Why Does Coffee Stain Almost Anything and How to Remove Stains?

This article goes through the science behind stains and, most importantly, how to get rid of those pesky coffee stains. Coffee stains should be the least of your worries!
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Last updatedLast updated: August 16, 2022
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Life can and will get messy. It happens to the best of us at the worst of times. On a busy morning commute where the day began 35 minutes late, or right before an important zoom meeting with board members, or even on a busy Monday where there are more errands than daylight? Have you heard the phrase about crying over spilled coffee? Looking down at the spill, the next question you may have is, does coffee stain?

Spilled coffee is the least of the concerns, especially when spilled coffee leads to coffee stains. Coffee can and will stain fabrics, upholstery, carpets, furniture, and effectively any fabric it gets spilled on. Luckily, there are simple and easy solutions for even the worst of coffee stains. Whether it spilled on jeans, furniture, car interiors, or carpet, it’s easy to remove the stain. There’s no need to fret about coffee stains any longer. 

Why Does Coffee Stain?

Why Does Coffee Stain Almost Anything and How to Remove Stains?

The tanning effect on most surfaces is due to phenols in coffee that react with oxygen when they interact with certain materials.

Although delicious, coffee leaves rather unsightly brown stains on nearly everything it meets. Coffee isn’t alone in this feature, however. Furthermore, Coffee is highly staining because of a naturally occurring dye found in the coffee beans. 

This is called tannin, and it’s found in many other plants, including chocolate, red wine, and many kinds of tea. Tannins are common in our world. Everyone interacts with these compounds daily. These tannins are a kind of natural vegetable dye found naturally in plants as well as coffee, tea, wine, soft drinks, fruit juice, and even washable ink. This is a form of polyphenol that makes these colored compounds stick to human teeth as well as many fabrics. 

Are Coffee Stains Permanent?

Coffee stains aren’t permanent when compared to fabric dyes available from art and craft stores. However, it can stain fabric once it’s left to set. This may be fantastic and trendy for a coffee tie-dye project, but it doesn’t help if it’s someone’s Sunday best. 

This is troubling for daily coffee drinkers, but it’s not the end of the world or the end of white shirts. The stains aren’t initially permanent, which means there’s time to remove them before it sets. Not everyone knows how to get coffee stains out of clothes or are coffee stains permanent. The good news is that it’s simple to get stains out for good.

Do Coffee Stains Come out in Wash?

If you’re asking, do coffee stains come out in the wash? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Like any kind of stain, there’s always a couple of different circumstances to keep in mind. Typically, coffee will come out in the wash if it’s a fresh spill. The longer that it sits and sets, the harder it is to get the stain out. 

It may seem difficult to get coffee stains out of clothing, but it’s possible. The best settings on a washing machine to get out the coffee stains are cold, with an extra rinse cycle. This works very well if the stain is fresh. If it’s a particularly stubborn stain or set, try adding some of the below to the wash to encourage stain removal. 

  • Add in a splash of baking soda to help eliminate the stain. This helps not only remove stains but brighten both whites and colored clothing. 
  • Adding Enzyme Presoak is a wonderful way to remove coffee stains and other stains, for that matter. 
  • Using a stain remover like Dreft Stain Remover provides hypoallergenic stain remover safe for those with allergies and children.  

How to Remove Coffee Stains Once for All

There are many different options for removing coffee stains Trusted Source Consumers Constantly Battle Clothing Stains, And Brands Should Help | Sourcing Journal A Google search will show plenty of consumers look for ways to avoid dry cleaning, preferring instead the convenience and lower costs of doing their own laundry. sourcingjournal.com . Many of these solutions are already in the pantry, or kitchen, or bathroom. Stain removal doesn’t have to be complex. With these simple tips, it’s easy to get rid of coffee stains for the last time. Removing coffee stains once and for all doesn’t mean getting rid of deliciously dark roasted coffee bursting with intense and bold flavors. Instead, it means to be smart and prompt in reacting to stains. 

Clothes

Why Does Coffee Stain Almost Anything and How to Remove Stains?

You can remove coffee stains from your white shirt in many ways, but it depends on how much coffee stain your clothes have.

Does coffee stain clothes? Yes. Does coffee stain jeans? Yes. Does coffee stain shirts? Yes. None of these stains need to be permanent. Clothing is typically the fabric that gets stained the most from coffee and other kinds of stains. 

Things you will need:

  • A dry rag 
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • White vinegar 
  • Club soda
  • Oxiclean, chlorine, bleach
  • Stain remover

Start by rubbing laundry soap, dish soap, club soda, white vinegar, baking soda, or a combination of the previous list. Rub the soap into the fabric using a toothbrush, a stain brush, or even just fingers. If the stain doesn’t visibly lose color, then leave it to soak in the cleaner for about 30 minutes. Rinse and repeat until the stain is gone. 

For older coffee stains, they’ll certainly need to be soaked with the detergent for a longer period. 

White Clothing

Shirts are some of the worst articles of clothing to stain because it’s harder to hide the stain. How to get coffee out of a white shirt isn’t a well-kept secret. It’s available and simple. If the previous method doesn’t work, place this white article into the wash with a splash of bleach or bleaching laundry detergent. 

Jeans

Coffee can stain jeans the same way that it can stain other fabrics. The same methods that work for shirts, dresses, and couches will work for jeans. 

Whether it’s a coffee stain on a business work suit or a black-tie gala, it can be a pain. Add to the complications that the garment is dry wash only.

