Pesky rings are a thing of the past.
Woman preparing coffee for senior woman at dining table
Credit: Getty / Luis Alvarez

Coffee is the pick-me-up you look forward to each morning, but if you're not careful when you're handling it, it also has the power to ruin your day. Spilled coffee can do everything from burn your skin to stain your outfit (and anything else it comes into contact with, for that matter). The best way to prevent coffee stains is to clean up any spills and pretreat any problem areas before you rinse your mug. Of course, accidents happen—which is why we spoke with environmental toxin expert Tonya Harris to find out how can rid most surfaces of coffee stains.


A sprinkle of table salt is the secret ingredient to getting coffee spots and spills out of clothes, says Harris. "The more you layer it, the better chance it has to seep into the clothing to absorb the stain," she says, so be sure to sprinkle liberally. "It may not completely remove the stain, but it can stop the spread." If you don't have salt, baking soda should also work. "Make sure to wash your clothing as soon as you can," she notes, after applying either.


If you've spilled some of your morning cup on your end tables, Harris suggests taking a DIY approach: "Combine one part white toothpaste (make sure it doesn't say 'gel' on the label!), and one part baking soda." Then, rub the solution into the stain in a circular motion before letting it sit for a few minutes.

Laminate Countertops

Coffee rings on your countertops can be frustrating. To remove them, Harris suggests mixing a one part dish detergent (or Castile soap) with three parts baking soda to form a paste. "Scrub gently into the laminate with a cloth or nylon scrub brush—but don't over-scrub, because it can weaken or remove some of the laminate covering," she says. To clean, dampen a cloth with just enough water to remove the paste.

Stone Countertops

For stone countertops, Harris suggests making a poultice that will draw the spot out. "To do this, combine hydrogen peroxide and flour to the consistency of peanut butter," she says. "Spread the mixture onto the stain using a spatula or putty knife, and then cover the area with plastic wrap and easy-to-remove tape, such as painter's tape." Let everything sit for up to 24 hours (for older stains) or overnight for less than day-old stains before gently scraping the mixture off with a putty knife. "Dry the area with a towel," she adds. "If there is any moisture left over, it will dry over the next few days to weeks, and some of the dry poultice that was scraped off can be sprinkled on it to speed along the process."

Dishes and Mugs

If you've let your coffee sit too long in your mug or on a saucer, consider breaking out the baking soda again. The powder can be abrasive though, so be careful with more dishware.


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