How To Remove Old Coffee Stains From Clothes
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How To Remove Old Coffee Stains From Clothes

It’s easy to find out how to remove old coffee stains from clothes but bringing them into practice is another story.

Suppose you’re a coffee addict like me, you may find yourself in the situation I am about to reveal, especially if you are not a careful person either. It’s coffee spilled on clothes.

This is usually easier to deal with if you’re drinking coffee at home, but most of the time, it’ll happen at work or at a coffee shop where you can’t take off your shirt and wash it right away. So by the time you get home, the stain has dried and becomes more challenging.

Don’t worry! There must have been many people like this, which doesn’t mean they have to give up their favorite shirts; therefore, you will always find a way that works for you.

To save your time and energy, I’ve collected many efficient methods that you can easily refer to. Let’s opt for the one which is the most convenient for you.

Old Coffee Stains
Old coffee stains could be very stubborn, and you might need some efficient methods to deal with them.

Are Coffee Stains Permanent?

The chances of you accidentally spilling coffee on your shirt are high if you drink it every day. However, you should not be discouraged because it is still possible to clean that ugly stain quickly.

Do you wonder why coffee can leave distinctive brown marks on your clothes? This starts with a compound commonly found in tea and coffee called tannin.

It’s said that it might be challenging to remove tannin-based stains, especially those caused by liquid which is added sugar, cream and hot drinks. In this case, tannin quickly binds to protein in hot water to form a new molecule and attract pigmented compounds.

This reaction will lead to coffee stains you’re looking at right now.

Don’t worry because they’re not permanent, and below are some friendly ways to begin with.

18 Effective Methods To Get Rid Of Old Coffee Stains From Clothes

Coffee stains can cause some trouble when you don’t know how to deal with them. As you might know, when it comes to stains, the faster you tackle, the better.

However, suppose you’re at work if you can’t afford enough time and resources to do so. Therefore, you will have to deal with dried or old ones.

This article is made for you. Let’s discover from start to finish to find the best method which suits you most.

Method 1: Cold And Hot Water

No matter how your coffee stain appears, I suggest you start cleaning it with water before thinking about the next step. Depending on the stubbornness of it, you can experiment with both cold and hot water.

Cold and hot water method is best used when stains haven’t dried for quite a long time.

In general, this method might be considered a pre-cleaning step that saturates the stain and prepares it for any deeper cleaning.

What’ll You Need:

  • Cold water or hot water


Step 1: Rinse the stain under cold running water. It would be helpful to run the water through the reverse side of the fabric, which helps prevent coffee from penetrating the clothes.

Step 2: Rub gently to make the coffee stain fade away.

Step 3: If it doesn’t change anything, you can get hot water and repeat the same action a few more times.

Method 2: Salt

Salt is an old cleaning agent trusted from generation to generation, thanks to its effectiveness and affordability. One more thing I like about salt is that it’s abrasive, so it will surely give the stain a good scrub.

Like cold and hot water methods, salt is often used to prevent the stain from spreading, so it’s a perfect pre-cleaning step which helps you save a lot of time and effort later.

What You’ll Need

  • Salt
  • Paper towel


Step 1: Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the top of the stain to make sure they can penetrate deeply to the fiber of your clothes. So, feel free to add more salt than you usually think. Too little salt can make all cleaning efforts go to waste.

Step 2: Let it sit for 5 minutes so the salt can start taking effect.

Step 3: Rub the stain with a paper towel to help get rid of the brown area.

Salt Shaker
Salt is a great pre-cleaning step you must know!

Method 3: Rubber Bands

Another technique to prevent the stains from spreading is using rubber bands. I guess you can put it into practice immediately because it’s pretty straightforward with little preparation.

In my opinion, I think it’s an excellent pre-cleaning step you need to know so that you can refer to it when necessary.

What You’ll Need

  • Rubber bands
  • A bowl


Step 1: Stretch the coffee stain over a bowl and secure it with rubber bands.

Step 2: Pour hot water (about 200 degrees F) from the height of 2-3 feet straight to the bowl until the water overflows slightly.

Step 3: Wait 3-5 minutes and wash carefully with warm water.

Step 4: After that, rinse with cold water.

Method 4: Vinegar

Vinegar is a highly versatile ingredient in your pantry that you can use for cooking and cleaning purposes.

