Coffee stains? This is how you take them off

Coffee is delightful for the senses but it can be a nightmare to take out from your clothes. But it’s not impossible to win over coffee stains, as we have learnt.

Is there anything more pleasurable than a morning cup of coffee? Most days, I am able to drag myself out of bed, especially on a cold winter morning, only because I know I can get myself out of my stupor over my morning cuppa. Coffee is to me what oxygen is to human beings – you can take away everything else, all my possessions and everything that’s dear to me, but not my coffee please!

And yet, just like everything that we love, there is always a strong negative with coffee. As much as I revel in coffee and wish I could bathe in it, I hate something about it so much – it stains my white shirts (and once, even my beige trousers) so thoroughly that I have had to ditch so many new clothes after just one use. It’s partly my fault, I suppose – I am always spilling food and drink on myself. And while I have been able to get every other stain out of my clothes, I have always had to surrender when it comes to coffee stains.

So imagine my joy when I recently discovered that I had been remiss in giving up on coffee stains without much of a fight. A friend observed my usual gymnastics with my cup of coffee – I spilled almost the entire cup on my pants at a café the other day – and said drily, “That’s going to take some washing.”

“But these pants are new!” I wailed.

“Firstly, you are supposed to drink your coffee, not wear it. Secondly, why the drama? Just use Vanish,” she remarked.

So, I did. And now I’m in love.

And because I want other coffee addicts like me to benefit from my experience, here’s my point-by-point guide on how to remove a coffee stain:

1 The biggest mistake I often make is that I rub the stain vigorously under water the moment I notice it. This only helps the stain set inside the fabric deeper, and the water helps it spread further as well. Instead, the moment you spill coffee on your clothes, get a clean paper towel and blot the stain. Be firm but don’t use excessive force. The more you delay getting the excess coffee out, the deeper will be the stain.

2 Once you have blotted the stain as much as possible, wet the stain from the back of the fabric. If the coffee is still fresh, flush the fabric from the back to remove as much of it as possible. Let the water run over the fabric, don’t use your fingers. This will lighten most of the stain.

3 Now take some Vanish liquid and apply it to the stain directly. Vanish is a pre-washing stain removal agent that works excellently with coffee stains. It has a quick action formula that isolates the stain molecules and lifts them right off the fabric. You can even soak the fabric in water and add a scoop of Vanish Shakti O2, the oxy-cleaning powder or some Vanish liquid. I just put my stained trousers in the washing machine and added Vanish Liquid to the laundry load.

4 I confess I was a little scared of seeing my trousers in tatters. In my experience, stain removers are harsh on both the stains and the fabric fibres and colours. But not Vanish. Not only had the coffee stain disappeared completely, the trousers looked absolutely new.

5 Never use hot water on a stain. I used to do this too, thinking that the hot water would lift the stain out. Instead, all it does it thins down the stain and help it seep further into the fabric. Remember, cold water and Vanish are your friends when it comes to removing coffee stains from your clothes. I wouldn’t recommend using harsh bar soaps on the stain, too. Look for reputed stain removing detergents to work in tandem with Vanish.

And so, I am now completely at peace to drink my coffee the way I want, spills and all. No, I don’t go out of my way to spill coffee on my clothes. But when I do, now I don’t worry about it so much. I still keep clean paper towels handy to start blotting the moment I notice a spill. But I know that Vanish can help clean the stain, even when I go home hours later and the stain is dried completely by then.

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