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How to remove coffee stains from clothes, carpets and sofas

Coffee is one of the biggest culprits of stubborn stains. Here’s how to fight it...


By Cleanipedia Team

Hands rinsing a garment under running water

We love the smell of coffee. We love the taste of coffee. We do not love having our clothes (or worse, carpets or sofas) ruined by coffee stains. Never fear, by the time you’ve finished this article, you’ll know how to remove coffee stains from pretty much anything.

Our number one top tip is to act fast. The quicker you treat a coffee stain, the easier it will be to remove.

How to get coffee stains out of clothes

Before you start, remember to check the care label. Some clothes shouldn’t be exposed to water. If the stain is on silk or another delicate fabric, it’s best to take it to the dry cleaners.

You can try tackling the stain yourself if it’s on wool, as long as the label doesn’t say dry clean only. However, don’t rub it too vigorously, or you’ll damage the fibres.

1. Blot the coffee stain

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

If the spill is recent, blot the coffee quickly with either a paper towel or some tissues. This will help to remove excess liquid, along with some of the chemicals in coffee that give the stain its colour.

2. Rinse the stain with cold water

Run cold water through the back of the stain for three to five minutes. Rub the stain gently every minute or so – this will help to loosen more stubborn marks. Coffee is packed with nutrients, so why not collect the waste water in a bowl to feed your plants with?

3. Add detergent to treat the coffee stain

Rub in a small amount of liquid laundry detergent and leave it to work its magic for a few minutes. Then gently rub the stain between your fingers again to help loosen it, before rinsing with cold water.

4. Wash as normal

Hopefully, you should hardly be able to see the stain now, so you can wash the garment in the washing machine as usual. Ideally, use a laundry detergent that’s proven to get stains out, like Persil, and a liquid stain remover, just to be on the safe side.

Before drying the garment in a tumble dryer, check to make sure that the stain has been removed – heat will set the stain. To be on the safe side, it’s best to air dry the garment first, as it can be difficult to see a stain when a garment is wet.

How to remove coffee stains using vinegar

If you’ve just spotted a coffee stain on something that’s already been through the wash, you’re going to need to get tough with it. White vinegar can be an effective stain remover, as you’ll see in the video below.

  1. Add a couple of tablespoons of laundry powder to equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  2. Mix it all together thoroughly until you have a paste.
  3. Test the mixture on a part of the garment that doesn’t normally show, in order to make sure it won’t discolour the fabric.
  4. If there’s no danger of discolouration, rub the paste into the stain.
  5. Use an old, clean toothbrush to gently scrub both sides of the stain. (If you’re working with wool or another delicate fabric, just use your fingers or a clean white cloth.)
  6. Rinse the fabric thoroughly.

How to remove coffee stains using stain remover

Stain removers can be fantastic at fighting tough stains. Keep an eye out for ones designed for coffee stains, or just buy a good multi-purpose stain remover.

  1. Again, remember to test any new product on a small part of the garment first, to make sure that it won’t discolour or damage the fabric.
  2. Whether you have a stick or liquid remover, you’ll want to rub it into the stain.
  3. After five to 10 minutes (depending on what the instructions say), wash the garment as you would normally do.

How to remove coffee stains using baking soda

You can also use baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda) to remove coffee stains (just tes it on a small hidden area of your garment first).

  1. Rinse the stain with water.
  2. Pour a teaspoon of baking soda onto the stain
  3. Rub it into the stain with your fingers.
  4. Leave it for at least an hour before rinsing it off.

How to get coffee stains out of carpets

Carpets are a little harder to treat, as you can’t exactly hold them under a tap. Check out our full guide to removing coffee stains from carpets here. If you can’t get rid of the stain, you might want to hire an electric carpet cleaner, or get a professional in. If all else fails, do check your home insurance. Some policies cover accidental damage.

How to remove coffee stains from upholstery

Spilled coffee on your sofa, armchair, curtains or other soft furnishings? It is trickier to treat large objects that can’t be rinsed in the sink, but it is still possible.

  1. Blot as much of the coffee up as you can, using an old towel or kitchen roll. Keep pressing down using a clean piece of towel, until you can’t get any more liquid up.
  2. Check the care label before you start treating the stain. Some materials shouldn’t be washed at home.
  3. If the care label says you’re OK to proceed, test on a small, hidden area first (eg the underneath of a sofa cushion).
  4. Once you’re happy it’s safe to carry on, make your stain solution. If you have a liquid upholstery cleaner, dilute it in water, as directed on the label. If you don’t have a professional cleaning solution, make your own with one tablespoon of washing up liquid, one tablespoon of white vinegar and one cup of lukewarm water.
  5. Rub the stain gently using the stain solution and a clean cloth or sponge.
  6. Keep going until the stain has faded. Change your stain solution if it starts to look dirty.
  7. Blot with a clean towel or kitchen roll.
  8. Empty your bowl and refill it with warm water. Use that and your sponge to rinse the stain solution off.
  9. Blot up as much of the water as you can.
  10. Leave it to dry.

Are coffee stains permanent?

You can usually get a coffee stain out if you act quickly, before it dries. The longer you leave it, the harder it’s going to be to get rid of.

Do coffee stains come out in the wash?

Coffee tends to stain, so it won’t usually come out in a normal wash cycle. We recommend treating it with a stain remover or following the guide above, before putting the garment in the washing machine.

Originally published