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The Best Ways to Remove Coffee & Wine Stains from Clothing

March 23, 2019

Doing the laundry can be a bit of a chore. As much as we’d hate to admit it, however, it’s just one of those essential tasks that you have to do. At the end of the day, no one wants to be wearing dirty clothes! Not only is that bad hygiene, but it can lead to icky things like skin infections and rashes. To prevent this, we should all aim to do the laundry at least once a week (more often is never a bad thing).

When it comes to washing your clothes, there are multiple things to consider. For instance, you always want to take into consideration the type of garment that you’re dealing with. After all, you wouldn’t wash jeans the same way as you would with underwear! Also, you want to make sure that you’re using the right type of product—some are formulated for specific fabrics or purposes (e.g. bleach-containing detergents are often used to whiten clothing).

Another thing to consider is how they’re dirty. Is the item covered with mud? Was it drenched in sweat after a workout? That also determines how you should go about washing it. For the purposes of this article, though, we will be focusing on the topic of stains—more specifically, coffee and wine stains. Surely, we all deal with this issue on a regular basis. As careful as we may be, accidents happen and liquids inevitably fly onto our clothing.

Understandably, this can be upsetting—especially if you’re wearing a fancy outfit. Who wants to have a visible stain on their expensive dress shirt or dress? Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to clean them off. Yes, you’ve guessed it—we’ll be going over these methods below. For convenience’s sake, we have divided the page into different sections according to fabric type.

How to Remove Coffee Stains from Technical Fabrics

Technical fibers such as polyester, spandex, and nylon are relatively durable, especially compared to wool and silk. Accidentally dripped or poured some coffee on your workout shirt? No problem—you can get it out in a few easy steps!

removing coffee stains from technical fibers

1. First things first—blot up the excess coffee with a dry cloth. Paper napkins also work in a pinch (you might need more than one, though). Avoid wiping motions, that will only spread the liquid further onto the fabric.

2. Once you’ve finished blotting up the excess coffee, pre-soak the item in the sink (a tub or container also works). Fill it with warm water (warm is better than cold when it comes to stains) and add a scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Agitate and mix the solution with your hands. If necessary, you can also add a tablespoon of white vinegar.

3. Place the stained clothing into the sink and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes (longer is okay too). Make sure that the problem area is submerged entirely in the solution.

4. Pick the item up once it has been thoroughly soaked. Use a sponge or soft cloth to blot up any remaining stain; you can also rub the area gently to remove the spot.

5. Rinse away the detergent and examine the problem area. Depending on the extent of the stain, you might have to repeat the above steps a few times. Generally speaking, though, it should come out after one or two goes. Do not put the item in the dryer until the stain is completely gone—otherwise, it will make it even harder to remove.

How to Get Rid of Coffee Stains on Cotton and Linen

Cotton and linen are also easy to work with when it comes to coffee stains. We’ll be going over three different methods below.

how to remove coffee from cotton shirts

Using Laundry Detergent

1. Blot the stain quickly with a paper towel or cloth if it is still fresh and damp. This will help to get rid of the excess liquid, which will make the later steps easier.

2. Rinse the item with clean water at the sink for at least five minutes. At the same time, gently rub the stained area to loosen the stain.

3. Rub a small amount of laundry detergent onto the problem area. ACTIVE detergent is designed for technical fibers, however, it can also be used for regular clothing too. Leave it to set for a few minutes—older stains might require more time.

4. Afterward, gently rub the stain between your fingers—this should loosen the bits of coffee that is embedded in the fibers. Rinse the item thoroughly with clean water.

5. Wash the item as normal either by hand or by machine.

Using a Commercial Stain Remover

In some cases, you might need to use a commercial stain remover. This is often the case if you accidentally spilt a lot of coffee on yourself. Don’t worry, they’re fairly inexpensive; you can find them in most houseware stores.

1. Gently blot the stain to remove the excess coffee. Do not wipe the area as that will spread the liquid onto other parts of the fabric.

2. Use the commercial stain remover according to its instructions. Depending on the product, you may or may not have to pre-soak the item.

