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How To Remove Coffee Stains From Clothes: Ultimate Guide

In this article, we will explore various methods of removing coffee stains from clothes. Whether you spilled coffee on a white shirt or a colored dress, we will provide you with effective solutions to tackle that unsightly coffee stain. From DIY home remedies to specialized stain removers, we have compiled a list of tried and tested methods that will help you get rid of coffee stains from any type of fabric.

How to remove coffee stains from clothes

Well, we’ve all done it. 

Perhaps you tripped on the cat or someone bumped your elbow. Maybe you have a small child who darted around your feet. Or it’s possible that you are just a bit clumsy. It happens to almost everyone at one time or another for various reasons. One minute you are holding a fragrant cup of coffee and the next, somehow, it has splashed all over you. Whether the stain is small or large, the reality is this: if you can’t get the stain out of your clothing, you’ve basically just ruined an otherwise perfectly good item. 

You know, they say that the probability of getting a stain on your new blouse is directly proportional to the price of the blouse, and I agree. It is also proportional to the color of the blouse, the lighter the color, the more likely to get a stain. I would say that it is also proportional to the amount of time you spent sewing the blouse. Ha-ha. 

However a coffee stain is not the end of the world and if you act quickly, do the right things and do NOT do any wrong thing (yes, there are things you should not do), you can get rid of them. 

So what are the best practices for getting coffee stains out of clothing?  Does it matter whether the clothes are polyester or all natural fibers? Can I clean the stains from my clothing without resorting to harsh chemicals? If you need to know how to get coffee stains out of clothes, this article will tell you exactly how to do it.

How To Remove Fresh Coffee Stains From Clothes

Did you notice that when you spill hot coffee on your blouse, you lose your sleepiness much faster than when you drink the coffee?

So, if you can act fast, you are much more likely to be able to remove the stain entirely, so jump into action with the following steps to remove coffee stains.

Flush the Coffee Stain with Cool Water

The first step is crucial. You need to act fast and flush the stain with cool water as soon as possible before it sets in. The longer a stain sits, the higher its chance of becoming permanent.

Flush stain with Cool Water

To do that, simply hold the stained fabric under a running faucet. Make sure the water is cool, not hot, as hot water can actually set the stain in further. Allow the water to run over the stain for a few minutes, gently rubbing the fabric together to help loosen any coffee particles.

After rinsing with cool water, you may notice that the stain is still visible, but it should be much lighter than before. This is because the cool water has helped to remove some of the coffee oils that cause the stain to darken.

stain less visible after rinsing

After flushing with cool water, you may follow up by rinsing the stain with warm (not hot!) water. This will help to dissolve residual coffee oils that may still be present in the fabric.

Blot the Stain with a Clean Cloth or Paper Towels

After you’ve flushed the stain, blot as much of the remaining liquid from the fabric with paper towels or a clean light colored rag.

However, the method you use will depend on the number of layers of clothing involved. 

If the stain is on a single layer of clothing, such as a button-down blouse or zippered hoodie, you can lay the fabric flat on a clean surface and blot the stain. Gently press down on the paper towels or rag, using a blotting motion to absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

If the stain is on a garment with multiple layers, such as a t-shirt, sweater, or pants,  you will need to be more careful. Simply laying the garment flat on a surface and blotting the stain can cause the coffee to spread to other layers of the fabric, making the stain even harder to remove.

To blot a coffee stain on a garment with multiple layers, you will need to take a different approach. Place a clean cloth or rag underneath the layer of fabric with the stain, directly behind the stain. This will help to absorb any excess liquid and prevent the stain from spreading to other layers of the garment. But keep in mind that the stain WILL spread on whatever you put underneath. 

Next, using a clean cloth or paper towel, gently blot the stain. Be sure to use a gentle blotting motion.

gently blot the stain with towel

After you’ve blotted the stain from the front of the garment, carefully remove the towel or rag from inside the garment. 

You will still see evidence of the coffee spill. It would be so nice if the stain just disappeared after those first few steps, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Coffee stains require more than just a quick rinse to remove completely.

carefully remove the towel and  repeat steps above

But don’t give up just yet – keep following the steps outlined below, and hopefully your clothes will be looking as good as new in no time!

