Coffee Stains

Once again, life has given me an opportunity to share a household cleaning strategy with you. This time, it’s tips for removing coffee stains. Since I’m the only one who drinks coffee around here, I have no one to blame but myself for these lovely dark stains on my brand-new T-shirt.

As with any stain, a few standard tips for removing coffee stains apply here.

Rule #1: As soon as possible, blot the stain with a clean cloth (ideally before it dries!) to prevent the stain from setting in.

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice these dark brown stains on my chest until the day was half over. (Yes, I walked around for half a day with dribble marks down my shirt. Yeesh!) Strike One.

Toothbrush to stain

Rule #2: Don’t leave the stain remover on the clothes too long, or it may lighten or bleach the clothing.

As with my efforts to remove grease stains from my husband’s trousers, I didn’t bother throwing the T-shirt into the washing machine until the next load. Unfortunately for me, we had just washed light colors and whites, so it was a few days before the T-shirt made it from the hamper to the washing machine. Sure enough, when I pulled the T-shirt from the dryer, I noticed a significant white spot around the former coffee stains. The stains were gone, but I’m not sure a large white spot across my chest was much better. Bummer. And Strike Two.

Rule #3: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Because I am super thrifty, I refused to admit defeat. This T-shirt is really comfortable, and I was hoping to get more than one day’s worth of wear out of it before tossing it in the rag bag. So back into the washer it went, if only to have a clean rag. (Seriously, what is wrong with me?)

Clean shirt

But guess what? My tenacity paid off! I have no idea why the apparent bleaching would dissolve, but the second time I pulled the T-shirt from the dryer, all I saw was even coloring. No coffee stains. No bleaching. Who knows why this worked? Who cares?! I have my shirt back! Instead of striking out, that’s a home run in my book! Let’s just see that again.

Coffee Stains



Clean shirt


Here’s what I did.

1. Pour some liquid laundry detergent on the stain. (Even though I now make my own powdered laundry detergent, I still keep some liquid detergent on hand for these very purposes.)
2. Rub the detergent into the stain with a toothbrush.
3. Walk away. (This is my favorite step in any cleaning process!)
4. Wash as usual.
5. Repeat.
6. Rejoice over a clean shirt. (It’s the little things that keep us happy around here.)

Have a tip for removing stains? Please share in the comments section below!

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