Thursday, May 30, 2013

Should Stella Have Thrown Out Her Wine-Stained Clothes?

Just a few chapters into the book, my three main characters are enjoying a lovely dinner when the unthinkable happens. An entire glass of red wine is spilled right down the front of Stella's expensive white blouse.

From the book...
[A little later, Stella put down her fork unable to eat another bite. She was listening to JB tell Federico a story about his latest fishing trip. JB raised his arm in a mock casting of a line, and in doing so, hit the wine bottle with his arm causing it to strike Stella's full glass. The contents of both poured all over the front of her clothes.

Stella gasped when the chilled liquid came in contact with her body as it soaked through her white blouse and bra. JB jumped up, grabbed a cloth napkin and began dabbing at the rapidly spreading red stain. Then the inevitable happened. First one button then another popped from Stella's blouse and landed in the middle of the table.] (unedited)
Then later...
[Stella stepped into the warm shower to finish washing off the sticky wine. She had left her ruined clothes in the trashcan at the restaurant. She knew red wine would leave a permanent stain once it dried.] (unedited)

It turns out to be the perfect icebreaker for Stella and her love interest, but instead of treating the stain, Stella tosses the ruined blouse and bra in the trash. If only she had known a few of these tricks she might have been able to salvage them both.

For the most part, red wine stains can be removed, but it’s important that they be kept wet. Club soda or white wine helps dilute a red-wine stain. The garment should be blotted (never rubbed) from the outer edges to prevent the stain from spreading. If you don’t have white wine or club soda handy, mix dish soap and hydrogen peroxide in equal amounts. Using a clean cloth, blot the mixture on the material until the stain is removed. Wash the garment, but be sure the stain is completely gone before using a dryer. The heat would permanently set the stain.

Red wine spilled on a carpet is an emergency.  Sprinkle a layer of salt on it to halt the spread. Mix one tablespoon of dish soap, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and two cups of warm water and blot the stain until it’s gone. Be sure to vacuum up the salt first. Dish soap mixed with hydrogen peroxide works well also.

And red wine isn't just the nemesis of well-dressed business women. My friend Kevin has a funny story about the staining power of red wine and I just had to share it with you.

"This being the first night of our time together I reached into a suitably gentle and respectful embrace.Unfortunately, forgotten in the passion of the moment was a glass of Merlot, sat innocently on the floor between us. As our teenage excitement overcame us, the vessel tipped upon the carpet of her parents, who were absent on their weekend break.

She screamed, I recoiled, thinking, am I that bad a kisser? Then, upon the immaculate floor covering I beheld the true reason for her dismay.In panic I searched her Pater's spotless (until then) apartment for cleansing agent.

I could find no salt, apparently they were averse to this blood-toxic condiment (made me wonder why they kept wine though). All I could find in their dust free, well organised cupboards was a canister of lighter fuel. Petrol! A universal solvent, this would do the trick.

Normally used to fill the tool for lighting their beeswax candles, I found for it the perfect use, under the unfortunate nature of our predicament. As quickly as I could I applied this magic liquid.

Sure enough in moments was the stain of vino gone.Unfortunately, the nylon carpet was - Unspun"

Kevin assured me, the parents were not angry. After all, said the father, ‘That’s what we have insurance for’. (Believe it or not)

And yes, I think Stella did the right thing.

(Kevin is a musician and a writer. Check out his site:


  1. What a super-cute post, Leona! What creative thinking! Way to go!

  2. Thanks, Lauren, it was fun to do. Who knew wine stains could be interesting. I'm glad you stopped by.

  3. This is a very awesome idea...I cant wait to actually read the book. Love Ya!

    1. Hi Christy, took me a second to recognize my own niece without (Harmston)tacked on. lol

      Thanks for stopping by, and you'll be reading the book sooner than you think.

  4. LOL! Really wonderful post, Leo. I love how you combined fiction, fact, and function in one dynamic post. The red wine scene is a memorable one from your book. And Kevin's story was hilarious--quite a way with words he has.

  5. Thank you, Von. I'm glad you like our stain info, and yes, Kevin does have a way with words.

  6. Agree 100% with Von. Thanks for the useful tips regarding the removal of the red wine stains too.

  7. Oh yes, this print is better. Must be my browser.
    I'd have tossed the blouse and bra away, I'm lazy. lol.
    And the carpet, I thought it would catch fire for a moment. Nice tips Leona and clever. A fun post. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Thank you, Wendy and Lorrie. I think the print is better now, Lorrie, and I appreciate you telling me I should change it.

    I glad you like the post, and now, don't fear spilled wine.

  9. Love this subject! Was in costuming for a long time working backstage on Broadway, so I've come across every emergency imaginable. The key is to do something right away. To let it go until you get home is the kiss of death. That stain will go no where. If you have nothing more than lukewarm water, keep the stain moist and keep blotting at it. I find soaking it when you get home in tepid water and then using Shout It Out the next morning in a gentle wash cycle often helps. With mustard, all bets are off. I can't get those stains to go, no matter what I do. Anyone know about mustard?

  10. Very true, and I'm sure that's why Stella just left hers in the trash. Mustard is hard one all right. I dropped a big blob of ice cream and chocolate syrup on a yellow top. I forgot to use Shout and was very surprised when liquid Tide alone removed every bit of it. I'd tossed the top in the laundry basket so the chocolate had dried on.

    Thanks for stopping by, Heather.

  11. When I was in high school, ahem, that's going back aways, I spilled ink on a sweater. My mother used milk to get the stain out. By golly it worked.
    I'd probably have thrown the wine stained blouse and bra away. I'm lazy. lol.

    Nice helpful hints we have going here. It's fun.

    Thanks for starting this one and posting, Leona.

  12. Lorrie, some of the old time remedies our mothers used were better than many expensive ones of today.

    Any ideas on the mustard?

  13. That was a great post, and a funny story from Kevin :) My Irish grandmother used to swear by salt for all emergencies. My brother still says "Why don't you rub a little salt on it?" in a Dublin accent, whenever food or wine is spilt. The old cures still survive!

  14. Yes, Helena, they sure do survive. The net is full of home remedies of all kinds. Salt, soap, vinegar, and baking soda are staples.

    Thank you for stopping by.

  15. i loved that whole scene! I could see it so vividly and knew the sparks between her and JB started then :)

    Definitely more romantic than the Monica Lewinsky "stain"!

    Great tips too, especially with my penchant for red wine.

  16. LOL, Mysti, yes, I agree about the stain.

    Thanks for your comments, JB and Stella are glad you noticed.


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