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A cup of coffee.

How to Remove Coffee Stains

Image by Michal Jarmoluk

Coffee is a daily essential for many busy parents, and it's all too easy to spill some, especially when in a rush in the morning! The good news is that coffee stains don’t have to become a permanent fixture in your wardrobe. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get rid of coffee stains from your clothes:  


Method 1: How to Get Rid of Coffee Stains with Dual Action Stain Removers

Although coffee grounds are insoluble, the drink itself is just the opposite, making coffee a water-soluble stain that can be really easy to remove from clothing, even from white shirts! Water-soluble stains respond well to flushing – the method of using water to flush out any discolouration – with a little help from some powerful stain removers.

If you’re able to treat coffee stains quickly, you may not need to use a pre-treatment. (For many stains, the quicker you can treat it, the more effective it will be.). You can pop your clothing in the wash with a Persil Dual Action Bio Capsule, which contains enzymes to tackle stains and built-in stain removers with 5 times the power of regular Persil capsules to get rid of any lingering discolouration.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the product’s packaging and keep caps away from kids – you can check out our child safety guide for advice on how to store laundry capsules.  


Method 2: Removing Coffee Stains with Acetic Acid

Don’t have any Persil Dual Action Capsules to hand? Don’t worry. Another way to remove coffee stains is with acetic acid. Most of us have acetic acid lying around the home in the form of white vinegar – the same stuff you can use in cooking! Here’s a handy step-by-step guide to treating coffee stains with regular white vinegar:

  • Before beginning, use a paper towel to absorb as much excess coffee from the clothing as possible. Reducing the excess will make the following process much simpler.
  • Mix equal parts vinegar and water and add in just enough powdered laundry detergent to make a thick paste – Persil Bio washing powder works really well.
  • Apply a small amount of the paste to an inconspicuous area of the clothing and test for discolouration. If the garment appears OK, apply the paste directly to the stain.
  • Use an old toothbrush to gently work the paste deep down into the fibres, allowing it to lift the stain from within the fabric and draw the coffee particles out towards the surface.
  • Allow the mixture to soak in for about 30 minutes, and then rinse under cold water (not hot –heat can set the stain, making it really difficult to remove).
  • Pop the clothing in the washing machine and wash at 30 degrees. There’s no need to boil your clothes – coffee stain removal is easy even at lower temperatures.


When you’re trying to juggle 50 different things in the morning – including getting the kids ready for school, feeding the pets, and making sure you’ve remembered to pack your lunch for the day – you don’t need anything else on your plate. That’s why it’s important to know that removing coffee stains is actually much easier than it sounds. Spotted a few drips on your shirt? There’s no need to worry! With some Persil detergent in hand (and a bottle of vinegar!) you can treat that stain in no time.  

Have you had an accident with a glass of orange juice, too? Check out our Stain Removal Tips for advice on removing a whole host of common stains.

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