Use Laundry Detergent to Remove Coffee Stains from Clothes

Make a paste with a bit of dry laundry detergent and water and gently rub it into the stain. If you use liquid detergent, you can simply pour some of it directly onto the fabric and rub it into the stain.

Wear gloves when working with laundry detergent, as it can be harsh on your skin.

remove stain using detergent

Once you’ve applied the detergent paste or liquid to the stain, let it sit on the fabric for 20-30 minutes before tossing it into the wash.

When laundering the item, be sure to follow the care instructions on the label and wash it as you normally would. 

After washing, check to see if the stain has been removed completely. In my case, the stain was gone.

stain was gone after rinsing

If it’s still there, you may need to use a stain remover to treat the stain further.

Keep in mind that you should avoid putting the garment in the dryer until the stain has been completely removed. The high heat of the dryer can set the stain into the fabric, making it even harder to remove.

Use a Commercial Stain Remover

If the coffee stain is still visible after washing, you may need to use a commercial stain remover to treat the stain further. There are many different types of stain removers available on the market, so be sure to choose one that is appropriate for the type of fabric you’re working with.

When using a stain remover, follow the instructions on the packaging carefully. In most cases, you’ll need to apply the stain remover directly to the stain and let it sit for a certain amount of time before washing the garment again. Some stain removers may require you to rinse the fabric with water before washing, while others can be added directly to the wash cycle.

Some stain removers can be harsh on fabrics, so they advise testing the product on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first to make sure it won’t cause any damage. This could be an area of the garment that is hidden from view, such as the inside of a seam or hemline, or a small area on the back of the garment.

By testing the stain remover on a small area first, you can ensure that it won’t cause any damage or discoloration to the fabric before applying it to the stain itself. Once you’ve determined that the stain remover is safe to use, you can apply it to the stain.

But in reality, it’s not always possible. If the stain remover needs to stay on the fabric for 30 min before washing I won’t test it first. 

As always, follow the care instructions on the label of the garment to avoid any damage during the washing process.

Commercial stain removers can effectively treat even the most stubborn coffee stains but still, even the most effective stain removers can’t guarantee that the stain will completely disappear.

I have another article about the best commercial coffee stain removers available on Amazon to help you get rid of stubborn coffee stains. The list features affordable, easy-to-use, and effective products that will help you tackle even the toughest coffee stains with ease.

The Best Commercial Coffee Stain Removers_ Our Top Picks on Amazon

Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself. 

To put this to the test, I tried using Carbona Stain Devils, a product specifically designed to remove coffee, tea, wine, and juice stains. 

remove stain using Carbona Stain Devils

It worked well and the coffee stain was completely gone.

coffee stain was completely gone after using Carbona stain devils

Home Remedies For Coffee Stain Removal

If you prefer to avoid using commercial stain removers or don’t have any of them, there are several home remedies that you can try to remove coffee stains from your clothes. Here are a few options to consider. 

Keep in mind that while these home remedies can be effective for removing coffee stains, they may not work in every case. If the stain is particularly stubborn, you may need to use a commercial stain remover or take the garment to a professional cleaner for treatment.

Also, the effectiveness of these remedies may vary depending on the type of fabric and the severity of the stain.

Avoid over-saturating the garment with pre-treatment solution. Apply a small amount of the solution and work it gently toward the center of the stain to prevent the spread of a stain to the surrounding area.

After applying the home remedy, rinse the garment in cold water and then launder it as usual so any remaining traces of the stain will be removed and the garment will be fresh and clean. These home remedies are not actual stain removers in most cases – they are pre-treatment options that help to remove the stain. 

I tried all of them and can tell you – they work!

Soak the Coffee Stain in White Vinegar 

Vinegar is a great natural spot treatment for coffee stains. Simply pour a bit of white vinegar directly onto the stain and let it soak for a few minutes before washing the garment as usual. This method works best for light-colored garments, as vinegar can sometimes cause darker fabrics to fade. 

Use Baking Soda 

Baking soda can be used on fresh coffee stains to prevent the stain from seeping too deeply into the fibers of the garment. Just scatter some on the stain (after flushing the stain with water and blotting) and rub it into the fabric with your fingers. Then, wash as the fabric label directs.

Use Salt

It may sound strange, but salt is an excellent remover of coffee stains, but only when the stain is fresh. Salt is a natural abrasive and can keep the stain from seeping more deeply into the fibers of the garment. The trick is to use a lot of it, rubbing it into the stain liberally.

