View Full Version : Red Wine Stains!

Andrew O'Neill
10-May-2004, 17:53
I received a frantic phone call from a friend of mine who had been showing some of his photos to his dinner guests. Apparently after many glasses of red wine had been consumed, a glass was eventually spilt on many of the prints. He tried soaking them in trays of water and that has helped a bit. Anyone out there have experience with removing red wine stains? Is he screwed? The prints were made on fibre base paper. The only advice I could give him was to serve white wine next time!

10-May-2004, 18:01

i think your friend might be outta-luck, but ... according to the legendary "queen of clean" if you have a white carpet which is stained with red wine she has suggested that if you soak the stain in white wine, the stain will go away. i haven't ever done that ( with a carpet or with a photograph ) but i would venture a guess that the tannin in the red wine might have "toned" the print.

John Kasaian
10-May-2004, 18:43

You can comfort your friend by reminding him that if any of his guests become famous, those stained photographs might substantially increase in value. Imagine what one of Weston's prints could go for if accompanied by documentation that Diego Rivera left a bottle mark from the bottom of a icy Bohemia on it?

Louie Powell
10-May-2004, 18:48
I saw a collection of prints by Tom Baril a few years ago - originals of the prints in his book on flowers. Absolutely gorgeous, and every one stained in tea. Tom explained that he found that the cheaper kinds of tea (the supermarket brand) seemed to produce a stronger stain - - -

Is it possible that your friend has stumbled on the next major fad in printing - - - staining in red wine. Just imagine, instead of serving a good wine at the opening, you can buy a jug of something really cheap, stain all the prints, and save a buck or two.

10-May-2004, 20:30
"I stained his photographs in a nice Chianti, with a fixer of Fava Beans."

10-May-2004, 22:35

Chances are that the photograph is now permanently toned. However, throw it in a small flat container full of Canada Dry soda water. The bubbling action might lift even more of the red color out of the fiber based paper.

Advise your friend that wine is usually drunken... not spilled! :>)


adrian tyler
11-May-2004, 00:29
my wife uses salt to get red wine stains out of cloth, but she gets it on whle the stain is still wet. may be worth a try, her family are generations old wine spillers!

Graeme Hird
11-May-2004, 23:52

Tell your friend to buy more wine and stain the whole picture. Then tell people it is Fine Art.


Al W
12-May-2004, 09:16
One of the best photo restoration houses in the country is "Chicago Albumen Works" in Housatonic, MA. I believe they work primarily with negative conservation, but it would be worth a call. (413-274-6901 www.albumenworkes.com) I've also talked to the photo conservation lab at the Smithsonian and the materials department at Rochester Institute of Technology with great results. I deal with a museum collection so may have better luck getting questions answered than an individual will.

Andrew O'Neill
12-May-2004, 10:46
Thanks to all who replied with serious suggestions. Henry, he's going to give the Canada Dry a shot. Suprisingly the long soak in water did remove a lot of the stains.

12-May-2004, 11:03
If water got some of the stain out try pek 12. It might work.