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Dear Mary: what do you do if you spill red wine on a sofa?

23 June 2019

3:49 PM

23 June 2019

3:49 PM

No matter how much you loved Boris you would find it maddening if he spilled red wine on your sofa.  And more so if he didn’t even make a gestural effort to clear it up.

But, like us all, Boris would have known from experience of the futility of trying to get red wine stains out of ‘soft furnishings ‘

We’ve all seen fellow party guests being humiliated after such spillages as bossy people set to with theatrical paper towel mopping or the pantomime of pouring white wine or whole packets of sea salt onto the stains.

And then we’ve seen that nothing seems to work.

Boris may have felt why make a small red stain into a larger pink one?

It’s in human nature to spill red wine. In one grand house I know the occupants have deliberately bought Persian rugs with red in them in anticipation of their guests kicking over wine.  ‘When Guests put their glasses of wine on the floor, it’s not just a 90% chance that they will get kicked over ….it’s 100%,’ the owner told me.

As for spilling onto a sofa, if the sofa in question has loose covers, then you have  a good chance to get the stain out but you must strip them off and put them into the washing machine with Vanish Gold (the only thing that gets red wine out).  But who wants to disrupt a social event and bring unwelcome sobriety to the occasion?

If you are the owner of an upholstered sofa, then you’ll have to start again. Buy a new one or put up with grotifying your premises with a throw over the sofa. Everyone knows what’s underneath.

Red wine is such a menace that certain upmarket commercial party premises no longer allow it to be even served. ‘It would ruin the luxury furnishings,’ I was told in one venue.   Champagne, white wine or water are all that’s on offer.

So why would you take the risk of pouring yourself a glass of red wine and consuming it on a white sofa in the first place?

Drinkers forget that just like with driving, when you’ve had a couple of units your judgement and reflexes are not as sharp as you thought they were.  But you take the risk because red is more soothing than white and you don’t want to switch back if you’ve had red at dinner – when you were sitting safely at a table.

The message to householders is don’t have a white sofa at all unless your house is to be run as a museum with no children no dogs and no clumsy adults.

Meanwhile if you are a guest in someone else’s house and you do make the mistake of knocking over some red wine you must offer to repair the damage at your own expense.

To this end read your  own household insurance policy properly. Often, for a relatively small fee, you can upgrade yours to include damage done when visiting others.

But how do you get the stain out? Read our comprehensive guide on Spectator Life.


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