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10 Worst Food Stains and How to Remove Them

Coffee or Tea

Accidentally spilling a little coffee or tea on a shirt doesn't seem like a big deal. The stains don't look that nasty at first, not like ketchup or mustard. Once they set, though, coffee and tea stains can be pesky and persistent. Just when you think you've eradicated them, their faint yellowish outlines will reemerge, defying your best attempts to lose them forever. Before you stop drinking coffee altogether (is that even possible?), let's look at some measures you can take to salvage your wardrobe and make your favorite indulgence -- a steaming morning brew -- less of a risky proposition:

  • Rinse fresh coffee stains in hot water. If you catch a stain quickly enough, this is a fast and effective way to get coffee or tea out of most heat-tolerant, color-fast fabrics.
  • If the stain is older, soak it in dishwashing liquid or treat it with a commercial spot remover.
  • If the stain is old and set, try using borax. Borax is an oxidizing agent that can sometimes break the links that holds old stains on fabric. Mix 2 tablespoons of borax into a cup of water and pour it on the stain. Leave it in place for 10 minutes and then rinse. Wash the garment as you would normally.