Don’t flush the stain with water before applying salt for coffee stain removal.

Instead, pour a thick layer of table salt over the stain, allowing it to really seep into the fabric. At the very least, this will keep the stain from spreading. Repeat the process as needed until all the coffee has been absorbed.

Another method is to mix salt with a bit of cold water to make a paste, and then apply it to the stain. Let the paste sit for a few minutes before washing the garment as usual.

While salt can be effective for removing coffee stains, it may not work in every case.

Use Dish Soap to Remove a Coffee Stain from Clothes

Dishwashing liquids like Dawn are high-powered cleaners for oil and grease. For this reason, this is a great option for dissolving the coffee oils in a coffee stain. Just squirt some on the stain and rub it in with your fingers or an old toothbrush. Rinse the soap from the fabric and then wash the garment as usual, hanging it to dry until you are sure the stain is gone. 

Here’s an image of four coffee stains that I specifically made for this guide. I tried using different home remedies to see which one would be the most effective for removing the stains from white cotton cloth.

I tried white vinegar, baking soda, salt, and dishwashing liquid. 

removing stains using white vinegar, baking soda, salt, and dishwashing liquid

After applying each remedy, I rinsed the cloth in cold water before putting it into the washing machine.

rinsed cloth in cold water

And the winner was… dishwashing liquid! That’s right, dishwashing liquid was the best stain remover for this particular cloth. It removed the stain completely even before I laundered the cloth.

While the other home remedies also worked to some extent, the stains are still visible in this image. So, if you’re dealing with a stubborn coffee stain, dishwashing liquid might just be your new best friend.

After the treatment, I put the cloth through a regular laundry cycle with Tide detergent.

Tide pods detergent

All four stains were completely gone, thanks to pre-treatment with home remedies and also the power of Tide detergent.

All four stains were completely gone after laundry

Use Lemon Juice

If you need to know how to remove coffee stains from clothes without chemicals, you can use lemon juice as a stain remover, particularly on light colored clothing. Just pour a spoonful of juice directly on the stain and rub it with your fingers. After that, wash in the washing machine.  

Lemon juice is an excellent stain remover. So, I have my husband’s shorts here with a fresh coffee stain. Of course, I put the stain there myself for this tutorial (don’t worry, he’s not too attached to these shorts, ha-ha). But I was confident that I’d be able to remove the stain.

fresh coffee stain on shorts

And now I am going to use lemon juice to remove the stain (after I blotted the stain with paper towel of course).

using lemon juice to remove the stain

I rub the stain with my fingers.

rub lemon juice on stain

And now the stain is gone even if I didn’t launder the shorts yet. I will put them in the laundry with my favorite detergent (Tide) but later. 

Now I’m going to add not one, but two more coffee stains to these shorts to test out some other methods of coffee stain removal. These shorts are about to get hit with a caffeine overload.

stain gone even without washing

Below is the image of my husband’s shorts after the laundry was done. The stain is completely gone, and the shorts look as good as new.

shorts after laundry

Use Hydrogen Peroxide  

Hydrogen peroxide can be effective for removing coffee stains from clothes and fabrics. Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that can help to break down the pigments in the coffee stain, making it easier to remove.

Just pour the peroxide on the stain, let it sit for about 5 minutes to work and then blot the stain with clean, dry paper towels. You should wash the item as soon after you use the peroxide as possible to prevent bleaching of the garment. 

You can also mix one cup of hydrogen peroxide with a half teaspoon of dish soap in a small bowl. Dab the cleaning solution onto the stain using a sponge or light-colored towel, and then allow it to sit on the stain for 5-10 minutes before washing the garment as usual. 

It’s important to note that hydrogen peroxide can be harsh on some fabrics, so it’s a good idea to test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first to make sure it won’t cause any damage or discoloration.

Ok, here is another coffee stain I put on my husband’s shorts. 

coffee stain on shorts

I am going to use Hydrogen Peroxide now to fight the stain.

remove stain using Hydrogen Peroxide

I simply apply a small amount of the solution directly to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. 

