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How to remove coffee stains

Here are the best ways to remove pesky coffee stains from clothing and carpets!

It's almost inevitable for coffee drinkers, that at some point in the future, that cup of hot liquid you're holding is going to spill.

Maybe it will be just a few drops that harmlessly fall to the ground.

But in the worst case scenario, it's a considerable amount that spills straight onto your clothing, carpet or other valued item.

Coffee looks nice in a cup.

Coffee does not look nice when it's soaking through your white shirt when you're on your way to work.

Fear not though, because if you follow our advice, you'll be well-prepared with the best tips to remove coffee stains.

Why Does Coffee Stain?

How to remove coffee stains

Along with the much-loved ingredient of caffeine, coffee also contains tannins, which are naturally occurring compounds found in many places in nature, including in plants, wood, bark and leaves.

Other stain culprits like wine and tea contain plenty of tannins, as does chocolate.

If there are too many tannins in coffee, it can cause the brew to taste bitter and leave a dry feeling in your mouth.

Tannins are strong little things and love sticking to places, hence why your dentist can probably tell if you're a coffee drinker or not from a quick look at your teeth.

So now that the science is out of the way, let's get cracking with how to actually remove coffee stains.

How To Remove Coffee Stains

Removing A Fresh Coffee Spill From Clothing

The most important step in removing a coffee stain is to act QUICKLY!

As soon as that liquid touches something it shouldn't, start looking for a tap or a way to wash the stain off.

Don't scrub the stain with a paper towel or similar, as this may spread the stain and bind it further with the clothing material.

For a spill on clothing, try the following steps:

  1. Run the affected area under cold water as soon as you can.
  2. Run the water from the backside of the fabric, to ‘push’ the stain out.
  3. Keeping running cold water through the stain until the water exiting the fabric is clear.

This should remove most of the stain, and make your garment wearable for the rest of the day.

Depending on the fabric and extent of the stain, by following up later with a hot water washing machine cycle, your item should be back to normal.

Removing A Stubborn Or Dried Coffee Spill From Clothing

If cold water doesn't work, or the spill has had time to dry out, then it's time to try some more powerful methods for removing the stain.

Stain Remover Spray or Gel

The easiest solution to remove a coffee stain is to use a stain remover spray or gel, which are available from all supermarkets.

Try a product like Magic Stain Remover or Vanish Stain Remover.

Have a look at the instructions on the back of the product. Generally, you spray these products onto the stain, leave them to soak in, before washing off.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

Try the following when removing stubborn coffee stains with liquid laundry detergent:

  1. Run a small amount of cold water through the stain and then rub liquid laundry detergent onto the area.
  2. Leave the stain to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Rinse stained area under cold water.
  4. Repeat the above steps again if they don't work the first time.

If the stain is still there after a second rinse, try the below method.

Laundry Powder and White Vinegar

For more stubborn stains, try this:

  1. Combine a few drops of white vinegar with laundry powder.
  2. Mix it together until it forms a paste.
  3. Use an old toothbrush to rub this mixture into the stain.
  4. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing with cold water.

Dish Liquid

If you have no laundry detergent or powder on hand, then dish liquid can also get the job done.

Follow the same steps as what was recommended for liquid laundry detergent.

Bleach (For White Garments Only)

While white clothing makes a coffee spill way more visible, it also makes it easier to remove the stain by using bleach.

Simply try the following:

  1. Mix a 1/4 cup of bleach with plenty of water.
  2. Soak for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Rinse the garment.
  4. Put the garment through a wash cycle.

Removing a Coffee Stain from Carpet

There's nothing worse than an unsightly coffee stain on your carpet at home, especially if it's a light colour.

Just like with clothing, a speedy response is key to saving your carpet.

For these types of stains try this:

  1. Start by softly blotting the spill with a cloth to stop it from spreading further.
    Don't rub or press too hard on the spill, as this could push it further into the carpet.
  2. Pour a small amount of cold water over the area and then blot it again.
  3. Continue to alternate doing this until no more coffee transfers from the carpet to the cloth.

The next step is to either use a carpet stain remover, or to make your own concoction by using one part liquid detergent, one part white vinegar and two parts warm water.

  1. Using a clean cloth, lightly apply this solution to the stain by blotting it on it to dry.
  2. Rinse the area with a small amount of water and allow it to air dry.

Be prepared for coffee spillage

How to remove coffee stains

Whether you're a coffee fanatic or just someone who seems to attract bad luck, it pays to have a plan in place for coffee spills.

Keep a change of clothes in your car or at your workplace...you never know when they might come in handy.

And whatever you do, always keep a reasonable distance between your coffee and expensive electronics. Liquids and laptops don't mix well!

Lastly, invest in a quality reusable cup. Not only are they good for the environment, but their lids are more secure than a standard takeaway cup.

With these plans in place, the next time your coffee decides to go for a wander, you can smile and know exactly how to defuse the situation.