabbing up any excess. Then, wash the garment normally.

Step 6 - Apply Commercial Stain Cleaners

There are several stain fighters readily available at your local supermarket than can help to remove red wine stains. If you already have one available in your home due to a persistent problem with tough stains, then it’s a great solution. However, unless you’re a clumsy and frequent wine drinker, buying one of these cleaners for a rare mistake may not be very cost-effective.

Many of these methods will also work for dry wine stains, but it can take a lot of effort and the stain may still not lift, no matter how hard you try.