- By Charlie Browning
- Published 01/21/2013
We’ve all been there at dinner parties when someone tipsily spills their wine on the carpet and someone shouts: ‘Quick, get the salt, it’ll get that wine out, no problem!’ Well, as you may not be surprised to here there are only certain benefits to using the stuff you put on your chips for hardcore stain removal.
New scientific research shows that salt – or even another favourite remedy, white wine – could just be a messy waste of time. Weeks of intellectually intoxicating experiments, involving red wine, white wine and potent chemicals, have convinced two American scientists that stains are best removed by bleach – as long as the soiled material was originally white.
“The salt and white wine treatments have always been used because they are convenient while dining,” said Dr Andrew Waterhouse, a wine chemist at the University of California.
“They may be more effective than water, but it would be better not to do anything at all and wait until later and use one of the other treatments.”
White wine is believed to wash away the stain, while a pinch of salt supposedly draws out the spilt liquid. The best solution, the latest research suggests, is a homemade concoction of liquid soap and hydrogen peroxide – the chemical used to bleach hair.
Dr Waterhouse’s research involved soaking pieces of cotton, polyester, nylon and silk in red wine. After waiting two minutes, the cloth was treated with eight different chemicals. The same test was conducted after 24 hours.
Salt and white wine were the least effective method of treating stains on cotton left for two minutes.
Emma Burton, a senior consumer researcher at the Good Housekeeping Institute, said: “The white wine method is only for carpets. On fabrics I would agree, there are better solutions. But you should definitely not use salt.
I can see where the idea comes from, because it acts like a sponge, but if you think about it, when you dye clothes you use salt to set the colour. Everyone always thinks salt, but in fact you will make the stain permanent instead.”
About the Author : Charlie Browning is writing about Stain removal