How to Remove Coffee Stains

Updated on April 19, 2019
Willow Sidhe profile image

Willow Sidhe is a nature enthusiast and has experience understanding natural dyes, "tannins," and methods to remove staining.

The difficulty of stain removal depends on numerous factors, including the type of material, how long the object has been stained, and the source. Coffee stains are considered tannin stains because they originate from a plant source, as opposed to fat stains from animal sources, such as grease and blood. Tannin stains, like beets, coffee, tea, and red wine, have gained notoriety for their ability to leave a permanent mark. The word “tannin” originated from the process of tanning leather and using planted-based dyes alter the color—usually permanently.

Speed is a vital factor when it comes to removing coffee stains as the longer the liquid has to soak into the material, the more difficult it will be to remove. Heat also plays a key role because warm temperatures set the sugar and adhere them to the object. With proper cleaning techniques, coffee stain removal is a breeze. But if you go about it the wrong way, you may be left with a constant reminder of your accident.

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Coffee Stain Removal From Coffee Cups

Coffee cups are bound to get stains, especially when the coffee is allowed to sit for long periods of time, giving the liquid a chance to seep into the tiny pores of the cup. There are two easy and inexpensive ways to remove stains from coffee cups and mugs, even ancient ones from times long past.

Method 1

  1. Wash the coffee cup thoroughly, and then fill with warm water.
  2. Place a denture cleaning tablet into the cup and allow it to stand for three to four hours. Over this time period, the tablet will fizz dramatically and eventually dissolve, however, the compounds released will actively break up the stain as the liquid sits.
  3. Pour out the water after four hours have passed, and clean the coffee cup normally. The coffee stain should be completely gone.

Method 2

  1. Pour some vinegar over the coffee stain and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. White vinegar is a common remover that breaks up the sugars and make it easier to remove.
  2. Dampen a sponge with warm water, and then pour a light layer of salt or baking soda on top.
  3. Scrub the stain with the salted side of the sponge until it is gone, and then rinse and wash the cup regularly.

Coffee Stain Removal for Washable Fabric

Coffee stains are common on washable fabrics, such as clothing, sheets, blankets and cloth napkins. Haste in this circumstance, just like with blood stain removal, will ease the process dramatically. Coffee with added cream can easily be removed by rinsing the stain with cold water, followed by hot water and ending with a routine laundering.

Boiling water can also be used for coffee stains removal from washable fabrics by Placing the fabric in a sink or over a bucket, and then pouring boiling water carefully over the stained area. The extreme heat will dissolve the sugar and release the bonds binding it too the fabric.

Another method is to pour a moderate amount of baking soda onto the stain to absorb any moisture. Brush off the excess baking soda and make a solution of 1 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid and ½ cup water. Dampen a sponge with the solution and apply directly to the stained area. Once a fair amount of the cleaner is applied to the fabric, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then launder as normal.

Non-Washable Fabric Stain Removal

Non-washable fabric is considerably harder to clean, due to its fragile nature and inability to be cleaned in a typical washer and drier. With the proper chemicals, however, the stain can be removed with minimal effort.

  1. Make a solution consisting of one part glycerin and one part isopropyl alcohol.
  2. Pour the solution over the stain, let sit for about five minutes and then blot with clean paper towels.
  3. Repeat as many times as necessary to remove the stain, which can take several attempts.
  4. After the stain has lightened considerably or is gone completely, clean the fabric according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

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Coffee Stain Removal: Carpet

Coffee stains on carpet are common and stick out like a sore thumb, especially on white or lightly shaded carpets. Fast treatment is vital in this scenario, as once the coffee sets into the fabric, it can be extremely difficult to remove. There are two easy methods to clean fresh coffee spills from carpet, though both begin with soaking up as much excess coffee as possible immediately after the spill occurs.

Method 1

  1. Once most of the excess coffee is absorbed, pour a solution made of 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 cup of water and several drops of dishwashing liquid over the stain.
  2. Let it sit for one or two minutes, and then pour club soda over the stain and blot dry with a clean towel.
  3. Repeat as often as necessary to remove the coffee stain completely.

Method 2

For especially tough carpet stains, an effective tool for coffee stain removal is borax or hydrogen peroxide.

