How to remove coffee stains from clothes in 5 easy steps and restore their former glory

With a few expert-recommended tips, you can remove coffee stains from clothes in no time

Coffee stain on white fabric
(Image credit: Getty Images/ Canva)

Good news! You can remove coffee stains from clothes fully. So if you were in a rush this and splashed your cappuccino on your clean white top, don't panic.

It's actually easier than you think to clean up a mess left behind by your favorite cup of Joe and in this guide, our cleaning and laundry experts share their best tips and tricks to get rid of that coffee stain ASAP.

After investing in one of the best coffee machines, you'll want to know the best way to remove pesky stains. With just a few laundry essentials and a little bit of patience, your cotton, linen, and synthetic clothes will look as good as new.

Remove coffee stains from clothes like a pro

After a coffee splashing incident, you'll need to know how to do laundry the right way to lift stubborn stains. It happens to us all: you're in a rush out the door in the morning, bump into something, and suddenly there's espresso everywhere. 

While this can be difficult to deal with if you're on a time crunch, you don't need a ton of supplies. With just a few laundry room essentials like a mild detergent, you'll be all set to conquer stains. Although your white clothes may need a little extra TLC to get rid of every trace.

Woman with coffee stain on white top

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Canva)

Step 1: Check the care label

It may seem like an obvious step, but you'll need to check the care label before getting started. The method you choose to get rid of coffee stains will all depend on the material of the garment. The laundry symbol meanings will tell you how to treat the item in question.

"Always consult the care label before washing. Different materials may have specific instructions, so it's best to review these first before attempting to clean," says cleaning expert, Karina Toner.

Karina Toner, Operations Manager, Spekless Cleaning
Karina Toner

Karina Toner is a cleaning expert and Operations Manager at Washington D.C.-based Spekless Cleaning, helping the team of experts cleaners deliver brilliant cleans sustainably.

Step 2: Rinse with cold water

Once you get to cleaning the stain, the first thing you need to do is flush out the coffee with clean, cold water. 

Angela Rubin, a cleaning expert from Hellamaid, says, "Rinse the clothing under the sink in cold running water. The goal is to dissolve and remove the brown coffee tannins stuck in the fabric. This may take several minutes to properly dilute the coffee."

Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at HellaMaid
Angela Rubin

Angela Rubin works at Hellamaid, a top-rated cleaning company in Canada. Hellamaid are industry experts specializing in residential and commercial cleaning services.

Step 3: Treat with detergent

After the stain is rinsed out, it's time to use products to remove the food stain. "Rub a couple of tablespoons of a mild detergent into the stain using a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. You may need to rinse and repeat the process a couple of times to scrub out all of the coffee," says Karina.

If the detergent isn't cutting it, you can also use a specialized stain remover like this Shout stain remover spray available from Walmart which will pack a harder punch.

Step 4: Wash in cold water

Once you feel confident you've scrubbed out as much of the coffee as you can, it's time to throw your clothing in the washing machine. Make sure to wash on a cold, gentle cycle as heat can just make the stain worse. For extra strength, add a cup of white vinegar to the wash or stain remover like this OxiClean powder available on Amazon, with over 13k reviews.

"After the cycle is finished, check to see if any part of the stain is remaining. Try washing it again if there are any remnants left," says Angela. 

Step 5: Air dry

If you're confident the stain is gone, you can air dry the garment in a cool place. If you use heat in the tumble dryer, the stain will just set in permanently. 

While you may have thought your clothes were a lost cause after spilling coffee on them, it turns out all you need is a few easy laundry hacks to try. If you're washing a white button-down shirt, you may be temped to use bleach, but be sure to check the care label first as it can damage sensitive fabrics.

Emily Lambe
Deputy Editor

Hey! I’m Emily and I’m the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. I’m here to bring you the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas, informative how tos, the latest celeb homes style and the best budget-friendly buys. I live in a rented apartment, making the most of small spaces and using accent pieces to make things pop. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing yoga, eating chocolate or working on my skincare routine.