We present an analysis of the red giant component of the recurrent nova V3890 Sgr, using data obtained before and after its 2019 eruption. Its effective temperature is Teff = 3050±200 K for log g = 0.7, although there are modest changes in Teff. There is an overabundance of both carbon (0.20 ± 0.05 dex) and sodium (1.0 ± 0.3 dex) relative to their solar values, possibly the result of ejecta from the 1990 nova eruption being entrained into the red giant photosphere. We find 12C/13C = 25 ± 2, a value similar to that found in red giants in other recurrent novae. The interpretation of the quiescent spectrum in the 5–38 µm region requires the presence of photospheric SiO absorption and cool (~ 400 K) dust in the red giant environment. The spectrum in the region of the Na i D lines is complex, and includes at least six interstellar components, together with likely evidence for interaction between ejecta from the 2019 eruption and material accumulated in the plane of the binary. Three recurrent novae with giant secondaries have been shown to have environments with different dust content, but photospheres with similar 12C/13C ratios. The SiO fundamental bands most likely have a photospheric origin in the all three stars.