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As a type of red wine, port and its stains may be difficult to remove. For the best chance of removal, it is essential that the wine stain remain wet. This means you must either treat the stain immediately or dampen it with cold water until you can treat it. However, you may also be able to remove or lighten a dry stain. The necessity of removing the port quickly may mean using natural items you have on hand to lift the stain out of the fabric. These items will do one of two things: dilute the stain or absorb it.

Removing a Wet Port Wine Stain

Cover the stain with a small amount of table salt, talcum powder or cornstarch. These are absorbing agents that will draw the wine out of the fabric, preventing the stain from setting. Allow the absorbing agent to sit on the stain for one minute or until it changes color from the wine.

Brush or shake off the salt.

Dilute the stain with cold water sprayed from a clean spray bottle or by sprinkling small amounts from your hand. Do not pour large amounts of liquid directly on the stain, because this may cause it to bleed farther into the fabric. If water is not available, use white wine or club soda. Running an ice cube over the stain, from the outside edge inward, may also help.

Place one cloth directly underneath the stain to absorb any liquid that bleeds through. This will prevent the stain from seeping onto other surfaces or parts of the garment.

Pat the stain gently with the other cloth. Work from the outside of the stain inward patting downward without rubbing so that you do not spread the stain.

Repeat this process until the port wine stain is removed or lightened to your satisfaction.

Wash the fabric as recommended by the manufacturer, using cold water to avoid setting any remnants of the stain.

Removing a Dry Port Wine Stain

Submerge the stain in a shallow bowl of white wine or club soda for 5 minutes. Keep unstained areas of the fabric out of the bowl to minimize spreading the port wine.

Mix baking soda with water to create a thick paste.

Place one clean, dry cloth directly underneath the stain. Blot the stain with the other cloth.

Apply the baking soda paste to the stain. Leave the paste on for several hours, moistening it with water as needed. Do not allow the paste to dry. Remove the paste with a clean, dry cloth, and rinse the stain under cool water.

Wash the fabric as recommended by the manufacturer, using cold water to avoid setting any remnants of the stain.


If you do not have white wine or club soda, dampen a clean cloth with white milk and dab on the stain. Soaking a dry stain in a solution of equal parts lemon juice and white vinegar is an alternative to using white wine. For stain removal on carpets, apply table salt and allow to sit for at least six hours before vacuuming.


For dry-clean only fabrics, applying any at-home solution other than a drying agent may cause additional damage to the fabric. Take the item to the dry cleaner as soon as possible rather than trying to remove the stain yourself. Exposing the stain to heat, such as a clothes dryer, will permanently set the stain in the fabric.

About the Author

Mae Anton

Mae Anton has a Master of Arts in writing and more than six years of combined professional experience in creative arts journals, print journalism, Web copy and business writing. Anton also frequently works as a copy editor.