How do you remove coffee stains?

One of the more common stains that the professional dry cleaner encounters is the Tannin stain.  Tannin is a substance found in vegetable matter, such as coffee, tea, nuts, grass and the bark of trees.  Tannin stains are visible when fresh and become brown on contact with heat, as in drying and pressing.  Tannin stains should not be confused with the invisible stain or also known as the caramelized sugar stain. Tannin stains are easy to identify.  Often the location of the stain can be the first clue.  Tannin stains will vary from a light tan to a dark brown color.  The stain is absorbed by the fabric.  It will not be built up or stiff and can often smell like the staining substancec (coffee) when heated with the steam gun. Tannin stains are considered a wet-side stain (meaning they will require wet-side stain removal procedures). Let’s look at how to remove coffee stains.

Stain Removal Agents Used In the Removal of Tannin/Coffee Stains:
Steps In the Removal of Tannin/Coffee Stains:
  1. Pretest in an un-exposed area of the garment using the following procedures to see if the garment will withstand the stain removal procedure.
  2. Place a towel under the stained area and flush thoroughly with steam.
  3. Remove the towel and apply neutral lubricant to the stained area.
  4. Tamp lightly with the spotting brush.
  5. Apply tannin stain removal agent to the stained area and tamp lightly.
  6. Place a towel under the stained area and flush thoroughly with steam.
  7. If the stain remains, remove the towel and reapply the  neutral lubricant.
  8. Apply General Formula. (Make sure you have tested the effects of General Formula on an unexposed area of the garment, as this is an aggressive type stain removal agent.)
  9. Tamp lightly with the spotting brush.
  10. Place a towel under the stained area and flush thoroughly with steam. 
  11. If the stain remains, reapply neutral lubricant and several drops of rust remover.
  12. Flush with steam.
At this point, if the stain still remains, bleaching will be necessary to remove the stain.  If color permits the use of bleaches sodium perborate or 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used on wools and silks. On cottons and rayons, sodium perborate or a diluted sodium hypochlorite solution can be used.  Before using any bleaches PRETEST the garment on an unexposed area.
Once the stained area is clear of the stain, place a towel under the area and flush thoroughly with steam, remove the towel, feather and dry, apply levelling agent and dry clean. 
The tannin stain is a very common stain found in dry cleaning.  It is also a stain that you must be able to remove with a very high degree of success.  By following these procedures you should achieve that high degree of success and be on your way to being known as the dry cleaner that gets the stains out.
For answers to more frequenly asked dry cleaning questions, visit
Old Dominion Cleaners, LLC. is a premier dry cleaner and launderer servicing Richmond, Virginia and surrounding areas. We offer free pick up and delivery to your home or office. We also service Chester,Va., Chesterfield,Va.,Glen Allen,Va., Mechanicsville, Va. Midlothian,Va., Quinton,Va., Sandston,Va., and Varina Virginia. Stay connected with our blog to remain informed about dry cleaning and changes in the industry.

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