Coffee cups and mugs are one of my favorite accessories for the kitchen. Not only do they give your kitchen counter a nice yet sophisticated look, but they also lift your morning mood to have that warm cup of coffee in your hand as you watch the water drop right from the espresso machine. One of the things that can be quite annoying is when you try to clean out the dried-in coffee stains on your favorite garments. I am sure you have tried all kinds of products on how to get old coffee stains out and get rid of those sticky and stubborn brown stains on your shirts, blouses, and even jeans!
Identify the Type of Fabric
Before you attempt to remove dried-in coffee stains from your clothes, you need to know the type of fabric. This is important because different materials react differently to stain removal products on. For example, some fabrics can be damaged by water and will not come clean with a simple wash. Other fabrics are prone to shrinking or fading when exposed to certain chemicals.
The best way to identify the type of fabric is to look at the tag inside the garment. Most clothing manufacturers will list their materials in detail on this tag. You can also quickly search online using keywords like “fabric identification guide” or “fabric guide.” If you don’t have access to these resources, try rubbing some water on a small part of your garment and see if it beads or absorbs immediately into the material. If it beads up, then it’s likely made out of cotton or linen (both absorbent). If it doesn’t bead up but sinks in immediately, it’s probably made out of polyester or nylon (both non-absorbent).
Deal With the Stains Immediately
Coffee stains are pretty annoying, and they’re just so hard to eliminate. You can’t dry clean all your clothes every time you spill coffee or tea on them, and some of us don’t even have the time. Even worse, they become more obstinate the longer you leave them before cleaning them up. But don’t worry. There are simple ways to tackle it.
Soak It in a Solution of Detergent and Water
First, you should soak the stained area in warm water. Then add one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent to the stain and let it sit overnight before washing it as usual. This should loosen the color, so it comes out easily when washed later.
Use Vinegar and Dishwashing Liquid
Combine one cup of white distilled vinegar in a warm water bucket and one and a half cups of liquid dishwashing soap. Soak the stained garment in this mixture for at least 30 minutes; then wash as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions on the label.
Mix Lemon Juice and Salt
The acidity in lemon juice can break down the protein molecules in coffee stains, while the salt helps remove dirt from the fabric without damaging it further. Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice and table salt into 2 cups of water until they dissolve completely. Before laundering, soak the stained area for at least 15 minutes in this solution.
Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda is an excellent stain remover for various materials, including coffee. In a spray bottle, combine equal parts vinegar and water. Spray the liquid on the stain, wait a few minutes, and then launder as usual.
Try the Toothpaste Method
Toothpaste also makes an excellent stain remover for coffee stains. A paste made from baking soda and water will work just as well as toothpaste, but it’s not nearly as convenient. Toothpaste can be used on any type of fabric, but don’t use toothpaste on silk or delicate fabrics because it may leave behind a residue that could damage clothing.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Another popular home cure for eliminating stains from clothing is hydrogen peroxide. It works by oxidizing iron-based stains, which causes them to bleed out onto the fabric, making it easier to rinse away. It’s best not to use hydrogen peroxide directly on clothing because it can bleach some fabrics too much and cause permanent damage to them. Instead, mix it with water in a spray bottle and mist the stain before washing.
What Not to Do
Removing dried-in coffee stains from clothes is a pretty simple process, but there are some things you should avoid doing how to get old coffee stains out to ensure that the stain is removed as effectively as possible.
1. Don’t assume that because it’s a dark-colored article of clothing, putting it in the washing machine with your whites will be acceptable. The oil from the coffee stain can transfer onto other garments during the cycle, making them look dirty even after they’ve been washed.
2. Don’t use hot water or heat on a stained garment—you’ll only set the stain permanently into the fabric! Instead, use cold water for most of the cleaning process and warm water for rinsing. No heat whatsoever should be applied to the stained area.
3. Don’t use chlorine bleach on any part of your clothing that has been stained by coffee—it will break down the fibers and make them more likely to tear or rip over time (and you’ll spend more money replacing those items).
4. Don’t scrub hard: Scrubbing too hard can cause more damage than good—it will create more friction between your clothing and the stain remover, which could lead to further damage. If you’re using a commercial product, read the instructions carefully before you start scrubbing!
They’re not easy to remove and may stain your clothing if you don’t know what you’re doing, but that doesn’t mean the quest for cleaning them is hopeless. With any luck, you’ll be able to get rid of those coffee stains after reading the advice mentioned above. So go ahead, and please enjoy your next cup of coffee—just be sure not to spill any on your clothes!