I was pleased to see that the coffee stain had lightened significantly. While it didn’t completely remove the stain, it was definitely a step in the right direction.

coffee stain lightened after using Hydrogen Peroxide

Then, I rinse the garment in cold water and launder as usual. The stain is gone!

stain completely gone after laundry

How To Remove Dried Or Old Coffee Stains From Clothes

We all have the best of intentions, but sometimes life gets in the way, and we can’t treat the stains on our clothing right away. If you’ve discovered dried or old coffee stains on a garment, all is not lost. You may be able to remove the stain and restore the garment to wearable condition.

There are many methods to fight old coffee stains, and the following are just a few options to consider. 

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of each method may vary depending on the laundry detergent you use. Some detergents, like Tide, are known for their stain-fighting abilities, while others may not be as effective.

old stain on clothes

Use Oxygen Bleach 

One method to try is soaking the garment in a mixture of warm water and oxygen bleach like OxiClean. Oxygen bleach is a type of cleaning agent that doesn’t use harsh chemicals like chlorine to remove stains. It is gentler on fabrics and is less likely to cause discoloration or damage. Oxygen bleach is also more environmentally friendly than liquid bleach and can be used on a wide range of fabrics, including colors and whites, and is effective for removing a variety of stains, including coffee stains.

First, check the label. If your garment is made of polyester or another artificial fiber, it will be easier to loosen the stain. If your garment is made of an absorbent fabric like linen or cotton, you may need to soak it longer to achieve the same result.

After soaking put the garment in the washing machine and use lukewarm water to wash the garment. Don’t use water that is too hot, or it may set the stain. You want the water to be about body temperature.

So, I tried this method and soaked a tank top in a mixture of OxiClean and warm water for 2 hours.

soaked a tank top in a mixture of OxiClean

After laundering the tank top with Tide detergent, the coffee stain was gone.

coffee stain gone after laundry

If you’re dealing with an old coffee stain, it might take a bit more effort and time to remove it completely. Soaking the garment for longer periods of time or using a more concentrated solution might be necessary.

Commercial Stain Removers

Another option is to apply a pre-wash stain remover directly to the stain and let it sit for a while before washing the garment as usual. Commercial stain removers are often more effective than home remedies for old coffee stains. 

If you want to use a commercial stain remover, there are many options available.  Amodex Stain Remover, Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover, or Incredible! Stain Remover are all good options that will certainly work. Look for products that are labeled as “color-safe” or “gentle” to ensure that they won’t damage your fabrics.

Now I am dealing with an old coffee stain on my t-shirt. The stain had been there for two days. I needed something powerful to remove it, so I turned to Shout stain remover.

Shout is a popular brand of stain removers that’s known for its effectiveness in removing tough stains, including coffee. To use Shout on a coffee stain, simply apply the solution directly to the stain and let it sit for a while before laundering as usual.

removing old stain using Shout stain remover

I was a bit skeptical at first, since the coffee stain on my t-shirt had been there for two days. But after using Shout, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the stain had disappeared completely.

stain had disappeared completely after using shout stain remover

Chlorine Bleach

You can also use liquid Chlorine bleach, but check the care label on the garment first to make sure it’s safe to use. If the label indicates that the fabric can be bleached, you can add 1/4 cup bleach to a gallon of water, soak the item for a few hours, and then rinse the garment thoroughly with cold water and launder it as usual. 

I don’t like to use chlorine bleach though. While it can be effective in removing stains, it can also be harsh on fabrics and may cause discoloration or damage over time.

Home remedies

If you prefer natural stain removers, you can use baking soda, salt, dishwashing liquid, white vinegar, etc. to treat the stain. 

For example, create a solution of a tablespoon of vinegar and a half teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Apply it to the stain directly and allow the stain to soak for 20 or 30 minutes. If the garment is made of cotton, you may want it to soak longer. Rinse the garment under cool water, squeezing out the excess. If the stain is almost gone, launder it as normal.

Removing old coffee stains may take some time and effort, and you may need to repeat the process several times to fully remove the stain. 

By the way, if you’re tired of worrying about coffee stains ruining your favorite clothes, why not make a stylish apron to wear while enjoying your morning cup of joe? My tutorial on making an apron is the perfect place to start – you’ll learn valuable sewing skills and end up with a functional and fashionable accessory for your kitchen. By wearing an apron, you can protect your clothes from spills and stains while still looking great.

How to sew an apron with a towel attached

How Can I Remove Coffee Stains from Clothes Quickly?

