How to Get Coffee Stains Out of Carpet

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Don't cry over spilled coffee! Prevent a permanent stain on your carpet with these easy steps.

At some point in your life, it is inevitable that you (or someone else) will spill coffee on your carpet. After all, the majority of us fill our cups to the brim with that hot, dark, caffeinated deliciousness! Luckily, learning how to remove coffee stains from carpet is incredibly easy.

While your first instinct might be to refresh your cup then deal with the spill, it’s important to act quickly, because the longer you delay, the higher your chances of it turning into a permanent stain. There are a few different methods you can use to remove a coffee stain, depending on what you have on hand. If you tend to spill more than just your coffee, you’ll also want to know these tips on how to remove every type of stain.

What you will need:

Depending on the method you choose, there are a few products you can use to treat a coffee stain on your carpet:

  • Dawn Ultra Original Dish Soap
  • Warm water
  • White microfiber cloth

How to remove fresh coffee stains

  1. Always start by blotting the stain with a rag, removing as much of the liquid as you possibly can.
  2. Make a detergent solution: Mix one-fourth (1/4) teaspoon of a liquid dishwashing detergent per one cup of lukewarm water. Do not use laundry detergents, as they may contain optical brighteners (fluorescent dyes) that dye the fiber. Alternatively, avoid automatic dishwashing detergents, as they may contain a bleaching agent. A great option? Original Dawn. Here are some other homemade carpet stain removers guaranteed to banish stains.
  3. Pretest solution: No matter the solution you are using, always pretest it on a small spot of your carpet to make sure it doesn’t remove the color of your carpet or damage it in any way. “When cleaning carpet or upholstery for the first time, we always recommend testing an inconspicuous area before cleaning fully,” suggests Gwen Whiting, co-founder of The Laundress.
  4. Apply a small amount of the detergent solution to a white microfiber cloth, Do not rub it in. Instead, work gently, starting from the edges of the spill and working your way to the center to prevent spreading the liquid. Allow the solution to set on the spill for a few moments.
  5. Blot the area with a dry cloth. If the stain appears to be fading and transferring to the cloth, repeat the step until the stain is fully removed. Note that it may take several tries to fully remove the coffee stain so be patient. If the stain remains even after several attempts, try one of the alternative solutions listed below.

Rinse with lukewarm tap water to rinse the cleaning solutions from the fiber. “Failure to completely rinse the solutions from the fiber may cause accelerated soiling,” explains The Carpet and Rug Institute. (CRI). After all the residue is removed, blot and dry the area completely.

How to remove coffee stains with other solutions

Vinegar

The acid in white vinegar can help clean up a coffee spill on your carpet. Per the CRI, mix one cup of white vinegar to two cups of water. In this household use for vinegar, you’ll want to follow the same steps above, applying the solution, waiting a few minutes, blotting, repeating, and then rinsing.

Hydrogen peroxide

If you have a white or light carpet, you can make a hydrogen peroxide solution to remove a coffee stain from your carpet. Mix 1 tablespoon of 3% H2O2 hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons of warm (not hot) water. You would use this the same way as your dish soap solution. You should definitely spot test the solution first, as it may bleach your carpet.

Baking soda

Mix three-parts-water with one-part baking soda to the coffee spill on the carpet. Let it dry then vacuum up. If the stain is still there, repeat as necessary.

Stain removers

Using a product like The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar, wet it and apply it directly to the stain. Work it into the fabric using a brush. Let sit for five minutes. Then, wet a microfiber towel with warm water and blot the area—be careful to completely remove all suds to avoid leaving a watermark. Continue to repeat this process until the coffee stain is no longer visible. Note that this process cannot be used for carpets made of coir, sisal, or other similar natural fibers as they tend to mildew and it may leave permanent watermarks.

how to get coffee stains out of carpetAlaina DiGiacomo/rd.comHow to get old coffee stains out of carpet

If your coffee spill occurred in the past, and you want to remove an old, dry coffee stain from your carpet, there are a few initial actions to take:

  1. If the coffee stains are semi-solid—for example, if the spilled coffee included creamer—gently scrape the area with a rounded spoon. Once the solids are broken up, vacuum the area.
  2. Dampen the stain with warm water to loosen the dried coffee. Make sure not to pat it, not rub it, as that could expand the stain. Then, try the steps above in the section on how to remove fresh coffee stains.

When to stop cleaning

Whiting warns that there is a point when continuing to clean a spot may be doing more damage than good. If the water or product leaves a mark or creates discoloration, the treated area is cleaner and brighter than the rest of the fabric, or the fabric ripples or wrinkles, stop while you are ahead. “If the item requires further cleaning, have a professional clean the item in-home,” she urges.

Anyone who enjoys the occasional glass of vino will also want to know how to remove red wine stains.

Sources:

Leah Groth
Leah is a Philadelphia-based writer, editor, mother and product junkie. Her obsessions include old houses, home design, fashion, beauty, books and anything that makes her life — which includes working full-time and taking care of two "spirited" children and a Vizsla puppy — a little bit easier. Her work has appeared on a variety of publications and websites, including Glamour, Prevention, Business Insider, Livestrong, Mindbodygreen, Fatherly, Scary Mommy, Wonderwall and Cosmopolitan.