Coffee stains most often occur on tablecloths, napkins and on the cup itself. But on the odd occasion (not so odd for some maybe) that they occur on a garment, there is no reason to fear the piece will be ruined.
You know how it goes. You finally wear that gorgeous new shirt you’ve been saving for a business luncheon or dinner date. One last check in the mirror before the big event. You feel elegant; empowered even. You’re careful not to eat anything that risks dripping in any way. The encounter is flawless. You relax, laugh a bit more, become less self-aware and next thing you know you’re gesturing enthusiastically as you recount a funny story and slosh coffee smack in the middle of that pristine shirt.
This, dear coffee loving friend, is an opportunity to share your java savoir-faire. We suggest a swift segue into your expert tips for removing coffee stains. Work colleagues will appreciate your composure and versatility; your date will be mesmerized by your resourcefulness.
Just to make sure you have a well-grounded script, here’s an overview of natural ways to remove coffee stains.
Coffee Stains on Cotton and Synthetic Fabrics (polyester, nylon, acrylic, spandex and such)
- If the stain just occurred and if possible, blot with a dry cloth.
- This step applies whether the stain is fresh or dry. Bundle the stained area like you are gathering a ponytail together and tie it with a rubber band. Soak this part of the garment in hot water (not boiling hot) for at least 15 minutes. Agitate a bit at first.
- In a food storage container or other deep dish, prepare a solution of 1 TBSP white vinegar, ½ teaspoon dishwashing detergent (yes, dishwashing, not laundry detergent) and 1 quart hot water (again, not boiling hot). Squeeze out the soaked item and transfer it to this solution for another 15 minutes. Again, agitate a bit to expose well to the solution.
- Rinse with warm water. Use a clean sponge to gently rub out any remaining evidence of the stain.
- Allow to air-dry completely. Then, inspect. Repeat the above steps if necessary. Then wash using your usual method.
Notice that some fashion items are colored with dyes that may not have settled completely, especially if the item was not yet washed. It is best to only blot out the stain and wash such item as usual first. Then follow steps 2 through 5 if a stain can still be seen.
Now, for The Short and Sweet Methods on Just About Anything, Including Clothing
Vinegar – For Light Stains on Cotton Tablecloths and Cotton Garments: Moisten a clean cloth with undiluted white vinegar and pat the stained area just before washing as usual.
Vinegar – For Heavier Stains on Cotton Tablecloths and Cotton Garments: Soak the item overnight in 1-part water, 3-parts vinegar. Wash as usual.
Beer – For Carpets and Rugs: Pour a small amount of beer on the stain and rub gently with a clean cloth. Repeat until clean.
Club Soda – For Clothing, Tablecloths, Carpets and Rugs: Pour liberally and blot, pouring and blotting repeatedly until stain has vanished.
Baking Soda – For Your Ceramic and Stainless-Steel Mugs: Add a bit of water to 1 tbsp of baking soda. Just enough to form a paste. Using a moist cloth, gently rub the paste on the inside and outside of your mug. Rinse well and dry.
These tried and true coffee stain removing tricks can save a lot of aggravation on the spot. The pun is rather fitting, don’t you think? Just remember that, in the end, it is more important to not allow a slight coffee spill mishap to dampen the moment (here we go again). Even the occasional “ruined,” cherished, expensive garment is not as important as those moments you share with friends over a good cup or a good meal.
Do you have tried and true coffee stain cleaning tricks of your own?