If you don’t mind the smell of it lingering in your clothes for a while, then vinegar is a convenient, natural, and affordable option to remove the coffee stain.

What’ll You Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Dry towel


Step 1: Apply three or four drops of white vinegar on the stains.

Step 2: Pat the area with a clean, dry towel.

Method 5: Lemon Juice

Lemonade is my favorite summer drink which is thirst-quenching and straightforward. To my surprise, I can use lemon juice to help clean coffee stains. How convenient!

Before carrying any step below, I suggest you treat a small area of your garment with lemon juice to see if it turns yellow or not. If it doesn’t change color, keep going on.

What’ll You Need:

  • Lemon juice
  • Sponge


Step 1: Use a soft sponge to soak up some lemon juice.

Step 2: Gently dab onto the brown spot in a circular motion. Remember to apply enough lemon juice to wet the stained area.

Step 3: Use a clean and dry towel to stroke the spot gently.

Step 4: Repeat the process as many times as you prefer, maybe 2-3 times, until you get the expected result.

Step 5: Finally, put it in the washing machine

Some people say that lemon juice contains sugar which can leave stains on the fabric surface. Believe it or not, you should wash it as soon as possible after the cleaning process.

Freshly Lemon Juice
Lemon juice can be an excellent cleaning option you already had in your house.

Lemon can perform well in many cleaning tasks. Find out now!

Watch this video: 10 Useful Things You Can Clean With Lemon

Method 6: Vinegar/Lemon Juice And Water

Another effective method to combat coffee stains is using vinegar or a mixture of lemon juice and water. Let’s make it right now!

What’ll You Need:

  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Water
  • An old toothbrush


Step 1: Use plain vinegar or mix equal parts of lemon juice and water into a solution

Step 2: Wet the need-to-clean spot completely

Step 3: Apply this solution on the spot

Step 4: Use an old toothbrush to gently scrub the stain

Step 5: Let it sit for 20 minutes then rinse with water

Step 6: Now you can wash it as usual

Lemon And Water
Lemon juice and water can be a great stain removal.

Method 7: Dishwashing Detergent

Dishwashing detergent? Yes, you’ve heard me right. It’s said to be able to be used for clothes washing.(1)

As you might not know, synthetic fabric (spandex, nylon, polyester) is pretty strong and durable which can tolerate various cleaning methods while leathers, suedes, silks are delicate, and need to be treated carefully.

To play it safe, it would be helpful if you test the cleaning solution in the hidden area of your clothes first to make sure everything’s fine.

Let’s grab this bottle from the kitchen and start working on your stubborn coffee stain!

What You’ll Need

  • Dishwashing detergent brand of your choice
  • Vinegar
  • Warm water
  • A soft brush


Step 1: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 quart of lukewarm water in a large container.

Step 2: Immerse the entire garment into the mixture and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Step 3: Apply rubbing alcohol and gently blot it with a clean towel. Repeat as necessary until the stain goes away.

Step 4: Continue to wash as usual.

Method 8: Liquid Laundry Detergent

Another effective way you can try to say goodbye to coffee stains is you clean them with liquid laundry detergent. Are you curious about how it works? Let’s follow my instructions below to save your favorite shirt or anything you own.

What You’ll Need

  • Liquid laundry detergent you have in your house
  • Cold water
  • Warm water


Step 1: Wet your stained area with cold water.

Step 2: Squirt a bit of liquid laundry detergent on the coffee stain and leave it like that for about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Then rub the stain to remove the coffee mark. Rub again and stop when you think it was as clean as possible.

Step 4: After that, soak your clothes in cold water for about half an hour. This will make sure the coffee remainder will be saturated.

Step 5: If you notice a faint stain left on the shirt, continue to soak it in warm water for an extra 15 minutes before tossing it in the washing machine.

Liquid Laundry
Use a small amount of liquid laundry detergent to remove old coffee stains.

Method 9: Powdered Detergent

To enhance the cleaning effect, I suggest you try this homemade solution which includes 3 familiar ingredients: powdered detergent, liquid detergent, and white vinegar.

If you’re on the fence, let’s wait until you witness the result.

What You’ll Need

  • Powdered detergent
  • Liquid detergent
  • White vinegar
  • A toothbrush


Step 1: Blend equal parts of white vinegar, liquid detergent, and powdered detergent well to create a dense liquid.

