Does alcohol stain clothes? How to remove alcohol stains from clothes?

This page uses affiliate links. When you click an affiliate link, we get a small compensation at no additional cost to you. See Amazon Affiliate Program for more info.

In this article, we will answer one of the most common questions – Does alcohol stains the clothes.

Enjoying alcoholic beverages can often lead to many stains on your clothes, furniture, or carpeted areas. Depending on the type of beverage, there will be different steps you will have to take. The fabric onto which you spilled your beverage, will also play an important role.

In this article, we will focus on clothing and the most common alcoholic beverages. The situation also looks different when it comes to rubbing alcohol. If you would like to learn more details, we highly recommend reading the whole article.

If you are only after standard alcohol stains, you can skim through the post, and find the most important information. We would strongly suggest acting as fast as possible because dried-out stains will be only harder to remove. Each hour will make the process harder.

Without further ado, let’s get into the proper part of the article.

Does alcohol stain clothes?


When you’re enjoying alcohol occasional spills are a common thing. While most of the time, you don’t need to take any extra steps, colored, alcoholic beverages tend to leave some stains. From what’ve experienced stains after beer, and strong alcohols such as vodka, don’t need any special treatment.

However, the situation looks different when we take a look at wine, drinks, and other colored beverages. Those can easily stain your clothes, and you will have to put more effort into removing those. Often, this won’t be as simple as throwing it inside the washing machine.

How to remove alcohol stains from clothes?

Removing alcohol stains will be harder as time passes, therefore, we highly recommend tackling them right away. Below, we will list all the most important steps you’ll need to take, in order to get the alcohol stains out of your clothes.

  1. Remove the excess – First thing you will have to do is remove any excess liquid. Using a paper towel or an old towel should be fine, although, keep in mind to be gentle. You don’t want to rub the stain in. A good idea would be to put something underneath, so the stain doesn’t transfer to the other side of the garment.
  2. Rinse the garment – After removing the excess, you can run cold water through the stain. You would be surprised how much this step can already help. Doing this for one minute should be enough to flush out a good amount of alcohol.
  3. Apply detergent of your choice – We always recommend using something, that you already have in your household. Most of the time, rubbing alcohol, dishwashing soap, or vinegar and baking soda is a good choice. Professional cleaners are also great, however, they contain harsh chemicals so be careful. Tap the dirty area and flush with water, repeat the process.
  4. Apply laundry detergent – If the step above wasn’t enough, you can apply a laundry detergent and wait for 15-20 minutes. After this time, you can wash the garment as you would normally do, following the care label.
  5. Use a heavy-duty cleaner – If all the previous steps didn’t help, it’s time to use some more professional formula. A good example would be Oxy-clean which is easy to purchase in most areas. Apply the formula following the instructions – When using Oxy-clean, apply the mixture to the stain and wait for at least 4.5 hours. Then wash the cloth in a regular way.

Those steps should apply for most of the fabrics, however, be extra careful with delicate ones. Harsh chemicals with hot water can easily damage the fibers, making the garment more vulnerable in the long run. Once again, keep in mind to wash the clothes according to instructions or care labels.

How to remove alcohol stains from carpeted areas and upholstery?

Not only our clothes can suffer during a night with alcohol – If you happen to spill some on rugs, carpets, or furniture, you can still tackle them. The rule of time applies here as well, the longer you wait the harder it will be to remove the stain.

All the steps are rather similar, however, you may want to use a different formula depending on the fabric. Below we will quickly go through all of them, in order to make the process more clear to you.

  1. Remove any excess – A paper towel or an old towel usually works great for this. Putting something behind the stain would be a good idea. Be sure to gently tap the dirty area, as you don’t want to rub in the stain.
  2. Apply a cleaning formula – As we said earlier, we highly recommend making one yourself. One of the most common ones consists of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water. Dip a clean cloth in the formula, and gently tap the dirty area. Repeat the process until the stain is gone.
  3. Wash out the stain – Now using solely water, you can wash out any cleaning formula, that is left. You can do this with a standard clean cloth.
  4. Leave it to dry – Airdrying is probably the safest option. Be sure to ventilate the area, so the process can be faster. Opening windows and doors can significantly shorten the required time.

Frequently asked questions

Does rubbing alcohol stain clothes?

Rubbing alcohol in large quantities can leave a film of a stain behind. This is because it’s not purely isopropyl alcohol, as it includes other ingredients such as dye or traces of mild bleach. Most of the time it will work as a nice cleaning solution, however, stay careful when using it on various fabrics.

Does hydrogen peroxide bleach clothes?

Hydrogen peroxide is another ingredient, that’s often used in homemade cleaning solutions. Even though it has mild bleaching properties, they tend to work well with most fabrics. Therefore, it’s safe and won’t bleach clothes. In fact, it can make whites whiter and colors more saturated.


In conclusion, alcohol can stain clothes, however, this mostly refers to colored beverages, such as drinks and wine. Tackling stains after Beer, or strong alcohols such as vodka, shouldn’t be more complicated than throwing the garment into the cleaning machine.

Removing stains from clothes after colored alcohol beverages can be quite harder. Keep in mind, that the longer you wait, the more troublesome will be the stain. Most of the time, rinsing the garment in cold water, making a homemade solution, and applying laundry detergent should be enough.

After taking those steps, the stain should be gone – Otherwise, we would recommend using a professional formula. This will ensure, that the stain is gone completely.

We hope, that after reading this article, you won’t have any more problems with alcohol stains.