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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing coffee stains

By Dr. Laundry October 12, 2012

What is the best way to remove coffee stains?

Hopefully your coffee-stained item is white and made of a fabric that you can safely bleach–you should always avoid bleaching fabrics that are made with wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex.  If your item is not on that list, then, proceed as follows.


  1. For localized stains, rub stain gently with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel just before laundering.

  2. Or, for large spills, pre-soak the entire item in a solution of ¼ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water. Submerge the garment and soak for 5 minutes.

  3. Wash immediately in the hottest water recommended by the care label using detergent and ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach

  4. Air dry the item and check for success—larger stains may require an additional treatment for complete removal.


If your item includes any of the fibers on the “avoid bleaching” list, or is colored, then you should treat it as follows:

Apply Liquid Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster and rub into stain.  Wait 3-5 minutes, then wash immediately in the hottest water recommended using detergent and Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster.


  1. Air dry the item and check to make sure the stain is completely removed. If stain remains, repeat steps above.