'Tis the season! Red wine stain removal tips and pick up & delivery service to the rescue!

December 12, 2022

If you haven't gathered by now, Laundress Lucca isn't only an sexpert on the laundry spectrum but is well versed in the art of lunch. Make no mistake; there is a vast chasm between grabbing something to eat as a mid-day meal and having lunch. Lunch implies a smart restaurant and is a cross between a sporting event, theatrical gastronomy, and brilliant choreography. With the luxury of time, it most certainly nods to a life of leisure. Cocktails are an essential guest, as is a chit-chatty friend. Enter Miss Terri Cloth.

We've covered this subject before, but it's worth repeating. It's a stain that frequently recurs while at lunch, and that is the inadvertent red wine dribble. As always, it is crucial that the stain be treated prior to adding it to your weekly wash and fold order with free pick up and delivery.  

Today's outing takes us to a delightful restaurant: Sbicca in Del Mar (Sbicca Del Mar). On this occasion, it was warm and typically fall-like, so lunching alfresco was par for the course. Only this course had disaster written all over it, at least for the Laundress and Madam Cloth. You see, Tuesdays and Thursdays happen to be half-price wine days at Sbicca. If you do the arithmetic, that's two bottles between two people. And if you want to sample another vintage, it comes with two more bottles. Sbicca is on the south side of 15th street, just above Seagrove Park. The sidewalk was ablaze with sexy shirtless surfers contrasting flawlessly with fashionistas sporting the latest fall garb. Add a vast parade of flashy, expensive cars, and your patio seat just slid into the position of, and became, 'front row and center'. Think cashmere and tweed meet wetsuit and steel. It sounds like a mess, but the concoction is pure pleasure as our two diners knew half the crowd. 

Sbicca has excellent sophisticated American fare with a very notable and impressive wine list. The front room, as we call it, has a small bar with 9 stools and a few cocktail tables. It's exquisitely intimate and cozy. Laundress Lucca loves everything about Sbicca but thinks some fresh flowers on the bar and tables would soften and warm things up a bit; just a suggestion. You know you're a regular when not only the bartenders know your secret libation but fellow patrons do as well. Nicknamed The Champagne Sisters, Lucca and Terri drink their notorious yellow-label swill all afternoon, holding court at the bar. 

Whether it's half-price, 50% off, or two-for-one, it's the perfect recipe for being overserved. 

Terri was just in from a two-day stay at Vick Crest and Dick Colgate's mid-century spread in the desert. While it was always a fun party house for Pride and Coachella, Vick and Dick recently made Palm Springs their permanent home. They closed their shop on Girrar, V&D Imports. You see, Vick and Dick had grown tired of the San Diego leather scene and decided to take their beloved shop online. V&D was a delightful myriad of hand-scavenged tchotchkes from around the globe with a particular focus on 17th-century Welsh stationary, vintage cookbooks from the 1930s, and out-of-season Peonies. If you needed a spring wedding in December, these were the guys who could pull it off. Their signature look was lavish, with abundant opulence. Anyway, the three had a glorious weekend poolside between a hike up Palm Canyon, two games of tennis, and a fireside dinner at Melvyn's. 

Anyhoo, at one end of the bar sat two more regulars. If Lucca and Terri are known as the Champagne Sisters, these two are known as Pinot Pals: Sally and Debby. Sally owns a chain of beauty supply stores, and Debby owns a dry cleaner in Campo. The cleaner specializes in the stain removal and cleaning of horse blankets. They were Navy "friends". After retirement from the military, both got married and had children. Years later, they each divorced, found one another again, and have been a couple ever since. They are of that era that supports gay rights and marriage but find it unnecessary for themselves. They've been together 35 years and never needed a ring or ceremony to prove their love. Every Thursday, decked out in black leather, they mount Debby's Harley and make the 30-mile trek from their home in Alpine to half-price wine day at Sbicca. It's their weekly date if you will.

When they dismount the ride, it's hard to tell who is the butch and who the fem. Until they remove their helmets, that is. Sally has a shaved head, tattoos, and wears denim and flannel. Debby dawns a silver lame tracksuit with Gucci's infamous G's boldly stitched on the back. Her tightly cropped Annie Lennox hair is a nod to the granny perm, just completely jacked up by mousse, gel, and hair spray. Turns out, they were celebrating their recent conquest for Dikes on Bikes. They had ridden from San Diego to New York and back. The event raised over $1M nationwide and supports the drug-addicted Gay Teen League. 