Step 2: Test the liquid in a small area to see if there’s any unexpected reaction, for example discoloration. If not, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Smear a good amount of it on the spot you intend to clean

Step 4: Use an old toothbrush to scrub the stain, then rinse it out under the faucet.

Method 10: Club Soda

It’s proved that club soda can eliminate coffee stains on your carpet, shirt, or tablecloth. The more stubborn stains are, the more hours you need to soak your garments; sometimes, you need to let your clothes sit overnight to get the desired result.

In terms of small or faint coffee stains, you can follow my instruction below:

What You’ll Need

  • Club soda
  • An absorbent cloth


Step 1: Pour a cup of club soda on the area which needs to be treated.

Step 2: Blot gently with an absorbent cloth to lift out the spot.

Step 3: Repeat the same process with the reverse side of the fabric.

Club Soda
Club soda can help you clean brown marks which are caused by coffee spills.

Method 11: Stain Pen

I think a stain pen is one of my favorite to-go tools to pre-clean my clothes before putting them in the washing machine. It’s suitable for people who seem to drop food on their clothes all the time.

This detergent-based pen works pretty well to dissolve the difficult stain and make it ready for further sanitizing steps.

What You’ll Need

  • A stain pen
  • A dry paper towel


Step 1: Rub off the excess coffee as quickly as possible with a dry paper towel

Step 2: Press down the tip of the pen onto the stain to release the solution. Keep pressing to cover the whole stain.

Step 3: Gently rub the spot with a clean towel to clear the stain

Step 4: Let the washing machine do the final job.

Stain Pen
Stain pen is a useful cleaning tool you might need as soon as possible.

Method 12: Toothpaste

You might have been familiar with this method because toothpaste is a practical yet convenient way to eliminate armpit stains out of the clothes. Similarly, you can use it to wipe out coffee spills.

It is worth noting that you should use white toothpaste only because colored toothpaste can make your cleaning become more challenging.

What You’ll Need

  • White toothpaste
  • A toothbrush


Step 1: Apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to the stain.

Step 2: Next, use a toothbrush to scrub the area where you’ve just applied toothpaste gently.

Step 3: Then, wait until the stain is gone. Rinse under the water to remove toothpaste foam.

Step 4: Wash the clothes by hand or in the washing machine.

Toothpaste Tubes
With toothpaste and an old toothbrush, you can easily deal with coffee stains.

Are you curious about things you can clean with toothpaste? Let’s see.

Watch this video: 5 Things You Can Clean With Toothpaste

Method 13: Egg Yolk

Do you believe that egg yolk can remove coffee stains in no time? Many people have tested with this surprising ingredient and achieved satisfying results. Let’s carry on!

What You’ll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Egg yolk
  • Warm water
  • A spoon
  • Towels


Step 1: Mix a small amount of rubbing alcohol with warm water.

Step 2: Then, add egg yolk into the above mixture, and beat until all ingredients combine well.

Step 3: Wet the coffee stain with the solution you’ve just created

Step 4: Rub gently with a clean towel

Step 5: Flush under warm water and pat dry

Egg Yolks
Believe it or not, egg yolks are a practical choice for getting rid of coffee stains.

Method 14: Stain Remover Spray Or Gel

It’s one of the most popular options people often think of when it comes to lifting out the stain quickly and effectively.

You might find it in the supermarket in two forms: spray or gel.

What You’ll Need

  • Stain remover spray or gel


Step 1: Spray or rub the stain remover on the affected area.

Step 2: Wait for recommended time printed on the package. Don’t leave it longer or you risk ruining your beloved shirt. It’s often about 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 3: Wash immediately as usual in cold water.

Method 15: Baby Powder

Baby powder is used as a health care product for your lovely babies. However, baby powder can be helpful in different situations, such as when you have stains on your shirt.

What You’ll Need

  • Baby powder
  • Clean rags


Step 1: Dust the stain with baby powder.

Step 2: Leave it to seep for 10 minutes or more.

Step 3: Rub gently with clean rags. Do it several times if necessary.

Step 4: Wash as you would normally wash.

Method 16: Stain Stick

Have you ever used a stain stick and experienced its magical cleaning effect? Let’s do it today with coffee stains and see for yourself why I list it here.

