Does Coffee Stain Clothes?

By Forrest | Last Updated: March 19, 2022

If you are a coffee drinker, chances are you may have spilled coffee on yourself before. Yes, coffee stains can be a real pain. The real question is: can they stain clothes?

We’ll dive into this shortly. There are all kinds of stains that can be made on clothes. Some may be easy to remove and others can be quite difficult. Even the best stain remover can’t get the job done in one go.

If you are dealing with coffee stains from clothing, it may be easier to remove than you think. We’ll take a look at a few common stain removing ideas and even some of the ones that may seem a bit unconventional. With that said, let’s get started.

Does Coffee Stain Clothes

Does coffee stain clothes?

The short answer: yes. Let’s explain why. Coffee contains a natural dye known as tannin.

This is known to create stains that are brownish in color. The good news is that coffee stains are not permanent. However, if you leave the stain on your clothes for a lengthy period of time, it will be difficult to remove.

The sooner your remove coffee stains, the better. Timing is key here. When we get to the topic of how to clean coffee stains, you’ll know what to do and when it needs to be done.

That’s what makes the difference between cleaning fresh coffee stains and dried coffee stains. Want to learn the best coffee stain removal practices? Keep reading.

How to remove coffee stains?

So now that you have the basic explanation of coffee stains and the difficulty levels of removing them, let’s discuss how to you can get it done. Below are a total of eight different ways to remove coffee stains. Read these carefully as some of these ways may involve fresh coffee stains and others be more focused on old coffee stains.

Here are the following methods:

Cold water method

Removing coffee stains with cold water will usually work with fresh coffee stains. You’ll want to run cold water one a light stream. Then wash the stained area underneath it. Once washed, you’ll want to use a paper towel or a spare piece of fabric to dry it off.

You can even use a damp cloth and blot the stain. Then, using a paper towel or dry cloth you can dab it dry. Repeat the process until the stain is completely removed.

A fresh stain will be easily removed. A dried stain, not so much.

If you spilled coffee on your clothes, you’ll want to remove the stain immediately. This way, you don’t have to wrestle with dried coffee stains that will be difficult to remove.

Use Laundry Detergent to Remove Coffee Stain

Laundry detergent

Using your favorite liquid laundry detergent (or powdered laundry detergent), apply a small amount of it while running the stain through water. Whether it’s warm water or cold water, it may depend on the care instructions listed on the tag. Once the laundry detergent is applied, use an old toothbrush to gently rub it in.

Avoid rubbing it vigorously as it may spread the stain.

The stain may be removed at this point. However, if you are having trouble removing the stain, add more detergent and repeat the process. Then, allow the clothes to sit and dry for approximately 30 minutes.

After that, rub the stain again with laundry detergent and it may disappear. Rinse the stain and dab it using a dry towel.

Dish soap

Yes, dish soap can be effective against coffee stains. It’s also a potent ally against tough grease and oil-based stains as well. If you want to use this method, apply a few drops of your favorite dish soap (Dawn is usually one of the best) on the stain. Gently rub the soap in with an old toothbrush.

If dealing with dried coffee stains, you’ll want to ensure that the dish soap is soaked on the stain for at least a half hour. Rub the area again and rinse with cold water. Finally, dry the area.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to use a regular dish soap. Do not mix it with bleach and make sure that you do not throw it in your washer. Dish soap should be used for the sink, not your washer.

Plus, it will be very difficult to remove the suds from the washer anyway.

White vinegar

When it comes to removing coffee stains, vinegar is perhaps one of the best options. Especially when you are removing coffee stains from white clothes. Do not use white vinegar on colored fabrics at all.

With that said, here’s what you need to do. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar and mix it with a cup of warm water. Then, add one teaspoon of laundry detergent and apply the solution to the stained area.

Allow the vinegar to set for about five minutes and then rinse the area with water. Afterwards, wash the clothing like you would in the washer. If dealing with a dried coffee stain, you can put it in the washer without even soaking it elsewhere. To do this, you want to add a half cup of white vinegar to the soap compartment of your washer.

