Have you ever been sitting at a red light on your morning drive to work and when the light turns green the guy next to you takes off so fast that he spills his orange juice all over his shirt? You sit there laughing until the car behind you blares their horn, startling you and then it happens. Your coffee ends up down the front of your clean, white shirt! Karma!
I know coffee stains on a white shirt can seem impossible to get out. But there are ways that you can treat these stains at home so don’t panic and throw your shirt away.
First thing you need to do is try laundry soap for fresh coffee stains. If the stain has already dried then try soaking your shirt in vinegar and water or soak it in bleach and water. If these methods do not work there is a step – by – step guide below of what to do.
For Fresh Coffee Stain Removal
Check the shirt label to see what kind of material you’re dealing with. The reason for this is because, with polyester and acrylic, those materials do not absorb liquid as fast as some other materials like cotton. So, the coffee may not be completely absorbed in the shirt which will make it easier to clean.
- Blot your shirt with a paper towel to absorb any excess coffee. Don’t keep using the same spot on the paper towel, use a clean spot after each blot.
- Next, hold the shirt, where the coffee stain is, under COLD water for at least three minutes, rubbing with your fingertips over the coffee stain. Repeat this as many times as necessary until the stain fades.
- Add a dime-size amount of liquid laundry detergent with a tablespoon of white vinegar to the spot. Let it sit for about 15 – 20 minutes.
- After letting it sit, scrub the detergent using only your fingertips then let it sit for another 5 minutes.
- After the 5 minutes are up, rub in any remaining detergent.
- Rinse out the detergent using cold water. Rinse then wring out the shirt and repeat until all of the suds are gone.
Once that is done, put the shirt in the washer with detergent and was on the cold cycle. When the wash is finished, do NOT put the shirt in the dryer until you have checked to make sure the stain is completely gone. If the stain is still there, do not put it in the dryer because this will set the stain in and you’ll never get it out.
Rewash the shirt by hand using bleach or peroxide. Then run it through the machine wash cycle on cold again with detergent and bleach.
After this if you do not see a stain then let the shirt air dry completely to make sure the stain is gone.
For Dry Coffee Stains
- First, check to see what material the shirt is made of. It is easier to get coffee stains out of acrylic or polyester. Especially acrylic because this material is more liquid resistant.
- Pour warm, not hot water into a bucket. Warm water is about 90 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix dish soap (one-half teaspoon) and vinegar (one tablespoon) and stir.
- Put the shirt into the mix and make sure that the entire stain is submerged. Soak for about 15 – 20 minutes.
- Rinse the shirt then check for the stain. Make sure to wring the shirt out and check carefully that the entire stain is completely gone.
- If this doesn’t work then try to apply the stain remover. Read the directions on the bottle of stain remover carefully and follow those directions. Let the shirt sit for about 10 minutes.
- Next, put your shirt in the washer with a load of clothes that you plan on washing with bleach added in. (DON’T use bleach if your shirt is made of wool, lyrca, leather, or silk.)
- Once your shirt is washed, hang it in an open area to air dry. It has to dry completely but do not put it in the dryer, the heat will make the stain set in permanently.
These steps for cleaning a fresh coffee stain and a dry coffee stain should work perfectly. My personal opinion and what has always worked for me is to use the Blue Dawn dish detergent and peroxide instead of bleach. Peroxide will not put white spots in other material, like the shirt you have on while you’re cleaning your white shirt.
The number one tip is to keep a spray bottle with peroxide in it handy for any white clothes that get stained. Try this Spray-On Peroxide. Spray the stain and scrub it before throwing it in the washing machine. This has saved my clothes many times!