If you are in a rush, you may want to know how to remove coffee stains from clothes quickly. First, rinse the stained area with cool water. This will probably get most of the coffee out of the fabric quickly. Then, examine it. If there is a faint shadow of coffee stain, use dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent to rub at the stain. Rinse the fabric again and blot it with a clean towel. Chances are, if the stain was fresh, it is gone. If not, you may need to try some of the above listed tricks to get the coffee out of the fabric. 

How Can I Remove Coffee Stains From Clothing Without Chemicals?

If you live a natural lifestyle, that doesn’t mean that you can’t remove stains. Many of the above listed solutions use natural products. Soap, lemon juice, salt, baking soda, and vinegar can remove coffee stains just as well as commercially marketed stain treatments.

How to Remove Coffee Stains from Clothes at Work

Yikes! You have a meeting in a few hours, and you just splashed coffee on the front of your blouse!

I can help you know how to remove coffee stains from clothes quickly. 

If you’re someone who frequently spills coffee on your clothes at work, the Tide To Go Instant Travel Stain Remover Pen is the perfect solution. This stain remover pen is easy to use, doesn’t require any additional cleaning supplies, and can be applied directly to the affected area. For best results, it’s recommended to use it as soon as possible after a spill occurs. 

I am going to use it on my husband’s shorts again, I put yet another coffee stain on them.

remove stains at work using Tide To Go Instant Travel Stain Remover Pen

Simply remove the cap, apply the stain remover to the affected area, and blot with a clean cloth or paper towel.

apply stain remover

The stain disappears within minutes.

stain gone within minutes

To ensure you’re always prepared, it’s a good idea to purchase the pen in advance and carry it with you in your purse or bag.

But if you don’t have Tide To Go Pen, rather than buttoning your sweater up so that you’re too warm all day, you can use many solutions at work. Most likely, you can find some salt, dishwashing liquid, or maybe even lemon juice in the kitchen at the office.

Take yourself to the bathroom and try these things to remove the stain. When you have gotten as much as you can off of the fabric, blot the fabric as dry as possible. Then you can use the blow-dryer in the restroom to dry your clothing as much as you can. Hopefully, it will dry out, so you can look presentable before your meeting!


The Fancy Way to Embrace Stubborn Coffee Stains 

But … sometimes nothing works and you’re stuck with a stubborn stain that just won’t come out. Oh, I have a fancy solution that’s sure to make you smile.

Aren’t these modern art images nice? I find it pleasing to look at them. Don’t you?

abstract watercolor painting on etsy
abstract watercolor painting on etsy

These abstract watercolor paintings are for sale on Etsy.

abstract watercolor painting on etsy details
abstract watercolor painting on etsy details

What is art? I doubt anyone can define the term properly and Wikipedia even tells us that “there is no generally agreed definition of what constitutes art”. I tend to call “art” that which pleases one of my senses, or which creates a general state of well-being. A poem, a piece of music, a drawing, the skillfully captured sunset in the middle of nature – all of these are in my opinion manifestations of art.

Of course, this is not an art site, so by now you know I am cheating 😃!

So, now look at these 2 images. They are images of coffee stains. But, seriously, aren’t the stain images nice too?

coffee stain image
coffee stain image

Instead of trying to remove the stain, why not embrace it? Turn that coffee stain into a fashion statement! Who needs designer clothes when you can have custom coffee stains on your shirt? Well, one is obviously not enough, so just add a few of them and you are all set. Ha-ha!

And if you’re feeling really fancy, head over to CreativeFabrica.com and check out their watercolor designs that look just like coffee stains. Why wear a plain white shirt when you can have a coffee-inspired masterpiece?

abstract watercolor pink stain on creative fabrica
natural brown watercolor splashes on creative fabrica
dark chocolate watercolor on creative fabrica

Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to the article later when you need this information on how to remove coffee stains from clothes , and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration!

How to remove coffee stains from clothes

I hope that these tips for removing coffee stains from clothes have been helpful to you. But what about when your clothes need a little extra TLC? Check out my tutorials on fabric care, including how to get rid of lint, how to stop fabric from fraying, and even how to make lavender sachets to keep your clothes smelling fresh. And if you’re dealing with holes or tears in your clothes, be sure to check out my tutorial on darning with a sewing machine for easy repairs. By repairing instead of replacing, you’ll not only save money but also reduce your environmental impact by reducing waste.

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