How to Remove Tea and Coffee Stains From Clothes and Carpet

How to Remove Tea and Coffee Stains

The Spruce / Joules Garcia

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Tea and coffee spills can leave stubborn stains, and removing the stains can be tricky. Both of these of beverages contain tannins, which are plant compounds that can dye fabrics. Add the greasy component of cream or other flavoring ingredients, and the stain becomes even more difficult.

No matter what type of tannin-based beverage spills, it's essential to treat the stain as soon as possible for the best chance of removing it.

Never use natural bar soap or soap flakes like Zote on a coffee stain because the soap can make tannin stains more difficult to remove. Instead, follow the steps below to remove tea and coffee stains from clothes and carpets.

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Watch Now: How to Remove Coffee Stains From Clothing

Stain type  Tannin-based
Detergent type  Liquid laundry 
Water temperature  Cold 
Cycle type  Normal 

Before You Begin

Before you wash any item, carefully read the garment care label. If you get a coffee stain on a dry-clean-only garment, take care not to rub the stain into the fibers. Blot the stain with a napkin or clean cloth and take the garment to a dry cleaner as soon as possible.

If you get a coffee stain on silk or vintage upholstery, do not try cleaning these materials yourself. Contact an upholstery specialist.

If you plan to use a home dry cleaning kit, treat the coffee stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Clothes

  • White paper towel or cloth
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Oxygen bleach

Carpet

  • White paper towel or cloth
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Vacuum

Materials

Clothes

  • Stain remover pen
  • Heavy-duty liquid detergent
  • Oxygen bleach

Carpet

  • Dishwashing detergent

Instructions

Materials for removing coffee stains

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Removing Tea and Coffee Stains From Clothing

  1. Blot Excess Moisture

    Blot away as much moisture as possible with a plain white paper towel or cloth.

    Blotting coffee off of a garment

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Flush the Stain With Water

    • Flood the stained area with plain cool water. If possible, flush the stain from the wrong side by holding the stain under a faucet of cold running water.
    • Alternatively, sponge the stain with a white cloth dipped in cool water. If any color remains, you can use a stain remover pen.
    Flushing the coffee stain with water

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Pre-Treat With Liquid Detergent

    • Treat with a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent like Tide or Persil. or use a stain removal spray or gel.
    • Gently work the stain remover into the fabric with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and allow it to work for at least 10 minutes before washing.
    • This step is critical if the coffee spill contained cream or other added flavorings.
    Pretreating the stain with laundry detergent

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Wash as Directed

    Wash following care label directions using a good detergent and the hottest water recommended for the fabric.

    Washing the garment as recommended

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. Soak Stubborn Stains in Oxygen Bleach

    • Mix a solution of warm water and oxygen-based bleach (brand names are: OxiClean, Nellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite).
    • Completely submerge the stained garments and allow them to soak for at least four hours or overnight. Then wash as usual.
    Soaking the garment in an oxygen bleach solution

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Removing Tea and Coffee Stains From Carpet

  1. Blot Excess Moisture

    Blot up as much liquid as possible with a white cloth or paper towel. Keep blotting until no more moisture is transferred from the carpet to the material.

    Blotting coffee on a carpet

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Soap the Stain With Dishwashing Liquid

    • Mix a solution of 2 teaspoons of dishwashing detergent in 2 cups of warm water. Dip a clean white cloth, sponge, or soft bristle brush into the solution.
    • Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to keep it from spreading, work the cleaning solution into the stain.
    • Blot with a dry cloth to absorb the solution, Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is transferred. 
    Treating a coffee stain on the rug with stain remover

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Blot With Water to Rinse the Stain

    Dip a clean cloth in plain water to "rinse" the spot. This is especially important because any soapy residue left on the carpet will attract more soil.

    Allow the stain to air dry away from direct heat. Vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.

    Blotting the stained area with water

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Apply Oxygen Bleach to Stubborn Stains

    • Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and cool water following package directions to treat a stubborn or old stain. 
    • Dip a clean cloth into the solution and working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center, work the solution into the carpet. Do not over-wet. 
    • Allow the solution to remain on the stain for at least 30 minutes before blotting away with a dry cloth.
    Mixing an oxygen bleach solution in a glass bowl

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. Air Dry and Vacuum

    Air dry completely and vacuum to restore the pile.

    Vacuuming the rug after stain removal

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

When to Call a Professional

When a tea or coffee stain happens on a garment labeled as dry clean only, blot the stain with a dry white cloth. Sponge lightly with a white cloth damped with plain cold water and blot dry. As soon as possible, head to the cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional dry cleaner.

If the upholstery is silk or vintage, it is best to call a professional cleaner, especially if you need more stain removal tips. Home cleaning may result in permanent water spots on your upholstery.

Additional Tips for Handling Tea and Coffee Stains

The same cleaning solutions and techniques recommended for carpets can be used for coffee stains on upholstery. Take care not to overwet the fabric because excess moisture in the cushions can cause mildew problems.

If the stain persists—on clothing, carpet, or upholstery—repeat all the cleaning steps at least twice. If, after those attempts, the stain doesn't come out, get the help of a professional cleaner.

After the stain is successfully removed, continue washing the item as you usually would per the garment care tag or instructions.

coffee stain on a sweater
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Watch Now: How to Remove Coffee Stains From Carpet