It’s pretty similar to a stain pen but much bigger, so it can easily and quickly deal with a larger coffee stain. It’s designed as a carry-on item so that you can pack it with you when traveling. Sounds great?

What You’ll Need

  • Stain stick


Step 1: Apply the stain stick to the surface of the stain. Remember to cover it completely.

Step 2: Rub the affected area to loosen the coffee stain.

Step 3: Allow it to sit for 10-20 minutes before tossing it in the washing machine.

Method 17: Ammonia And Hydrogen Peroxide

For as long as I remember, household ammonia has been a cleaning staple in my house. It’s considered an essential ingredient in many cleaning solutions and able to break down stains from vegetable oils and animal fats.(2) Remember not to use ammonia with added colors or fragrances.

Also, hydrogen peroxide is well-known for its cleaning properties, especially effective with protein- and plant-based stains.

Keep in mind that you should use this mixture in about 20 hours.

So, there’s no reason to give this combination a try.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 tablespoon of ammonia
  • 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • A small bowl
  • White plastic wrap
  • A clean white cloth


Step 1: Blend 1 tablespoon of ammonia and 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl.

Step 2: Use a white cloth to slowly apply the mixture on the stain. Then, cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Place something on the wrap to keep it still if necessary.

Step 3: Wait for 3-4 hours. Remove the wrap.

Step 4: Blot the spot with a damp cloth for a while to remove the stain before rinsing with water.

Step 5: Repeat if necessary.

Formula Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is said to be an excellent cleaning substance.

Method 18: Enzyme Presoak

If your coffee stain belongs to a hard-to-remove kind of stain, the enzyme presoak method might be what you should adopt right now.

Although it sounds a bit new to some people, it has been there for years and many household owners love it.

What You’ll Need

  • Enzyme presoak product of your choice
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Warm water
  • Sponge


Step 1: Use 1 quart of warm water for 1 tablespoon enzyme presoak.

Step 2: Soak the fabric in this blend and let it sit for about half an hour.

Step 3: Check to see if it’s stain-free, then you can wash it now.


Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have something unclear about removing old coffee stains from clothes. Here are some popular suggestions you can refer to.

How Do You Get Coffee Out Of Clothes At Work?

I suggest that you go for hand sanitizer or dishwashing liquid, whichever is available in your reach. Squirt some drops of it on the affected area, wait for 5 minutes, then rub to remove the stain.

Do Coffee Stains Come Out Of White Shirts?

Prepare a mixture of dish soap, warm water, and white vinegar, then give your white shirt a good soak in 15 minutes before rubbing it.

What’s An Effective Method To Remove Stain From White Jeans?

Cold water and distilled vinegar will do the job as a stain remover for white jeans. First, apply this solution on stained jeans with a soft sponge, then slowly wipe out the stain.

How To Eliminate Deep-set Coffee Stains From Carpets?

Making a solution with 2 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Dab the solution on the stain with an absorbent cloth in a circular motion. Blot with a towel to loosen the stain. Wash with cold water.

Does Vinegar And Baking Soda Help Carpets Become Stain-free?

Yes, vinegar and baking soda are suitable to remove both fresh and old coffee stains from the carpet. First, you wet the affected area with vinegar, sprinkle it with baking soda, then wait for 20 minutes before vacuuming the baking soda.

Is It Easy To Deal With Coffee Stain From Cotton Clothes? And How?

The simplest way to get rid of old coffee stains from cotton clothes is to use a store-bought stain remover, which you can easily find in the supermarket. Use this product to pretreat the stain before putting your clothes in the washing machine, and everything will be fine.

Enjoy Your Coffee Wholeheartedly!

Why not? You’re now equipped with a lot of knowledge about cleaning coffee stains, and you aren’t afraid of coping with a hard-to-remove one.

Therefore, coffee spilling doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore. You don’t have to tiptoe when grabbing a cup of coffee on the way to the office and can allow yourself to enjoy it wholeheartedly.

For me, I always have a stain pen or stain stick in my office so that I can clean the stain as quickly as possible to save more time and effort later.

How about you? Share with me your opinions and your favorite methods! I look forward to hearing from you in the comment section.

How To Remove Old Coffee Stains From Clothes


[1] 2021. Dishwashing liquid – Wikipedia.

[2] 2021. Ammonia Uses and Benefits | Chemical Safety Facts.

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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