While a dribble of Pinot Noir might not show on Debby's flannel, it most certainly appears on Sally's silver tracksuit. As neither of them are strangers to the Pinot dribble, it's part of their routine, post-Sbicca, to pretreat the stain. 

How to remove red wine from a silver lame tracksuit. 

Red wine will come out of clothes, but the stains are notoriously difficult to remove. If possible, treat a wine stain immediately - the older it is, the more stubborn it will be. The good news is that most wine stains can be removed entirely, or at least reduced, with common household cleaning solutions. Keep in mind that you should never put a wine-stained fabric in a hot dryer, as the heat will set the stain and make removal almost impossible. 

Being a challenge to remove, wine stains are tough, so prepare yourself to try, try, and try again. All these methods can be effective, so start with a cleaner you have on hand. First, it helps to know what makes red wine difficult to remove. Red wine contains tannins. It's a natural substance found in plants, like red grapes, that stains anything it touches. It's especially attracted to absorbent fibers. It's also used in leather dyes and inks. Fresh tannin-based stains are a smidge easier to clean than set-in tannin-based stains. 

1. Kosher Salt - sprinkle salt generously onto the stain (kosher salt has bigger, flatter grains than table salt with more surface area for absorption). Then, try one of the following options:

Leave the salt overnight to soak up as much wine pigment as possible.

If the fabric of your clothing is sturdy, like denim jeans or linen, place the material over a bowl. And be sure the stain is centered. If necessary, secure the fabric with a rubber band. Then carefully and slowly pour boiling water over the wine spot from about 8 inches above. This will help push the stain out. If the stain has vanished, take to the front porch for your weekly wash-and-fold order from

2. Club Soda - Pour a generous amount of club soda over the stain and allow it to sit overnight. Do not replace club soda with seltzer or any other carbonated beverage. While there is no solid scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of club soda, plenty of personal anecdotes insist it works - (that is, sometimes). Any good bartender or waitperson can supply you with a napkin and club soda to start lifting the stain while you are still at the scene of the crime. 

If you have a red wine stain that you didn't treat immediately, you may still have luck removing or reducing it. A neglected wine stain needs a long soak in cold water to even have a chance of removal. 

3. White Vinegar and Laundry Detergent - This method is an excellent way to get red wine out of fabric. Cover the stain completely with white vinegar and as many drops of liquid detergent as needed. The vinegar neutralizes the red and purple pigments, while the detergent helps eradicate the offender. Let sit overnight. 

4. Hydrogen Peroxide and Dishwashing Liquid - mix hydrogen peroxide and dish soap (3 parts peroxide to 1 part soap). Test a small amount of the solution on an inconspicuous area, as hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent. If your test spot looks fine after drying, pour the mixture onto the stain and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash the garment immediately, or rinse it with cold water.

5. Baking Soda - A dry ingredient such as baking soda used on a fresh wine spill can pull the liquid out of the fabric; a liquid naturally wants to soak into anything dry. Pour a liberal amount of baking soda on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes to absorb the wine. As soon as the baking soda becomes damp or soggy, use a dull knife or the edge of a credit card to remove it. If it's necessary to repeat, then replace it with another liberal amount of fresh, dry baking soda to continue soaking the wine up. 

6. Another method - Pour baking soda to cover a fresh wine stain. Then pour white vinegar over the stain to cover it. The bubbling reaction of the baking soda and white vinegar may dislodge the wine stain from the fibers. Blot, or rinse out, the baking soda and vinegar in cold water after the bubbling stops, and repeat if necessary. 

How to treat an old red wine stain that you were too tipsy to notice - You may still have luck removing or reducing the blemish. An old wine stain needs a long soak in cold water to have a chance of removal. 

Rub the stain with soap. Start by rubbing a liberal amount of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap on the stained area. Next, apply stain remover (per the labels instructions) to the wet stain and wash the clothing on a normal cycle. Just remember this common theme with all stains; do not machine dry your garment until the stain has vanished or is significantly reduced. After drying, the stain will set in and may never fade. 

And so, dear readers, the next time you make it to Sbicca for half-price wine day, either prepare by wearing something dark or red, or anticipate a potentially laborious stain removal process. Of course, you can avoid this entirely if you stick with Champagne over Pinot Noir. 


Champagne Pic
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