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  Coffee, tea 
Detergent type  Liquid laundry 
Water temperature  Cold 
Cycle type  Normal 

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

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.

  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.
  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.
  4. Wash as Directed

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

  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.
    washable clothing soaking in a basin
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

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 a coffee stain on a rug
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  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. 
  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.

  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.
  5. Air Dry and Vacuum

    Air dry completely and vacuum to restore the pile.

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 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 water spots.

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.

coffee stain on a sweater
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Watch Now: How to Remove Coffee Stains From Carpet