So you spilled your coffee? Don't worry. Here's how to remove coffee stains – from five common surfaces. This post will help you clean coffee stains from clothes, carpet, upholstery, coffee mugs, and teeth. These 15 methods to quickly take care of those brown coffee spots.
With too many things to do (and not enough time to do it) we're going to spill some coffee now and then. So how do you deal with unfortunate coffee stains?
Here are a few tips and tricks to make that caffeinated discoloration disappear from many of the most common problem areas.
1. How to Remove Coffee Stains from Your Clothing
It happens to the best of us, a coffee spill right down the front of your white shirt. And usually, it’s the first thing in the morning. Thankfully, you can still salvage your outfit.
Try any one of these easy ways to clean coffee stains out of your clothing.
For most machine-washable clothing, rubbing some liquid laundry detergent into the stain with cold water will help to lift the coffee color out of the fabric.
For more stubborn stains, let the detergent sit on the fabric for a few minutes (between three and five depending on the intensity of the stain). Just be careful not to let it dry, or you’ll have two stains to worry about.
It sounds unconventional, and even a little silly, but pouring salt on a coffee stain actually works, according to the Mr. Coffee blog. This actually makes quite a bit of sense.
Salt is extremely absorbent, so it lifts the stain out of the fabric and traps it to stop it from spreading any further.
Baby powder as a stain remover works on much the same principle as salt. You should apply baby powder to your fresh coffee stain, and let it sit until it is completely dry.
It’ll absorb the liquid and color, letting you brush it straight off.
2. Removing Coffee Stains from Your Carpet
Coffee stains on rugs and carpet are unsightly, but they also have an unpleasant odor. If you don’t take care of it right away and get rid of the entire stain, it will only get worse.
Each of these is a tried and true method for getting coffee stains out of your carpet.
There’s a tried and true method of removing old, stubborn coffee stains from carpet that comes from Good Housekeeping. They suggest mixing white vinegar and liquid dish soap with some water, then using a sponge or cloth to dab (not rub, as this will damage the carpet) the stain.
Alternate between the wet sponge or cloth and a dry, clean cloth until the stain is gone, then dry the area with a small fan or hairdryer.
This works especially well if your coffee had cream or sugar in it. The detergent helps to break down the fats and general stickiness of the stain and remove it gently without damaging the carpet.
Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent stain remover that works relatively quickly. Mixed with a bit of dish soap and left to sit before being dabbed dry with a towel, it lifts stains from your carpet in roughly ten minutes.
You should test a small section of your carpet first to ensure it doesn’t discolor any dyed materials.
Looking for more? Here's our full guide to getting coffee out of carpet – regardless of if it's a fresh or old stain. And even wool and car carpets.
3. Removing Coffee Stains from Your Upholstery
Similar to coffee stains on carpet and rugs, your upholstery is susceptible to staining and a stench. Both are not ideal. Save your furniture with these tricks for coffee stain removal.
Liquid Dish Soap
Another good suggestion from Good Housekeeping, if you mix liquid dish soap with cool water, then sponge the mixture onto the stained upholstery; it should lift the stain right out.
Little Coffee Place recommends diluting lemon juice in warm water with a little bit of soap, then using a cloth or sponge to work it into the stain before flushing it with cold water and dabbing it dry.
They also suggest using small circular motions to really get the mixture into the fabric to lift everything out.
Club soda works because of its carbonation. The bubbles help to loosen the stain and pull it out of the fabric. Simply wet the area thoroughly with club soda, gently working it in with your fingers or a cloth, and allow it to sit for a few minutes before dabbing dry.
You can repeat the process if it doesn’t quite get the whole thing in one go.
Bonus: Egg Yolks
This off-the-wall solution comes from Death Wish Coffee, who suggests beating an egg yolk and using a cloth to work it into the stain, then rinse it with water.
They don’t explain how this is supposed to work, however, and there’s very little hard evidence to prove that it works.
4. Removing Coffee Stains from Your Mug
We all have our favorite coffee mug or mugs. They typically see a lot of action, and that, sadly, means the coffee starts to leave its mark.
Don’t worry, you can still efficiently clean your mugs, so they look just as new as the day you got them.
Mix baking soda into dish soap and wash your mug as you usually would. You can also suds up the mug first, then sprinkle the baking soda onto it and scrub it from there before rinsing.
The baking soda acts as a secondary abrasive to the soap, helping to really rub away the stains.
Lemon and Salt
If you squeeze some lemon juice on the stains and then coat them in salt, then give them a quick scrub and rinse, they should lift straight off!
The acidity of the lemon juice helps to break down the stain, while the salt acts as an abrasive to scrape away residue.
Melamine Foam Sponge (Magic Eraser)
You might know them better by their most famous brand name, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Just wet, scrub, and rinse, and you’ll be good to go!
Here's more about how to clean a coffee maker.
5. Coffee Stains on Your Teeth
Coffee can really do a number on your teeth. It stains the enamel and leaves teeth looking a little less than pearly white. Here are a few different ways that can safely help get rid of coffee stains on your teeth.
You read that right; baking soda makes the list twice! If you mix baking soda and your favorite toothpaste, the mix can help lift coffee stains out of your teeth.
You can also create a simple paste with baking soda and water that will do the same or a very similar job in a pinch. It just won’t taste quite as good.
Teeth Whitening Kits
If your teeth are a little more stubborn, or the stains have been building up for a while, then an at-home teeth-whitening kit might be the perfect solution for you.
Be careful to follow all of the instructions included with it, and use them sparingly to make sure you’re not damaging your enamel.
This kit by AuraGlow comes well reviewed on Amazon.
Professional Teeth Whitening
If the at-home kit doesn’t work, or you feel more comfortable letting a professional handle it, you can always make an appointment with your local dentist to get the whitest possible teeth with a much stronger bleaching agent and a professional cleaning.
This is the most expensive solution on this list, but it’s also the most effective, so it’s worth considering if you have an essential event or photo-shoot that you feel you need clean, white teeth for.
- A quick reminder about this section: everyone’s teeth are different, and therefore react differently to things that they come in contact with. There are many methods of whitening your teeth that can actually weaken or damage your enamel.
- This can lead to increased tooth sensitivity and problems with cavities and other dental conditions in the future. You should always check with a dentist before trying new teeth-whitening or cleaning methods to make sure what you’re doing is safe for you.
You might also enjoy: 95 Coffee Jokes (and Puns and Riddles)
Goodbye Coffee Stains!
Spilling your coffee doesn’t have to be a day-ruining event. If you’re willing to put a little extra time and elbow grease into it, you can make it look like even the most stubborn stain never even happened.
Whether you’re fretting over your favorite shirt, your mom’s rug, your new white chair, your favorite mug, or your pearly-white smile, there’s no reason to panic. Keep calm, grab the baking soda and lemons, and you’ll be just fine.
Plus, there’s always a silver lining: now you have an excuse to get more coffee!
- About the Author
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Dena Haines is a co-founder and blogger on EnjoyJava! – and is working to make it the best coffee blog in the world. She also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at Click Like This. Dena is partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she started with her husband, Bryan.