Don’t fret. There are options. Read the laundry tag on the inside of the seam. Some articles of clothing can be treated with a stain remover and thrown into the washing machine on a delicate cycle. Not all dry wash only clothing can be washed in a standard washing machine.

Carpet

Why Does Coffee Stain Almost Anything and How to Remove Stains?

Make sure that you use light pressure and don’t scrub the carpet too hard not to end up making it worse.

Does coffee stain the carpet? Yes. Is there an effortless way to get rid of coffee stains on a carpet? Also, yes. This is a similar process to removing coffee stains from clothing. Begin by blotting up as much of the liquid as possible.

Take a solution with one tablespoon detergent, one tablespoon of vinegar mixed into a cup of water. Wet the stain and tap to blot it. Continue the process until the stain lifts off the carpet. Using a coaster can help eliminate the risk of coffee rings and coffee stains from furniture. 

Things you will need:

  • Dry rag or paper towels
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Vinegar
  • Club soda 

Upholstery

Coffee stains on upholstery can be a complicated process to remove. 

Using the right stain remover or detergent makes a world of difference. According to most reviews of coffee lovers, a cleaner that eliminates stains and odors like Biokleen Bac-Out Stain And Odor Eliminator Foaming Action Spray is a non-toxic, biodegradable, and natural stain remover perfect for fabrics, carpets, and furniture. 

Things you will need:

  • Dry rag or paper towels
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Vinegar
  • Club soda 

Avoid rubbing as you can damage the fabric upholstery. Use a wet then dry method where you blot the stain with a solution of one tablespoon detergent, to one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of water. Dry the area by blotting with paper towels or a rag. Repeat until the stain is gone. 

Some furniture comes with removable upholstery. Check on the corners and the underside of the furniture to see if the fabric can be removed. Then it’s easier to toss it into a washing machine to further eliminate the stain and coffee smell. 

Cups, Mugs and Travel Mugs

Why Does Coffee Stain Almost Anything and How to Remove Stains?

If the coffee stains on cups are too deep, you can use a baking soda paste to scrub the stained area until it is free from any coffee residue.

Whatever you use to drink your coffee, such as ceramic mugs, glass coffee cups, tumblers, melamine coffee mugs, China teacups, demitasse mugs, travel mugs, and of course, novelty coffee mugs are all subject to the same stains as fabric.  

Things you will need:

  • Baking soda 
  • Denture tablets 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Charcoal
  • White vinegar

There are many ways to clean coffee-stained mugs and cups. Scrubbing and wiping, and washing may help a bit, but if it’s a stubborn stain soaking, it is the way to go Trusted Source Ask ACI: Coffee Cup Cleaning | The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) There are several ways to remove coffee stains. You may have to experiment to see which one works best on your particular travel mug. www.cleaninginstitute.org . Mixing a denture tab or a tablespoon of baking soda will help remove the coffee dye on the inside of the mug. 

Does Coffee Stain Your Teeth?

Many dentists are asked, does coffee stain your teeth? The answer to that is yes. Coffee beverages from a black cup of coffee to a caramel Frappuccino can stain human teeth. Even a single cup of espresso can taint a perfectly white smile with a yellow tinge. 

Coffee doesn’t just stain your teeth like a typical meal or glass of juice would. A cup of java is different from typical food or drink. It’s more than that and leads to a deeper stain. Typically, stains come from pores in our teeth’ enamel being clogged by whatever gets put into the mouth. This is known as extrinsic staining, whereas coffee, tea, and wine are all examples of intrinsic staining. The latter is much harder to remove. 

Removing Coffee Stains on Teeth

Removing coffee stains from teeth can be a tricky process. Much like red wine and tea, coffee leaves stains. Brushing and flossing regularly can keep stains from continuing, but it doesn’t eliminate the current stains. 

There are many ways to get rid of yellow teeth stains:

  • Oil Pulling – This is a process of rinsing out the mouth with oil to remove bacteria, debris, and stains using sesame oil, coconut oil, or sunflower oil. 
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – As a natural bleaching agent, this is perfect for eliminating stains. Simply use it and a bit of baking soda as toothpaste to help get rid of coffee stains. 
  • Baking Soda – Using baking soda alongside or instead of toothpaste incurs a process called microdermabrasion to get through to the stain. Also, adding baking soda to mouthwash already being used is a straightforward way to encourage stain removal. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Gargling with apple cider vinegar helps eliminate bacteria, stains, and bad breath. 

Final Thoughts

Although a cup of coffee is a delicious way to start the day, coffee stains are not. Having stains of any kind can be embarrassing. Stains can draw others’ eyes away from where it’s needed or wanted. It’s possible to get rid of coffee stains regardless of what it’s stained. Whether it’s a coffee stain on a grey blazer, a pair of rhinestone jeans, a vintage novelty carpet, or a community church couch, this article goes over the different solutions perfect for any stain. 

With the answers to the question, ‘does coffee stain?’ it’s easier to continue loving a delicious cup of java in the morning. Enjoy a delicious cup of coffee without the worry and stress of coffee staining the fabrics throughout the home.

References

1.
Consumers Constantly Battle Clothing Stains, And Brands Should Help | Sourcing Journal
A Google search will show plenty of consumers look for ways to avoid dry cleaning, preferring instead the convenience and lower costs of doing their own laundry.
2.
Ask ACI: Coffee Cup Cleaning | The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)
There are several ways to remove coffee stains. You may have to experiment to see which one works best on your particular travel mug.
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