  1. Soak up all excess coffee, and then pour club soda generously over the stained area.
  2. Allow it to sit for several minutes, and then blot up the liquid.
  3. If the stain remains, add 1 teaspoon of borax to 1 cup of water and pour over the stain. Allow it to stand for 15 minutes and blot again.
  4. Pour additional club soda over the stain and blot a final time. Hydrogen peroxide can be substituted for the borax solution if necessary.

Felt and Fur Coffee Stain Removal

Felt, animal fur and synthetic fur are all composed similarly, and all have the same requirements for coffee stain removal.

  1. Gently blot up all the excess coffee, being careful not to force the stain further into the fibers.
  2. Make a solution in a small dish consisting of hot water and mild dishwashing detergent.
  3. Stir the solution to form a frothy foam on the top. Dip a cloth in the foam portion of the solution and apply directly to the stain.
  4. Soak a separate cloth in clear, cold water, wring it out as thoroughly as possible and gently rinse the foam from the felt or fur.
  5. Continue until the stain is removed from the fabric. This method may result in an oily residue on the felt or fur. Refer to the section on oily residue for cleaning.

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Removal From Wood

Removing coffee stains from wood is exceptionally easy, as the coffee cannot bind to the wood as easily as fabric.

  1. Add several drops of dishwashing liquid to warm water.
  2. Dip a cloth in the water and wipe it over the stained surface.
  3. Rinse well using a cloth soaked in cool, clean water and repeat as often as necessary to remove the stain.
  4. Polish or wax the wood as soon as possible to prevent future stains.

Leather and Suede Stain Removal

Leather and suede are especially susceptible coffee stains, though once again. a fast response and proper technique are the only requirements to clean the fabric thoroughly.

  1. Blot up as much coffee as possible.
  2. Create a soapy solution consisting of several drops of dishwashing detergent in warm water. Get as much of the foam on the sponge as possible while not soaking up any moisture.
  3. Apply the foam to the stain, let it stand for several minutes, and then wipe dry with a dry, clean cloth. This method may result in an oily residue on the leather or suede. Refer to the section on oily residue for cleaning.

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Coffee Stain Removal From Various Stone Surfaces

Coffee stains can occur anywhere. Occasionally, unwanted coffee stains will mar brick, concrete, flagstone, limestone, granite, sandstone, slate, bluestone, masonry tile and terrazzo. To remove, simply create a soapy water solution consisting of several drops of dishwashing detergent in warm water. Dip a stiff-bristled brush into the solution and scrub away the offending coffee stain. This may take several dips in the solution to achieve. Once the stain is gone, simply rinse away any residue with clean, cold water.

Coffee Stain Removal for Silver Items

Silver is one of the easiest objects to remove coffee stains from. Simply wash the silver in hot, soapy water, and then rinse with hot water. Wipe the silver dry immediately to prevent tarnishing, and then let dry in a warm, dry location for several hours. More stubborn stains may require more than one washing, but the stain will yield eventually.

Oily Residue

An oily residue may remain from some of these cleaning tactics. This is easily remedied, however, by gently pouring some cornmeal over the oily region. Make sure the fabric is completely dry prior to adding the cornmeal. Do not grind the powder into the fabric, or more damage may occur. Leave the cornmeal in place for 15 to 20 minutes, allowing it plenty of time to absorb the oil. Brush off the excess cornmeal, and repeat if necessary.

How to Remove Coffee Stains From Your Carpet

The following video contains step-by-step instructions for removing a coffee stain from a carpet. This is one of the most useful videos I have seen, as they demonstrate various techniques that are used in the cleaning of other coffee stained items.


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      5 years ago

      Hi Naina! Great question. I know that a mix of white veingar and H2O (specifically 1/4 cup white veingar and 30 ounces of warm water) works well for wood flooring. Simply, put the mixture in a recycled spray bottle, spray on a cotton rag or towel until lightly damp, then mop your floors, scrubbing away any grime. Perhaps, the same mix would work for your countertops Unfortunately, I don't have any wood surfaces to test this out for you, but let me know if you do or maybe someone else has personal experience they can share!

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      5 years ago

      Old English makes a lemon wood cleaner. Try that. My cat peed on my dersser once, and I didn't realize it for a few days. You can imagine the stain. This took most of it out.


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