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How to Remove Coffee Stains from Clothes: 3 Easy Tricks

The Sauce Boss
Jun 7, 2024
Laundry Tips

Whether you spilled your morning coffee on your pajamas or splashed an espresso martini on your favorite outfit, coffee stains can ruin your day. But the good news is that they won’t permanently ruin your clothes—as long as you know the right tricks to remove them.

The tannins that give coffee its dark color can easily bind to fabrics, creating a stubborn stain. To stop a coffee stain in its tracks, you’ll need a combination of water, laundry detergent, and a mild acidic solution like vinegar or baking soda to break down those brown pigments.

In this article, we’ll cover three easy methods to erase all evidence of your coffee calamity. No matter which technique you try, the most important thing is to act fast. The quicker you treat the stain, the quicker you can salvage your clothes and get back to enjoying your cup of coffee.

Pro tip: Always check the care label on your garment before treating stains.

How to Remove Coffee Stains from Cotton and Linen Clothes

What you need:

1. Blot the Stain

As soon as you can, blot the coffee stain with a clean cloth to absorb as much of the coffee as you can. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the fabric.

2. ​​Rinse with Cold Water

Hold the stained area under cold running water. Rinse from the back of the fabric to help push the coffee out of the fibers.

3. Apply Dish Soap

Apply a small amount of liquid dish soap directly to the stain. Gently rub it into the stain with your fingers or a soft brush.

Let the dish soap sit on the stain for about 15 minutes to break down the coffee compounds.

4. Rinse Again

Rinse the stained area again with cold water to remove the detergent and loosened coffee particles.

5. Wash as Usual

Launder the garment as you normally would, using cool water and an enzyme-based laundry pod like Laundry Sauce. If the coffee stain is still visible, repeat the process before putting your garment in the dryer.

How to Remove Coffee Stains from Synthetic Fabrics

What you need:

  • Soft towel
  • Water
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Laundry pods

1. Blot the Stain

As soon as possible, dab the coffee stain with a clean cloth or towel to soak up any excess coffee. Don’t rub the stain, since this can push it deeper into the fabric.

2. Combine Water, Dish Soap, and Vinegar

In a tub or basin, combine 1 quart of lukewarm water, ½ teaspoon of dishwashing detergent, and 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar. Soak your stained garment in the mixture for 15 minutes. Soak your garment in the mixture for 15 minutes.

3. Rinse in Cool Water

Flush the excess mixture out of the fabric with cool water. Make sure you don’t use hot water, since that can set the stain on your clothes.

5. Launder as Usual

Wash your garment in the washing machine according to the care instructions, using a laundry pod and cool water. If you can still see the coffee stain, repeat the process before drying.

How to Remove Coffee Stains with Baking Soda

What you need:

1. Blot the Stain

First, blot the coffee stain with a clean cloth to remove any excess liquid.

2. Make a Paste with the Baking Soda

Mix 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water to form a thick paste. You can also use a 3:1 ratio of baking soda to water for larger areas.

3. Apply the Paste

Using a soft cloth or toothbrush, work the paste into the coffee stain until you see it start to dissolve. Baking soda's alkalinity interacts with acidic coffee stains to "trap" pigment and odor.

4. Rinse the Stained Area

Rinse the stained area with cool water to flush away as much of the baking soda paste as you can.

5. Launder as Usual

Machine-wash your garment like you normally would, using cool water and a laundry detergent pod.

Common Questions About Removing Coffee Stains from Clothes

Now that you’re an expert on coffee stain removal, let’s cover some common questions you might have.

How Do You Get Dried Coffee Stains Out of Clothes?

The best way to remove set-in stains involves a combination of soaking, treating with cleaning agents, and thorough washing. Here’s a step-by-step method:

  1. Pre-treat the stain by soaking it in a basin filled with cold water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for 30 minutes.
  2. Rinse the garment with cold water.
  3. Apply an enzyme-based stain remover directly to the affected area and work it in with your fingers or a soft brush.
  4. Machine-wash the garment using the warmest water temperature safe for the fabric (check the care label).

Does Bleach Remove Coffee Stains from White Clothes?

Bleach can remove coffee stains, but it's important to use the right type of bleach and follow your garment’s care instructions to avoid damaging the fabric. Chlorine bleach can only be used on white, bleach-safe fabrics like cotton or polyester.

Does Coffee Permanently Stain Clothes?

Coffee stains are almost never permanent. However, the longer you wait to treat them, the tougher they are to remove.

Should You Use Hot or Cold Water for Coffee Stains?

Always use cold water to wash away coffee stains. Warm water can cause the coffee pigments to bind to the fibers of your fabric, making them harder to dissolve.

Coffee Stains Are No Match for Laundry Sauce

From Starbucks spills to espresso martini mishaps, Laundry Sauce is built to conquer your coffee stains. Our high-performance laundry pods are concentrated with 4x more cleaning power than generic liquid laundry detergent, enriched with bio-enzymes to tackle those tannins and revive your fabrics.

Even better, Laundry Sauce infuses your clothes with luxurious fragrances like Australian Sandalwood, Italian Bergamot, and French Saffron. We love the smell of freshly brewed coffee as much as the next person, but our sophisticated fragrances give it a run for its money.

Take our 2-minute quiz to find your new favorite scent!

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