3. Wash the article of clothing as normal after applying the stain remover.

Use Near-Boiling Water

remove coffee stains with hot water

1. Stretch the stained fabric over a bowl and secure it with a rubber band.

2. Carefully pour near-boiling water from a height of two feet over the stained area. Stand back to avoid hot splatters.

3. Wash as normal by hand or machine after the material cools down.

Note: This method should only be used for cotton; near-boiling water can easily damage other types of fibers. Having said that, some finishes and dyes might be damaged. As a precaution, it might be a good idea to test it on a corner first.

The Best Way to Remove Wine Stains from Technical Fibers

Wine is similar to coffee in that it can easily stain your clothes. As it is, it’s not uncommon for synthetic fabrics to hold onto these stains after a spill. Don’t worry, though—they are removable as long as you act quickly. Let’s take a look at some of the easiest ways to remove wine stains.

Using Salt

removing wine stains with salt

1. Blot the wine stain with a clean, dry cloth to get rid of the excess liquid. Never rub the area—this will push the liquid deeper into the fabric and maker it harder to remove.

2. Sprinkle a liberal amount of salt onto the stained fabric; this will prevent the liquid from spreading and setting in the fibers. Let it sit for several hours before washing with water and ACTIVE detergent.

Using Laundry Detergent and Hydrogen Peroxide

If salt didn’t do the trick, you can try using dishwashing soap and peroxide.

1. As always, you want to blot up the excess wine with a dry cloth or towel. Avoid spreading the liquid with wiping or rubbing motions.

2. Mix equal parts of ACTIVE detergent (you’ll have to premix the powder with some water according to the instructions) and hydrogen peroxide in a bottle. Carefully pour it onto the stained area. Allow it to sit for a minute or two before dabbing it with a cloth—this should help to lift the stain.

3. Wash as normal by hand or by machine. Do not dry the item until the stain is completely removed; the heat from the dryer will set the stain further.

Use White Vinegar

1. Gently blot the stained area to remove the excess wine.

2. Fill a sink with lukewarm water. Add one tablespoon of mild soap and one tablespoon of white vinegar. Gently swirl the liquid to mix the solution.

3. Place the piece of clothing into the sink—make sure that the stained area is completely submerged in the liquid. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes (longer if necessary).

4. Use a soft sponge to dab up any excess wine. If necessary, gently rub the problem area with your fingers to loosen the stain.

5. Wash the garment as normal by hand or by machine. Avoid drying the item until the stain is removed; the high temperatures from the dryer will set the stain further.

Easy Ways to Get Wine Stains Out From Cotton

Cotton is more absorbent than technical fibers. For this reason, you want to act fast (i.e. before it sets into the fabric) when there is a wine spill. Remember, a wet stain is always easier to deal with than a dry stain!

Use a Commercial Stain Remover Product

Are you a frequent wine drinker? If so, you might want to invest in a commercial stain cleaner. You can find them in most supermarkets—some are even specially formulated for wine!

1. Remove any excess wine from the garment by blotting gently with a clean cloth or towel.

2. Apply the commercial stain remover product to the stained area according to the product’s instructions. In some cases, you might have to soak the item afterwards.

3. For the most parts, you can wash the item as normal after applying the stain remover.

Using White Wine

using white wine for red wine stains

Believe it or not but you can actually lighten the red wine stain by using white wine! You probably want to try the other methods before putting more wine on your garment, though.

1. Remove as much of the original wine as possible by blotting the area with a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing the fabric.

2. Apply a small amount of white wine onto the stain. The way things work, this will help to neutralize it. Gently dab on the wine afterward to remove the excess liquid.

3. Launder the item as normal with cold water. Do not dry if the stain has not yet been removed.

Using Boiling Water

1. Blot the area dry with a clean cloth or towel.

2. Stretch the stained area over a bowl and pour near-boiling water through the fabric. Be careful of hot splatters! The amount of water required will depend on how set in the stain is.

3. Wash the item as normal once it has cooled down.

Note: Generally speaking, this method should be used as a last resort as it can cause damage to certain dyes and colors.

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