Panic seems to be the response from most people when they drop or knock over a drink

We see the aftermath – and the damage caused by the attempted clean up. Frayed carpet pile or bleached carpets are the most common signs.

This is how I would tackle it*:

If it’s red wine don’t throw white wine on it! Yes, it will dilute the red but it’s making the area larger and leaving you more to clean. I think this hint came from the days when at dinner parties the only thing to hand was wine as the kitchens were down in the basements!

Now, what to do:

Most importantly – blot! The more time spent blotting up the spill, the less liquid you have to deal with later. I use whole toilet rolls. Place on the area and stand or press on them and soak up as much as possible.  Once you have done this, use an absorbent towel and again press on the spill until very little of the spill is transferring on to the towel.  Remember – do not rub as this can damage and fray the fibres.

If any of the spill remains visible, mix a very small amount of dish-washing detergent in one bowl with warm water to clean. In a separate bowl, have some clean warm water to rinse. Dip a clean microfibre cloth in the soap solution and gently work from outside in then blot again with a new dry towel until stain is removed. Take your time. DO NOT RUB – this will only fray fibres and force the stain further into the carpet, which will set the stain and make it impossible to remove. 

Do not panic if you don’t remove all the spill completely. The idea is to dilute the stain without making the area larger or damaging the carpet making it impossible for us to clean at a later date. Don’t leave it too long before calling a professional cleaner if you need to. Every day the stain is left will make it harder to remove later.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a specific carpet stain remover to hand. Tests show that dish-washing detergent is just as good as the expensive popular cleaners – but use sparingly.


Have a spill kit ready, if this is a common thing in your household. Add the soap solution to a spray bottle and use carbonated water in another spray bottle to rinse the soap solution. Then spray on the stain and blot with microfibre cloth or absorbent towels.

* Please note: This advice is only to help you in an emergency. We always advise testing any products on your carpet before use for colour-fastness and reactions. It is also a good idea to get cleaning and spill advice and information from the carpet suppliers at the time of purchase. Some carpets such as sea grass mustn’t get wet, so make sure the carpet you are buying is suitable for your lifestyle. We cannot be held responsible for any damage, staining or problems caused by your actions. This advice is only a guide.