Are Coffee Stains Permanent? (PS. It’s good news!)

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We’re all going to end up covered in coffee at some stage, well, either that or our carpet or furniture, resulting in us searching for the answer to the question, are coffee stains permanent.  

The good news is, no, coffee stains aren’t permanent.  Even if you, a loved one, or co-worker ends up drenching you or themselves in coffee, or furniture, don’t worry – we’ve got everything you need to on how know to deal with coffee stains.  Keep reading to find out how to treat coffee stains effectively.

(Please always remember to test cleaning agents on inconspicuous areas first.)

Why does coffee stain?

The reason for coffee’s distinctive brown color and ability to discolor surfaces, clothing, carpets, upholstery, cups, and teeth is it’s tannin content. Tannin causes staining but it is not the polyphenolic tannins that are responsible for discoloration themselves, but rather a reaction that makes pigment more likely to bind to surrounding molecules. Tannins bind to protein within the water in your hot drink which creates a new molecule that attracts strongly pigmented compounds called Chromogens. As pigment builds up, you’re left with a nasty brown stain.

Do coffee stains wash out?

If you’ve managed to flush the stain away with clean water before the pigment of the tannins has managed to set in, then yes, the stain will wash out without any further intervention. Flush the area clean with a little club soda or clear water quickly after the spill. 

Otherwise, you’ll first need to clean the area using a stain removal solution such as this one, which I thoroughly recommend.  This will loosen the stain from the fibers before running the item of clothing or other material through the wash.

Coffee stains aren’t a permanent problem, even if they’ve had a chance to set in so let’s take a closer look at how to get rid of all types of stains.

Coffee stain removal

Ideally, as soon as a drop of coffee hits clothing, blot it away, get the item off, and either soak the it or put it straight in the washer. 

If the spill is on a carpet or upholstery, use paper towel or toilet paper to soak up the majority of the coffee and then rinse the area with water.  Now apply a small amount of powdered laundry detergent or liquid soap mixed with a little water to form a paste.  Apply to the area and mix in gently with a soft cloth or soft toothbrush.  This will help work the the paste into the fibres.  You can also use Oxiclean Versatile if you have any on hand.  I really swear by the stuff!

After roughly five minutes, rinse or wipe the area clean thoroughly with a wet cloth. Cleaning a stain immediately is the best way to ensure an easy cleaning process and complete removal of the stain. However, if your stain has set in even slightly, read on.

How to get dried coffee stains out of clothes

If you have tried spot cleaning your soiled clothing with laundry detergent and this hasn’t work, don’t worry!  One way to remove old dried coffee stains out of clothes is to use plain white vinegar or a 50/50 solution of lemon juice and water.  

Wet the stained area thoroughly, and after having made a paste of white vinegar and/or lemon juice and water, apply it to the stain. Scrub the paste in using an old toothbrush or a washcloth. After ensuring that the stain is saturated, leave it to soak for around twenty minutes and rinse clean.  You can then wash as normal.  

If you have not had any luck with either vinegar or lemon juice and water, or you’d prefer to use something you know will work the first time, see what I recommend as the best stain remover.

are coffee stains permanent

Removing stubborn dried coffee stains

If you’ve tried everything mentioned above you may have to buy a stain remover which specifically targets tough stains.  OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover is brilliant for a single treatment solution that’ll clear away any stains. 

After dabbing the soiled area with paper towel or tissue paper, to soak up the majority of the spill, follow these directions.  

How to remove old coffee stains from carpet

Coffee spills on a carpet are just as simple to clean as on clothing. Create a 50/50 mix of white vinegar or lemon juice and water. Use a cloth and this solution to dab the stain away as far as possible. Fresh stains will dissipate quickly but if you find that your stain is only fading and not going away, then resort to creating a paste using vinegar and washing powder. Apply to the stain, and allow it to soak for fifteen to twenty minutes.  Blot away the paste with some clean water and a cloth and your stain should be gone.

If you find you’re having no luck with this method, you may need to purchase a stronger stain remover.  

