If you work in an office, you’ve probably seen more than your share of coffee-stained shirts, right? After you read this post, those stains will be ancient history. That’s because cleaning expert Leslie Reichert knows which everyday items remove coffee stains best. And chances are, you have at least one of them in your pantry right now.
Pantry products that clean up coffee stains
“Club soda works so well, I put a spray attachment on the bottle and keep it in my car because I’m always spilling coffee there,” says Reichert. Blot the stain first to remove any excess. Then spritz it with club soda, making sure to soak the stained area. Work the club soda into the stain with your finger or a soft scrub brush. Allow it to sit on the stain for 5-10 minutes, then rinse in cool water. Repeat as needed until the stain dissipates.
As with the club soda, blot the stain first, then spritz with white vinegar, thoroughly wetting the stain. Cleaning vinegar, like Four Monks, is more concentrated than regular household vinegar and should work faster; but, distilled white vinegar should work fine, too. Work the vinegar into the stain using your finger or a soft scrub brush. Allow it to sit on the stain for 5-10 minutes before rinsing with cool water. Repeat as needed until the stain dissipates.
If a faint stain remains, don’t be afraid to toss the article in the washer with your regular detergent, says Reichert. This may remove the rest of the stain completely. Air dry the article and check to make sure the stain is gone. If not, repeat the above steps. Unless you’re positive the stain is gone, never put the item in the dryer because the heat will set the stain.
What to do if you drip coffee on your carpet
Dean Carter, president of Carter’s Carpet Restoration, El Dorado Hills, California, says 3% hydrogen peroxide is the easiest way to remove coffee stains from carpets. Since hydrogen peroxide is a gentle bleach, however, it’s a good idea to test the product in an inconspicuous place to make sure it doesn’t damage the carpet.
After testing for color-fastness, blot the stain to remove as much of the coffee as possible. Then spray the area liberally with hydrogen peroxide, taking care not to saturate the carpet. Place a damp, white cotton dish towel (or thin bath towel) over the stain, then pass a hot iron over the towel-covered stain for 20-30 seconds at a time, moving to new areas of the towel as the stain is lifted. Don’t keep the iron on longer than that or you risk damaging the carpet.
Rinse out the remaining peroxide by sponging the area lightly with warm water. Blot with a clean white towel, lifting and pinching carpet fibers until the moisture is removed.
Commercial products that tackle coffee stains
As a proponent of natural cleaners, Reichert recommends the pantry-friendly products mentioned above. However, if you prefer a commercial stain remover or laundry pre-treatment product, here are a few to consider:
Shout, $2.94 for 22-ounce bottle, Target
Spray and Wash, $2.74 for 22-ounce bottle, Amazon
Carbona Stain Devils #8, $3.99, Carbona
Powerizer, $20/tub, Powerizer Clean