How to Remove Coffee Stains on Dress Shirts, Upholstery, and Carpet

For as long as life goes on, stains will as well.  It’s inevitable that you will find yourself with a stain.

Coffee stains are some of the most common stains we encounter at Marky’s Dry Cleaners in Denton, Texas.

A coffee stain can be a real pain to deal with.  Stain removal techniques have to address tannin,protein, possibly sugar, animal fat in cream, or non-dairy creamer. Coffee alone is a natural dye.  When combined with other ingredients like sugar and cream, it is much more complex.

If the stain is fresh and is coffee only, it’s fairly easy to remove.  If the stain has dried, has sugar, or has been ironed, it makes removal much more difficult.  On some light fabrics such as wool or cotton, or if the coffee includes sugar or cream, usually multiple attempts are needed.

Here’s our advice on How to Remove Coffee Stains.


Oh No, I spilled coffee on my shirt!

Customers most frequently inquire about stain removal on their clothing.  From Dress Shirts, to Silk Blouses, coffee loves to find it’s way onto your clothes, especially right before you head to work.  If you’re running short on time, you may opt to just change into a new shirt.  It’s always best to treat a stain immediately for the best possible chance at removal, but we understand that life happens.

So here’s what you do:

  1. Determine if the garment is Dry Clean Only or machine wash.  If Dry Cleaning is recommended based on the care label, do not put anything on the stain and take it immediately to your Dry Cleaners. Try to absorb as much of the excess liquid as possible.  Do not rub vigorously…just soak up as much of teh spill as possible.  Skip the rest of the following steps and head to your dry cleaner right away.
  2. If you can wash the garment (i.e., not a “Dry Clean Only” garment), grab a sponge and carefully dap the stain with cool water. You can also soak the entire item in cool water for about 30 minutes
  3. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover.
  4. If you added any sort of dairy in your coffee like milk or cream you will need to use a laundry detergent that contains enzymes.
  5. Launder the item, and if safe for the fabric, use a chlorine bleach.

Oops, I spilled Coffee on the couch!

Coffee stains on Upholstery is an even bigger pain that a simple spot on your shirt.  Since we can’t throw the living room sofa or Grandpa’s old recliner in a washing machine we have to take a slightly different approach.

  1. Make a solution of one tablespoon liquid dish detergent and two cups of clean, cool water.
  2. Obtain a clean white cloth and sponge a hidden area for colorfastness.
  3. If no color appears on the cloth, move to the coffee stain and sponge.
  4. Blot the area until the coffee stain disappears
  5. With a new white cloth, sponge cold water onto the area to help “rinse” the stain.
  6. Blot with a dry cloth to dry the area.

What if it’s in the carpet?

Besides hauling out the heavy machinery, (big ol’ carpet shampooers which may do more harm than good) there is a way to treat Java on the floor.

  1. Blot up as much as you can with a dry cloth, try using a pinching motion like you would to add a pinch of salt to your cooking, as simply applying pressure can push the coffee further down the fibers and possibly into the padding.  You definitely want to avoid getting the padding wet as the stain will wick back up into the fibers, over time making the stain reappear.
  2. Use plain water and a white cloth first and sparingly sponge the stain.  When the fibers start getting more than damp, blot up the moisture with a dry white cloth.  This is to avoid too much liquid on the carpet, again to protect the padding.
  3. If the stain isn’t budging, use a solution of one tablespoon liquid dish detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar to two cups of water.
  4. Just like in step 2, dab a little solution on the stain, then blot dry.  Continue until the stain disappears.
  5. Use plain cold water and dab the area, then blot dry to “rinse” the dish detergent/vinegar solution out of the carpet.

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute also suggests a commercial stain remover known as Wine Away as an effective treatment for coffee stains.  Follow application instructions on the bottle and always test an inconspicuous area first.

Always remember, If the garment is Dry Clean Only, take it to your local Dry Cleaners like Marky’s Dry Cleaning Delivery Service where Professionals will get the job done right.



Get Help With All Your Spots From Marky’s Dry cleaning delivery service.

Don’t Know What That Spot is or How to Get It Out?

Call 940-323-2200 for assistance or visit any of our three locations.


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