How to Remove Coffee Stains from Plastic


Catherine asked: How do I get the brown coffee oil stains off the outside of a plastic drip coffee pot? The top of the lid for the water reservoir has become stained brown and nothing I’ve tried removes the stain. The lid for the water reservoir sits above the basket where the grounds are placed for brewing.

Removing coffee stains from plastic can be difficult once the plastic becomes discolored. Since plastic tends to absorb these stains, it is necessary to use a product that will bleach the stain away. Here are several products that will help to remove the discoloration and leave your coffee maker looking new again.

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dish detergent
  • Kitchen Cleaner (ex: Clorox)
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Soft Cloths
  • Cotton balls

Steps to Remove the Coffee Stains:


  1. If the stains are fresh, clean them with water and a mild dish detergent.
  2. Spray the area with a kitchen cleaner and allow it to sit for a several minutes before wiping it away.
  3. If the stain remains, moisten a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with water and gently rub it over the area. These sponges are fantastic at removing all kinds of stains and are safe to use on nearly every surface.
  4. Rinse with water.
  5. If the stain persists, moisten a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and rub the area with it.
  6. If the staining is severe, moisten a soft cloth or several cotton balls liberally with rubbing alcohol and lay it over the stain.
  7. Cover the area with plastic and tape down the edges. This will prevent the alcohol from evaporating before it has time to remove the stain.
  8. Allow the alcohol to sit on the stain for several hours before removing.
  9. The same method can be used with chlorine bleach or vinegar.
  10. When the stain is removed, rinse the area and allow it to dry completely.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Avoid any harsh scrubbers or cleaners as these can scratch the surface. These scratches will then collect stains and dirt faster making the plastic surface look worse.
  • The longer stains set on the plastic, the more permanent they will become. Treat stains promptly for the easiest and most successful removal.



  1. I want to clean the plastic doors on my washing machine and dyer. I have a streak from fabric softener that I can’t remove. What would you advise me to do?

  2. Sharon,
    You need to determine what solvent (such as white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, etc.) will dissolve the fabric softener so that it can be wiped away. Vinegar might be the best choice. Another option is to try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
    If nothing seems to be working, here is another idea: fold a piece of paper towel in half or quarters, soak it with water and wring it out slightly so it’s not dripping. Press it up against the fabric softener and use plastic wrap to hold it in place. Let it soak for a while, and hopefully the fabric softener will be softened enough to be wiped or scrubbed off.
    Source: HowToCleanStuff – How to Clean Plastic Surfaces
    Source: Yahoo! Answers – How do I clean a fabric softener dispenser and agitator from a Frigidaire top load washer?

  3. Only thing that works for really badly stained coffee dripper/pot stains is soap first, hot water second, and finally bleach. You have to find a way to soak the bleach (eg. soak paper towels in bleach and drape them on the stained area, etc.).

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