How to remove dried coffee stains from upholstery

Blend a 50/50 mix of white vinegar or lemon juice and water, doubling up the mixture for larger spills. Add an equal part of powdered laundry detergent to your mix and blot the solution to the dried coffee stain. Leave the stain to soak for roughly fifteen minutes and then rinse it clean. Dab away any moisture left with a cloth to help keep quickly dry the upholstery.

You may need to try a stain remover if the stain isn’t disappearing.

How to remove coffee stains from cups

The notorious ring in your coffee or teacup is easy to get rid of. 

Remove coffee and tea stains from cups by adding a little baking soda to the mug. Add just enough water to create a paste, and use this to scrub away the stains. If they’re really stubborn, add a drop of bleach and carry on scrubbing. You’ll be surprised by just how quickly baking soda gets rid of nasty marks. 

If you don’t have baking soda handy, mix up an equal part solution of salt and vinegar. Use this to soak the stains, before scrubbing them away.

How to remove set in coffee stains from cups, coffee mugs, and ceramics

Sometimes, it seems near-impossible to get rid of the tannin ring that forms inside your mugs, coffee pots, and other commonly used ceramic containers. In this case, buy a pack of denture cleaning tablets. Pop one into some water within the stained vessel, leave it to soak, and then wash clean. Tannin stains don’t stand a chance against commercial denture cleaners.

Stubborn stain won’t go away?

There’s a lot of solutions for taking care of stains at home, but none of the DIY cleaners have quite the cleaning power of OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover.  Its deep cleaning power and ability to remove odors completely make it a top choice, and the clear winner amongst today’s expansive range of commercial cleaners.

How to remove coffee stains from tables and wooden surfaces

Create a 50/50 mix of toothpaste and baking soda to remove coffee stains from a wooden or plastic table. Rings on a table don’t stand a chance against this solution. Most porous surfaces can be cleaned using this very paste. Simply apply the toothpaste and baking soda directly to the stain. Use a clean cloth to polish away the stain, cleaning using little steady force and circular motion. After you’ve worked the paste into the stained area, clean it away with a little wood polish or detergent if cleaning plastic.

Please remember to test cleaning agents on inconspicuous areas first.

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Are coffee stains permanent on teeth?

When coffee ends up staining teeth, you’re seeing the product of weakened enamel not the damage of coffee directly. Coffee stains teeth in the same way that it stains everything else. After enough pigment from tannins and other substances that have amassed, teeth will yellow. If you don’t correct your coffee drinking and dental hygiene habits, the problem will worsen. 

Luckily however, the stains themself aren’t permanent. Repeated dental cleaning procedures and teeth whitening solutions can restore the bright, whiteness of healthy teeth.

You can read more about how dental experts recommend keeping your teeth stain free here.

How to remove coffee stains on teeth?

The best way to get rid of coffee stains on teeth is to visit a dentist or dental hygienist for professional teeth cleaning. Alternatively, use either a liquid teeth whitening product or teeth whitening strips to fade stains quickly. A DIY teeth whitening solution can be created by combining a few drops of hydrogen peroxide with baking soda. Coat your stained teeth with the paste and leave it to sit for as long as possible, preferably fifteen minutes.  Brush your teeth with toothpaste to clean away the residue, and repeat once a week until staining has dissipated.

You may find this article on minimizing coffee stains useful.

Make a teeth whitening mouth wash

A weak solution of hydrogen peroxide and water is a great teeth whitening mouthwash that you can use multiple times a day. Just make sure to rinse your mouth with clean water thoroughly afterward. Depending on the degree of staining, you may notice brighter teeth immediately after hydrogen peroxide treatments thanks to its natural ability as a powerful bleaching agent.

Get rid of coffee stains quickly

Coffee stains may be common but thank goodness they’re not permanent. Rinse your mugs thoroughly after each use to prevent staining. If you ever struggle with a stain and find that your DIY cleaning solutions just can’t cut it, then give OxiClean Versatile a try. A little goes a long way, and each product in their range guarantees that your stain will be gone for good. 

Also try to remember to rinse any fresh stains away as quickly as possible, and you’ll never need to resort to using a cleaning agent of any kind in the first place.