Coffee connoisseurs are no strangers to the dreaded coffee stain, and if you have coffee often enough, you'll eventually spill a drop or the entire cup. Whether you're enjoying your iced or hot java en route to work, school, a meeting, or just sitting in front of the TV, it always lands on your clothing when you least suspect it. The biggest question is, what do you do next?
Here's how to remove coffee stains from clothes:
- Determine the type of fabric for the course of action.
- Clean fresh stains immediately.
- Use stronger methods for older stains.
These tough stains aren't impossible to get rid of, but it’s important to note that not all coffee stains are created equal. To save your clothes from any drips and spills, make sure to arm yourself with these easy and practical techniques. Keep reading!
1. Determine the Type Of Fabric For the Course Of Action
It's always when you're wearing a white shirt when coffee stains come looking for you, and unless you’re home when you spill it, you may not have a spare outfit to change into. However, most coffee stains on clothes come out no matter how long it's been there. The only thing that changes is the method to remove it.
In the coffee removal process, it’s essential to determine the type of fabric, whether white or any color.
These fabrics include nylon, polyester, spandex, rayon, and more. To remove the coffee stain, here are the steps:
- Take a clean white cloth or dry paper towel to blot up excess coffee.
- Soak the stain in a solution of 4 cups (0.24 L) of warm water, ½ teaspoon (2.46 ml) of dishwashing or laundry detergent, and 1 tablespoon (14.79 ml) of white vinegar for 15 minutes.
- Rinse the coffee-stained area with a few cups of warm water.
- Take a cloth/sponge and rubbing alcohol to blot up any remaining stains.
- Place the fabric in the washing machine as you usually would.
With cotton shirts, there's a relatively easy method to remove the stain. Here are the steps:
- Take a clean white cloth or dry paper towel to blot up excess coffee.
- Pretreat the stained area with a stain remover.
- Place the fabric in the washing machine immediately after.
Whether your stain is on silk, leather, satin, or wool, rubbing alcohol works wonders for removing coffee stains. Here are the ways on how to remove the stain:
- Silk: Mix equal amounts of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water. Then dab the solution on the stain, followed by washing the fabric after.
- Leather: Run cold water on the stained area to remove any excess coffee. Then use 1 teaspoon (4.93 ml) of rubbing alcohol to remove the stain. If the stain lingers, take it to the dry cleaner for best results.
- Satin: Similar to silk, mix equal amounts of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water. Then blot the solution on the stain, followed by washing the fabric after.
- Wool: Blot rubbing alcohol over the coffee stain, then wash the fabric.
If the coffee stain doesn't come out the first time, repeat these steps until it does.
Remember, don't put the fabric in the dryer until the stain has been removed. Fresh stains will come out after one or two times through these steps. If you tried the above methods and they don’t come out of your white shirt, then let’s look at the alternative.
Although a last resort, bleach can only be used for white clothing and can be worth trying if your fabric is amenable. Remember to be careful when using, as you don't want to mix any other clothing items to undergo the bleaching treatment.
2. Clean Fresh Stains Immediately
It's important to note that you have a better chance to eliminate the fresh stain when the coffee has just been spilled, so act quickly. Interestingly, there are a few different methods to remove the coffee stain using common household items most of us have handy in our home, school, or office.
For a fresh coffee, stain gets to work immediately, and try running it under cold water.
After every couple of minutes, rub the stained area gently using your thumbs. Make sure to run the water through the front and back of the stain. Once the stain is gone, wash as you normally would.
Perhaps you've used club soda to remove red wine from one of your favorite shirts? It also works great for stubborn coffee stains. Dab some on the coffee stain and continue to blot until you've removed the stain. You may need to scrub it a bit and/or let the shirt soak in club soda for 5-10 minutes Rinse and repeat if needed.
Do you have a bar of soap or liquid dish soap handy? Take the soap and rub it into the stain, then let it sit for about an hour, ensuring it doesn't dry. Rinse it with water, and you can wash it as usual. However, this isn’t always effective. If it doesn’t come out, you’ll want to try other methods.
Not the best method if you’re out in public, but if you don't mind smelling like vinegar until you can wash your clothing, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. Use a clean cloth or white paper towel dipped in this solution to scrub the stain until it disappears.
Here’s a video that explains the process:
Toothpaste can act as an exfoliator for fresh coffee stains. To remove, make sure to rub the stain with a small amount of toothpaste to remove the stain. Then rinse the fabric with cold water and repeat with the toothpaste as needed.
To remove the stain, wet the stained area with cool water or a damp clean towel. Then take equal amounts of baking soda and water to form a paste. Scrub the paste onto the stain, continue rubbing until the stain is gone. Then rinse with cold water.
Shaving cream can also tackle the infamous coffee stain. Similar to soap, rub the stain with shaving cream. Then rinse the shirt and repeat as necessary. Once the stain is removed add it to your washing machine as soon as possible.
Not just used for cooking, salt is a great tool to remove your coffee stain. Follow these steps to help remove excess liquid and prevent the stain from worsening or spreading:
- To use, sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the stain to penetrate the fabric.
- Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Then gently rub away with a clean paper towel or an absorbent cloth.
Stain Removal Pen/Spray
With dedicated stain removal products such as the stain pen or spray, first, wipe the excess stain with a dry cloth. Then add the stain removal pen or spray to the affected area. Once it has dried, toss the material in the wash or hand wash it yourself for better results.
3. Use Stronger Methods For Older Stains
If you've ever had a coffee stain, you know how difficult that distinctive brown color can be to remove, and that's because it contains tannin, a natural dye found in plants.
Although it’s best to act quickly on a drink stain, sometimes the day gets away from us, and that fresh coffee stain turns into three-day-old coffee stains. While stubborn stains takes more time, patience, and sometimes a bit of a trial-and-error process to clean the affected area, it usually can be removed with one of these methods.
Detergent & Toothbrush Is Key
Here are the steps on how to remove stains using detergent and toothbrush:
- Scrub your clothing with the liquid laundry detergent using an old toothbrush in a circular motion.
- Make sure to add enough detergent to cover the stain fully.
- Let it soak in cold water and every five minutes, rub the stained area with your clean fingers to loosen the stain from the fabric.
- After thirty minutes of soaking, check the stained area. If the stain proves to be difficult, move the fabric to warm water and soak before rinsing.
- Remember, the important thing is not to let it dry until you're sure the stain is gone.
Create a Cleaning Paste
If the stain remains after trying the above, mix equal amounts of water, laundry detergent, and vinegar. Use this formula to cover the stain, and use an old toothbrush to scrub the spot gently. Stains don’t always come out with gentle scrubbing, however, so you might want to scrub harder until it does come out.
Now that you’re armed and ready to face these stains, unite with a fellow coffee drinker and start sipping your coffee concoctions. There’s no need to fear coffee again, as you can always get out stains using these methods.