How to remove coffee stains from clothing

Coffee stains on clothing can be frustrating and challenging to remove. Whether you accidentally spilled your morning cup of joe or ended up with a coffee splatter, it’s essential to know the right techniques to tackle these stains. In this article, we will explore various methods to effectively remove coffee stains from your clothes, providing you with simple and practical solutions.

remove coffee stains from clothing

Why Coffee Stains Happen

Coffee contains tannins, which are natural compounds that can cause discoloration on fabrics. When coffee comes into contact with clothing, these tannins bind to the fabric fibers, leaving behind a noticeable stain. If not treated promptly, coffee stains can become stubborn and difficult to remove.

Types of Coffee Stains

Coffee stains can vary in intensity and composition depending on various factors such as the type of coffee, temperature, and length of contact with the fabric. Fresh coffee stains are generally easier to remove compared to older, set-in stains. It’s important to identify the type of stain before applying any treatment to ensure the best results.

Pre-Treatment Steps

Before attempting to remove the coffee stain, it’s crucial to act quickly and follow a few pre-treatment steps:

  1. Blot: Gently blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb as much of the coffee as possible. Avoid rubbing, as it can spread the stain further.
  2. Test: Always test any stain removal method on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage.
  3. Read the Care Label: Check the care label on the garment for any specific instructions or restrictions regarding stain removal and follow them accordingly.

Removing Coffee Stains

Here are several effective methods for removing coffee stains from clothing:

  1. Cold Water Method: Rinse the stained area under cold running water to flush out the coffee. Gently rub the fabric together to loosen the stain.
  2. Vinegar Solution: Create a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Apply the solution to the stain using a clean cloth or sponge, then blot the area. Rinse with cold water.
  3. Baking Soda Paste: Make a paste by combining baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stain and gently rub it in. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing with cold water.
  4. Liquid Dish Soap: Apply a small amount of liquid dish soap directly to the stain. Gently rub the fabric together to create a lather. Rinse with cold water.
  5. Hydrogen Peroxide: Dilute hydrogen peroxide with water in a 1:1 ratio. Apply the solution to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse with cold water.
  6. Enzyme-Based Stain Removers: Use a commercial enzyme-based stain remover following the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the product to the stain, let it sit for the recommended time, and wash the garment as usual.

Prevention Tips

While accidents happen, there are a few preventive measures you can take to minimize the chances of coffee stains on your clothing:

  • Use spill-proof travel mugs or cups with tight-fitting lids when carrying coffee.
  • Be cautious when drinking or pouring coffee near light-colored or delicate fabrics.
  • Consider using a stain-resistant fabric spray on your clothing.
  • Act quickly when a spill occurs to prevent the stain from setting.


Coffee stains on clothing can be stubborn, but with the right techniques and prompt action, they can be effectively removed. Remember to blot, pre-treat, and choose an appropriate method based on the fabric type. By following the methods mentioned in this article, you can rescue your favorite clothes from unsightly coffee stains.


  1. Can I use hot water to remove coffee stains? Hot water can actually set the coffee stain, making it more difficult to remove. It’s best to use cold water when treating coffee stains.
  2. Will bleach remove coffee stains? Bleach is not recommended for coffee stain removal, especially on colored fabrics, as it can cause discoloration. Stick to the methods mentioned in this article for safe and effective stain removal.
  3. Can I use these methods on delicate fabrics? While some methods may be suitable for delicate fabrics, it’s important to test them on a small, inconspicuous area first. Delicate fabrics may require professional cleaning to avoid damage.
  4. Are these methods safe for colored clothing? Yes, the methods mentioned in this article are generally safe for colored clothing. However, it’s always recommended to test them on a small area first to ensure colorfastness.
  5. What if the coffee stain is old and set-in? Older coffee stains may require repeated treatments and a longer soaking time. It’s best to treat the stain as soon as possible to prevent it from setting in further.

Sharing Is Caring:

The Howtowise team has helped thousands of homemakers fix their household problems with step-by-step tutorials. Howtowise has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.