We’ve all been there - spilling coffee when you’re in a rush or due to a lid mishap, leaving us with those frustrating brown stains on our clothes or carpets. But don’t panic! We’ve got your back and have rounded up some easy home remedies to whip up that are guaranteed to help you scrub away those unsightly stains.
From products including shampoo and salt to baking soda and dishwasher tablets, we’ve got you compiled the best ways to eradicate both fresh coffee stains and ones that have dried up. And the best part? You probably already have all these stain-busting solutions sitting in your cupboards at home.
How to remove fresh coffee stains
Dealing with a freshly spilt coffee stain? We’ve got eight different remedies to sort you out. First things first, though - start by blotting up any excess liquid with a damp cloth or some kitchen roll. Then pick one of these handy remedies and say goodbye to your stains!
- Mineral water: Bottle of mineral water to hand? This is a super handy remedy thanks to its natural composition. Simply pour it onto a clean cloth and gently dab it on the stain. Avoid rubbing it in, as using force won’t add any difference and may spread the stain, and repeat if necessary.
- Lukewarm water: For coffee-stained clothes or items such as tablecloths or napkins, try soaking them in lukewarm water. Continue to wash them as normal with a regular cycle in the washing machine, and the stain should be removed.
- Soap and washing-up liquid: These household staples combat coffee stains effectively. Reach for your washing-up liquid or bathroom soap and create a mix of water and soap, then apply directly to the stain and very gently rub the mark away. Rinse thoroughly and let the fabric dry.
- Laundry detergent: Create a water bath, either in a large bowl/bucket or in the sink, and add laundry detergent to it. Soak your stained item in it for at least 15 minutes before washing it in the washing machine as normal
- Baking soda: Baking soda can be a lifesaver for dealing with coffee stains on white or very light-coloured fabrics. Apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the stain, dab it with a damp cloth, and either brush it out or rinse it with water.
- Salt: No baking soda? Try salt instead, which can be just as effective at removing fabric stains. Pour salt directly on the damp stain, allowing it to absorb the coffee. Brush the salt off and wash the item afterwards to remove any residue.
- Shampoo: Shampoo can be great at rescuing stains on delicate fabrics such as wool or silk. Apply it to the affected area, dab it with a cotton cloth and leave it for at least 15 minutes to soak in. Finally, rinse with cold water.
- Milk: It may sound surprising, but milk can also be a highly effective solution, especially on lightly coloured and delicate fabrics. Soak the stained area in milk for at least 30 minutes and rinse with warm water.
Seven effective home remedies to remove dried coffee stains
We’ve covered how to tackle fresh stains quickly and effectively, so what about stains that have already dried up after several hours? Pick one of these powerful home remedies below and target the toughest of old coffee stains from clothes and textiles.
- Dishwasher tablets: Dissolve a dishwasher tablet in water and soak the stained fabric in the mix for a couple of hours. The active ingredients in the solution will loosen the dried-up stain. Wash the fabric afterwards as usual, and watch the stain disappear.
- Bile soap: Bile soap is a traditional method to remove heavy stains from fabrics. Wet the stained area and gently rub the bile soap over it, allowing it to soak in for at least 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and repeat if needed.
- Soda crystals: Also sometimes known as washing soda, soda crystals will work to break down tough dried-up stains, including coffee. Dissolve a good amount of it in water and apply it directly to the affected area. Let it sit and soak in for a while before washing the fabric as usual.
- Baking soda: Baking soda comes up trumps again - this time for dried coffee stains too. Mix the baking soda with water and apply it over the stain, gently scrubbing it into the area with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly.
- Salt: Again, we see salt working its magic - thanks to its absorbing properties, it can help lift dried coffee stains, too. Mix with water, apply to the stain and let it stand for a while before rinsing the fabric.
- Alcohol: A great option to use on wool and silk fabrics, alcohol such as rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol can target challenging dried coffee stains. Dab a cloth with some of the liquid and gently blot the stain. Continue dabbing until you notice the stain transfer onto the cloth. Rinse and wash the fabric as usual for stain-free results.
- Ammonia: Dilute ammonia with water, dab onto the stain using a cloth or sponge and rinse thoroughly. Make sure to ensure proper ventilation when applying ammonia. Use it with caution, though, as it can be quite an aggressive agent - it may bleach the fabric if rubbed. Avoid using it on delicate items and materials.
When to use specially designed stain removers
The above home remedies should have you sorted in a pinch, whether dealing with a quick-fix coffee spillage or a tough dried-up stain. However, if they aren’t quite cutting it, there is another option - special stain removers designed specifically to tackle all sorts of stains. We’ve rounded up some of the best on the market, so you can say goodbye to coffee stains for good.
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Five of the best stain removers
- Vanish Oxi Action Fabric Stain Remover, £5.85 at Amazon: Designed with a powerful formula to provide first-time stain removal, this powder will treat fresh and dried-up coffee stains quickly and effectively. Suitable to use on all fabrics and colours, either pre-treat, soak or add a scoop into your washing machine and await the results.
- Astonish Oxy Active Fabric Stain Remover, £2 at Ocado: Spray this stain remover onto the affected area while it’s wet, then add the item to the washing machine for its regular cycle. Gentle on fabrics and targeting the toughest of stains, your clothes and fabrics will look sparkling clean once again.
- Shout Triple Acting Stain Removing Spray, £3 at Sainsbury’s: Suitable for a wide range of fabrics to tackle everyday stains, including coffee, this stain-removing spray will penetrate and lift stains away. Apply to the affected area, pop it in the washing machine and watch the stain go in a flash.
- Stardrops The Pink Stuff Oxi Powder Stain Remover, £6.43 at Amazon: Branded ‘the miracle laundry stain remover’ for a reason, you can treat the harshest of stains with The Pink Stuff. Simply dissolve this powder in water and soak your fabrics for up to one hour. Rinse thoroughly on regular wash, and your items will be left fresh and squeaky clean.
- Ecover Stain Remover, £3 at Ocado: Eliminate stains with this remover, designed with a special applicator to help target the most stubborn marks. Apply the liquid to the stain and soak it in with the built-in brush before popping it in the washing machine. Perfect for everyday mishaps, including coffee spillages.
If you want to read more of our household-related product guides, check out our household page, where you’ll find more home advice and recommendations, including the best coffee machines, the best handheld vacuums, and the ultimate checklist to declutter your home.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.