All the Leaves Are Brown…: A Guide to Autumnal Stains

Chocolate, gravy, coffee and mud are all absolutely great (although, perhaps not all together). The other (unfortunate) thing they have in common is that they are all brown - and a nightmare to get out of clothing. Whether hot chocolate on a dress, coffee down a shirt, or the mud that seems to leap off the ground on to your children’s school uniforms, we’ve composed a quick guide to help you remove these tricky stains from clothing. With these tips, you can stop your clothes from turning brown more regularly than the leaves.

There are a whole range of possible culprits, but for demonstration purposes, we’ll discuss 3 of the most common: coffee stains, chocolate stains and mud stains.

Cleaning Process

When dealing with a stain left by something brown, you will find that the sooner you deal with it, the easier it is to remove. If the stain is water-based (such as coffee, most other hot drinks, and mud), and non-greasy, it’s best to rinse it with cold water to prevent it setting further into the cloth. When the area is damp enough, you can begin tackling the stain itself. There are different procedures to follow depending on the colour of the material:


For whites, the process is normally the same for all three types of stains, since you can often get away with using a stronger stain removing agent. To start with, remove any solid excess with a spoon – being careful not to rub the residue further into the material. Apply a stain remover containing Hydrogen Peroxide such as wash the clothing immediately on a regular wash, with a scoop of Vanish, to remove all of the stain.


For water-based brown stains (e.g. coffee stains) on coloured clothes, start by running cold water through the back of the stain. It is important to wash through the back of the stain so that it doesn’t force the colours through the material, preventing its spread. If the stain is very fresh that may be all that is needed. If the stain still persists, blot it with a stain remover designed specifically for colours - such as  Vanish Oxi Action Gel. Gently rub the Vanish into the stain without smearing it further, but if the stain is particularly old you may need to let it soak. Launder the clothing afterwards on a regular wash, adding another scoop of Vanish to the cycle.

For fat-based and greasy stains, such as chocolate, it’s best to start by scraping off as much as you can with a spoon, all the time being careful not to rub the stain further into the fabric. When the excess is gone, mix a solution of one part liquid detergent with two parts cold water. Dab the solution into the stain, then gently blot it with a dry cloth, absorbing the liquid. Once most of the stain has been removed, blot it with Vanish Oxi Action Gel. Gently rub it in before putting on a regular wash, with the essential scoop of Vanish.

And there you have it! A simple guide to addressing any accidents arising from that hot chocolate, gingerbread spiced latte or mud. So go out into the beautiful autumn, have fun, clean away your stains.