A fresh cup of coffee in the morning is one of the many delights in life. But one quick accident and drop of the cup can turn that delight into a nightmare as that delicious beverage seeps into your carpet. As you watch the stain grow, you’re left mourning the loss and needing to know how best to remove that coffee stain from your favorite rug.
While an ugly brown coffee stain on your carpet may seem like it will bring you to tears, cleaning the stain can be a fairly easy process. You don’t even need expensive cleaning solutions or fancy equipment; with just a few household items, you can tackle that stain like a pro.
You'll easily get that coffee out of your carpet, regardless of how fresh or old – or even if it is on a wool or car carpet.
Supplies Needed to Clean Coffee Out of Carpet
Most coffee stains, old and new, can be cleaned up with items you generally have on hand in your house. So check your pantry and make sure you’re stocked with the following items to tackle those coffee spills:
- Clean, white towels or paper towels
- Small bowl or bucket for water and to mix your cleaning solution
- Dish soap (any type will work)
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Enzyme laundry detergent
- Stain remover
- Carpet cleaner
- Wet vac
Note: Not all these items are required to remove coffee stains from carpet; for example, you can just as easily remove smaller stains with dish soap and warm water or vinegar as using a wet vac or carpet cleaner.
How to Remove Fresh Coffee Stains
Removing a fresh coffee stain from your carpets is always easier than when the stain has set in. That’s why speed is critical when it comes to effective stain removal.
As soon as that coffee hits the rug, follow these steps to get the best cleaning results:
1. Soak up the spilled coffee with a clean cloth.
It’s important to remember to blot the stain with a clean cloth. Don’t rub the stain as it will drive the coffee further into the carpet fibers.
Gently dab at the stain, soaking up as much of the coffee as possible.
2. Clean the stain.
You can use any stain remover or heavy-duty carpet cleaner to help you remove the coffee stain, but one of the best cleaning solutions comes from products you most likely have lying around your home.
In fact, most cleaning professionals recommend a homemade solution of dish soap and white vinegar as it is safer for carpets and just as effective as the stain removers and carpet cleaners.
Mix up a solution of 1 tbsp dish soap, 1 tbsp vinegar, and two cups of warm water. Using a clean, and preferably white, cloth, blot the coffee stain with the cleaning mixture.
Again, do not rub the spill. If the stain is proving to be a bit more stubborn, you can blot the area with the cleaning solution and leave it for 5-10 minutes before continuing to the final step.
*Note: If you do choose to use a stain remover, heavy-duty carpet cleaner, or hydrogen peroxide, make sure you test a small, hidden area to make sure it doesn’t bleach the carpet or ruin the carpet fibers.
Tip for stubborn stains: If the soap solution is not getting the stain out, try saturating the area with the cleaning solution and using a wet vac to pull up the stain. Don’t use your standard vacuum on anything liquid as it can ruin it.
3. Rinse and dry.
Blot the area with clean cold water to remove the remaining soap and vinegar mixture from the carpet and then let the carpet air dry. If your carpet dries and the stain is still not gone, try going through the second and third step again and then sprinkle some baking soda on the stain and let it sit while the carpet dries.
Once it’s dry, just vacuum up the baking soda!
How to Remove Old (Dried) Coffee Stains
While it’s always best to clean up a coffee spill right away, life happens, and it’s not always a possibility. Thankfully, it’s not impossible to get dried coffee stains out of your carpet. You may just need to use a little extra elbow grease to do it:
- Re-wet the stain. Using a bit of warm water, dab at the stain on your carpet to loosen the coffee, making it easier to be soaked up.
- Blot the stain. Keep blotting the coffee stain with the warm water to get as much of the stain up as possible.
- Clean the stain. You can use the same dish soap and vinegar cleaning combo you would use on a fresh stain. Again, use a clean cloth to dab the stain with the cleaning mixture. If the coffee spilled had cream and/or sugar, you might want to use a cleaning solution of one capful of enzyme laundry detergent mixed with one cup of warm water. Using a clean towel, dab at the stain with this solution until you see the stain is gone.
- Rinse and dry. Using cold water, blot the area to remove any residual soap and let the area air dry.
Cleaning Coffee Out of Wool Carpet
Wool carpets can be cleaned in the same manner as other carpets, but it’s important to remember that you must be careful about what cleaning solution you use as chemical-based solutions that contain bleach or alkaline can cause the wool to shrink.
The homemade mixture of vinegar and dish soap is excellent for wool carpets as it doesn’t contain these chemicals that can harm the wool fibers.
As with other types of carpet, taking care of the coffee stain as soon as possible is extremely important for wool carpeting. The more you can soak up right away, the better.
You can follow the same steps as you would to clean the coffee spill out of other carpets to clean spills from wool carpets. And again, remember to blot and dab—don’t rub!
Concerned about other coffee stains? Check out our full guide to Coffee Stain Removal (15 Methods)
Cleaning Coffee Out of Car Carpet
People live busy lives, meaning quite often, you take your cup of joe on the road, leaving your car carpets and upholstery vulnerable to stains. As most coffee spills most likely happen while you are driving, it isn’t always safe or plausible to pull over and take care of the stain right away.
But even if you have to go back and care for the spill after it’s dried, you can use the same methods as you would on your household carpet to clean the coffee from your car carpet and upholstery:
- Blot it up. If the stain is fresh, blot up as much as possible with a clean cloth or paper towels. If the stain has dried, you will want to re-wet the spill with some warm water and then blot as much as you can.
- Clean it up. The same vinegar and dish soap mixture that works great on indoor carpets also works well on car carpets and upholstery. Using a clean cloth, dab at the stain with the cleaning mixture (1 tbsp of vinegar, 1 tbsp of dish soap, and 2 cups of warm water) until the stain is gone.
- Rinse and dry. Dab at the area with cold water to “rinse” and let the area air dry.
Cleaning coffee from your carpets doesn’t have to be a complicated ordeal. With a few household items, coffee stains on your carpet can be a thing of the past. The next time you spill your cup of coffee, just grab your towels and cleaning solution, and you can tackle that stain with confidence.
- About the Author
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Dena Haines is a co-founder and blogger on EnjoyJava! – and is working to make it the best coffee blog in the world. She also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at Click Like This. Dena is partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she started with her husband, Bryan.