How to Remove Old Coffee Stains from Clothing in 7 Easy Steps!

By Brooke Davis •  Updated: 11/02/20 •  5 min read

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We’ve all faced the unfortunate situation of accidentally pouring coffee down our clothes. It hurts for a few minutes, but then you throw the garment into your wardrobe and forget about it.

Well, we have good news for you. You can take your stained clothes out of the wardrobe; we’ll tell you how to remove old coffee stains from clothing.

How to Remove Old Coffee Stains from Clothing:

How to Remove Old Coffee Stains from Clothing

Here are seven easy steps that will remove old coffee stains from your clothing. But first, let’s start with the tools you’ll need.

List of Tools You’ll Need

1. Lukewarm water
2. White vinegar
3. Dish soap or cleaning detergent
4. Stain removing agent
5. Bleach

Total Time: 1 hour

Step 1: Determine the Clothing’s Fabric

Remove Coffee Stains

The first thing you should do is check what your garment is made of. Each fabric absorbs coffee differently. Material with low absorbance, such as polyester, will be naturally easier to clean.

Meanwhile, cotton and linen will be challenging; they’ll need longer soaking in the cleaning detergent. Natural materials are pretty good absorbents, much to our dismay.

Step 2: Pour Water Over the Garment

Grab a large container that’ll fit your garment and fill it with water. While doing so, make sure the water doesn’t overflow when you place the clothing in it.

The water should be between 90 °F and 95 °F, which is warm enough for the cleaning process.

Step 3: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

For the cleaning solution, you’ll need white vinegar and dish soap. We recommend that you use distilled vinegar instead of household vinegar. It’ll be softer on the clothing, especially delicate materials.

Next, pour one tablespoon of the vinegar into the water, along with half a teaspoon of dish soap or any cleaning detergent. Then, stir them for a few minutes until you’re sure they’ve completely blended with the water.

You can use any wooden rod or spoon for the stirring.

Step 4: Soak the Garment

The next step is soaking the garment in the mixture for 15–20 minutes. If your clothing is made of natural materials, such as cotton, you can keep it for longer.

Step 5: Rinse the Garment

After the mixture sets in the stain, you should rinse the clothing out, so you can see whether the stain is gone.

First, wring it out over the container or the sink. Then, turn the cold water faucet on and run the garment under it. Afterward, check if the stain has washed out.

If the stain is still there, move on to the next step.

Step 6: Use a Stain Removing Agent

If the cleaning solution doesn’t work, you can go for a stain removing agent. That being said, make sure to check the instructions on the bottle. That way, you’ll know how much you should use.

Apply the agent and leave your garment to sit for a few minutes. The instructions will tell you the appropriate time interval. Then, wash it with cold water and check the stain.

If the stain proves to be stubborn, move on to the last step.

Step 7: Use Bleach

As a last resort, you can use bleach instead of cleaning detergents. We’re saying last resort because, for one, bleach is harsh on clothes. It’s not the best option for delicate materials.

On top of that, some materials can’t be washed with bleach, such as silk, wool, Lycra, and leather. You’ll need to check the garment’s label to determine that.

You can use bleach by pouring some of it on the garment. Then, run a hot water cycle and check if the stain is gone. Also, make sure to clean your washing machine from the bleach after doing so.

Estimated Cost: 20 USD


  • 1. Lukewarm water
  • 2. White vinegar
  • 3. Dish soap or cleaning detergent
  • 4. Stain removing agent
  • 5. Bleach


  • 1. Bucket for washing clothes
  • 2. Washing machine

Materials: See supply and tools list.

What Else Can You Use to Get an Old Coffee Stain Out?

The previously mentioned detergents aren’t the only things that’ll remove an old coffee stain. There are three other items you can use:


You can use salt to wash out several stains. It’s particularly efficient in cleaning coffee. However, it’ll only work if you act while the stain is still wet.

You should pour a lot of salt over the stained area. After a few minutes, brush it off and clean the garment in the washing machine. The salt will keep the stain from spreading.

Baby Powder

Baby powder is excellent at reducing stains. When you apply it while the stain is still wet, it’ll absorb the coffee altogether. You may not even have to use a washing machine.

Baking Soda

To use baking soda, pat the stained area with a damp cloth first. Then, pour baking soda all over it. After one or two minutes, clean the powder off using a dry towel.

The stain will still be there, but it’ll come out easier than before. Plus, it won’t spread. The next step is throwing it in the washing machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re having doubts about the old coffee stain, here are some answers that’ll help.

Are coffee stains permanent?

It depends on how you deal with them. If you wash the stain when it’s still fresh, it’ll wash out. On the other hand, if you leave it long enough, it may stick to the garment. It also depends on the clothing material.

Will baking soda remove coffee stains?

Yes, baking soda is one of the most effective stain-removing elements. However, your garment will need a cycle in the washing machine after you use the baking soda.

Do coffee stains come out in dry cleaning?

Yes, the coffee stain will likely come out if you act fast enough. Most water-based stains come out easily in dry cleaning.

Final Thoughts

There’s no reason to throw out your old stained shirt. If you’d like to keep it, there’s more than one cleaning method to try. On top of that, there are a lot of household items you can use.

Hopefully, one method will work out for your stain. If they don’t, you can always wear the shirt as it is and create a coffee-stain fashion trend!

Brooke Davis

Hi everyone, my name is Brooke and I’m a Barista and freelance writer. I love brewing coffee and my favorite coffee drink is without doubt an Americano (espresso with added hot water). When I’m not busy making or writing about coffee you’ll find me hanging out at the beach with friends in California where I am currently residing. Follow me on: Linkedin

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