Back Button

How to Use Quinine Water to Remove Wine Stains

Paul Dohrman

Red wine stains are stubborn and hard to remove from fabrics. Salt can be used for light-colored material if the stain is caught when it is still wet. Quinine water (tonic water) is commonly used to remove red wine stains after they’ve dried. Variations include 7-Up, soda water and club soda.

The carbonation is thought to lift the stain, as opposed to sinking it down into the carpet.

  1. Pour some tonic (quinine) water on top of the stain, once the stain has dried.

  2. Blot the stain with a terry cloth, paper towels or rags. Don’t rub it. Rubbing the stain defeats the purpose of the carbonation.

  3. Repeat until the stain is gone.

  4. Use warm (not hot) water and a mild detergent to get the sugars of the wine and salts of the tonic water out.

  5. Place a few towels on top of the water spot. Then place a heavy object, like a stack of books, on the towels to get the remaining moisture out. Allow it to sit like this overnight.

  6. Tip

    White wine may be a more effective treatment than tonic water, according to Southern Grace Gourmet. The dry cleaners may be another worthwhile option of last resort. Within the variations of the quinine-water variety, club soda is generally viewed as the best.