Run it through a normal wash cycle. If the stain is really difficult, soak it in equal parts warm water and vinegar. Do this for about 15 to 30 minutes. After that, apply rubbing alcohol to a towel so you can wet and remove the rest of the stain.

Alternatively, you can mix vinegar with detergent and even hydrogen peroxide. You’ll only need to add hydrogen peroxide to remove coffee stains that are a challenge. Do not apply it to colored fabric since it can remove the color itself.

Use Baking Soda to Remove Coffee Stain

Baking soda

If there is one thing that can be used as a ‘hacking solution’, leave it to baking soda to be a reliable secret weapon against a stubborn coffee stain. If you want to remove coffee stains using this method, here’s what you need to do.

First, run water on the stain and apply a small amount of baking soda to it. Allow it to sit for about 10 to 20 minutes then wash it like normal.

If the stain remains, mix two tablespoons each of baking soda and diluted white vinegar. Make sure to use one tablespoon per cup of warm water. Mix this all in a small sized bowl.

When mixed, the baking soda should have a pasty like texture. Apply it to the stain and let it sit for about 10 to 20 minutes. Again, wash the clothes as normal.

Egg yolk

This seems like a pretty unconventional cleaning method when dealing with fresh stains, right? If you spill a hot drink on yourself, the last thing you’re probably thinking it making more of a mess. Rest assured, this won’t make much of a mess.

You’ll need an egg, warm water, rubbing alcohol, two dry towels (not a paper towel), and a spoon. The first thing you need to do is add two tablespoons each of warm water and rubbing alcohol to the bowl. Place the egg yolk into the bowl after that.

Mix it altogether and soak one of the towels into it. Be sure that the stained area is wet prior to applying the egg yolk. Rinse with warm water and dab it dry with a cloth.

Club soda

Pour some club soda onto the stained fabric. Then using a dry towel, lift the stain for a few minutes. You’ll want to dry the fabric as soon as possible when finished.

Enzyme presoak

Lastly, an enzyme presoak may be a good cleaning agent to use. Especially if you want to destroy any of the proteins of a stain. Before you do anything, you want to make sure that the fabric is washable to avoid any issues. Mix the enzyme presoak thoroughly with water.

Take the article of clothing and soak it for at least 30 minutes. Pay close attention to the care instructions of the clothing you are cleaning. Some may handle warm water and others can only rinse in cold water.

When dealing with a soiled area, it’s better to look at the care instructions on a tag before you do anything. Especially when it comes to cleaning coffee. Stained clothes have to be cleaned in a certain way in accordance to the instructions so double check the tag to avoid mistakes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use lemon juice to remove coffee stains?

Yes. You can remove coffee stains with lemon juice. It will be great for not only a fresh stain but also a dried stained area as well. Using a clean cloth, soak it with lemon juice and blot it. It’s best to use it on white clothing since lemon justice is considered as a bleach agent. A few drops of lemon juice can be just fine if the stain is small.

Is a coffee stain permanent?

No. A coffee stain is not permanent. But the longer a coffee stain remains, the more challenging it will be for you to remove it. As long as you act quickly after you accidentally spill coffee, you should be in good shape. Use paper towels if you can to remove any coffee if possible. Then remove the stained area using the eight methods above.

A dried coffee stain is not permanent and can be removed using methods such as dish soap.

Can you remove coffee from wooden surfaces?

The best way to remove coffee stains from wooden surfaces is using vinegar. Avoid white vinegar as it may cause discoloration. Blot the area with dry paper towels. Do not use a wet cloth as it may damage the wood.

Can coffee beans leave stains?

Since coffee beans are not liquid, they don’t leave stains.

Final Thoughts

If you spill a cup of coffee on your favorite clothes, you’ll want to remove it as soon as possible using your favorite stain removal method or any of the eight listed above. It may take just a cup of water to wash it out and a bit of detergent. Or it may be something else.

Next time when handling a cup of coffee, be sure to hold onto it for dear life if you are in a rush. Because that’s a peak time when coffee stains occur.