Application Technology - Coffee Stains - CEBE Reinigungschemie GmbH

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Application Technology - Coffee Stains

We all have seen them and maybe even caused them and then attempted to remove them.

Basically one can say that a product which guarantees a 100% removal of coffee stains will either simultaneously also remove all colour or it will not be able to keep its promise.

Coffee Stains are the pleasure and sorrow of every cleaner. Pleasure because one does not always have that feeling of failure when removing them successfully and sorrow because after numerous successes one will be confronted with failure. Nobody will have a clean track record in the removal of coffee stains.

The problem associated with coffee stains is that behind its simple name there lies hidden a complex stain. A coffee stain rarely just consists of coffee. It usually also consists of milk, condensed milk, cream, sugar, and/or artificial sweetener. Sometimes it is spilt freshly made and hot, other times it is old and cold. Sometimes its just a few drops that were spilt, other times a whole pot has found its way onto the floor. All these different ingredients and circumstances make the coffee stain into what it is: a great unknown when considering how to remove it.

When a coffee stain has just occurred then text books on the topic and professional cleaners agree: absorb as much as possible right away and rinse with cold water. The faster this happens after the accident the bigger the chance that one does not have to apply any products at all.

Unfortunately these circumstances and this approach are the exception, not the rule. Generally speaking the stain is older, nobody recalls how it came to be, what the coffee consisted of, and in what state it was. This leads to the cleaner being confronted with a challenge which may or may not be met.

Before we begin to discuss the possibilities of coffee stain removal we would like to point out one thing and make it clear: not every coffee stain may be removed completely.
This fact should be related to the customer prior to attempting the removal of same stain(s).

CEBE has two specialty products that were developed specifically for the removal of coffee stains: Coffee Stain Remover - for natural fibres/textiles and Coffee Stain Off - for synthetic fibres/textiles.

Both products have one goal: to remove the discolouration caused by the tannin contained in coffee. The product Coffee Stain Remover accomplishes this by means of reduction which is, looked at from a chemical perspective, the opposite of oxidation, the mechanism by which common bleaches work. The advantage with the active ingredient contained in Coffee Stain Remover is that one does not need to rinse the treated area with water after treatment. Even if several applications should prove necessary, rinsing is not needed. Should too much product be used then one can remove the residues by vacuuming the area after the product has dried completely.

The Coffee Stain Off  is a two component product which works by means of oxidation - that is by bleaching. For this reason it is more effective on synthetic fibres but not suitable on natural fibres. However, it is absolutely necessary to rinse the treated area thoroughly with water as unrinsed areas will become visible through colour loss inflicted by the bleach.

In both cases the products only remove the discolouration. If this discolouration has become permanent due to high heat: in natural fibres this occurs by damage to the fibre itself, in synthetics by means of swelling of the fibre, penetration of the coffee, and sealing in when the swelling goes back upon cooling - then this stain may no longer be removed 100%.

What may be removed, however, are the other ingredients that may have been contained in the coffee, such as milk, condensed milk, cream, sugar, or artificial sweetener. These may be removed by applying a neutral, enzyme containing product such as Fleck Weg, BioFresh or a Tapi Bonnet solution without having a negative effect on the discolouration as products may have that are not neutral in pH.  In this manner a large part of the actual coffee stain may be removed before one applies either of the two aforementioned specialty products in order to attempt to remove, successfully or not, the discolouration imparted by the tannin contained in the coffee.

We have come up with a text suggestion for a leaflet which may be passed on to your customers in order to inform them about this type of stain, the problems associated with it and the possibility of a not complete removal:

Coffee Stains may not always be removed completely.

Even though many products have been developed specifically for this purpose they too may not perform miracles. If the stain is treated with chemicals that are too aggressive this may lead to bleaching which will result in removal of not only the stain but also the colour/dye.

Whether a stain may be removed depends on the way it was caused and the material on which it is present.

If the coffee was hot and has been spilt on a synthetic fibre, the heat leads to a swelling of the fibres and penetration of the coffee into the pores. Cooling leads to shrinking of the pores and the coffee being in the fibre permanently. Removal is impossible in this case.

If the coffee was only warm or cold and spilt on wool it may be removed with cold water for the most part. The rest is easily accomplished using a specialty product.
Since the circumstances under which the stain came to be are usually not known it is impossible to guarantee the stain's removal before treatment.

This text shows your customer that you have put thought into the problem and are making a well-based statement about it. In most cases this should prevent discussions and complaints after treating the stain.
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