How to Remove Coffee Stains From Carpet

spilled coffee on carpet

 

AndreyPopov / Getty Images

The basic principles of stain removal that you use for clothing also usually work on carpet, and this is the case with coffee stains. It's best if you can act quickly and blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towels. The idea is to remove as much of the coffee liquid as possible before you attack the stain. If you neglect the stain for a while, or you discover an old coffee stain, don't fret. You should be able to get rid of the discoloration, but it might take a few attempts. The good news is, you're not under time pressure, so you can fuel up on a fresh cup of coffee to get some energy for tackling the carpet.

Stain type Plant-based, protein-based (with cream)
Detergent type Carpet stain remover
Water temperature Cold

Project Metrics

  • Working Time: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Total Time: Several hours

Before You Begin

Be prepared for a little extra work if you have shag carpet. The longer the carpet fiber, the more difficult the stain removal can be. For longer fibers, be sure to blot completely and limit the amount of liquid you put into the carpet. Using a fan can help to dry the carpet fully.

Test any cleaning solution or stain remover on a hidden spot on your carpet to make sure it doesn't damage the color. For carpets with wool, wool blend, or other natural fibers, ammonia and some stain removers can take out the color or damage the fibers. You can also ask carpet manufacturers for recommendations.

What You'll Need

Supplies

  • Carpet stain remover

Tools

  • Clean white cloths or towels
  • Vacuum
  • Heavy weight (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Blot Up the Coffee

    Use a clean white cloth to blot up as much of the coffee as possible. Keep pressing new clean sections of the cloth onto the stain until no more of the coffee transfers to the cloth. Always work from the outside of the coffee stain to the middle, to prevent spreading the stain. It's also important not to scrub the carpet, which can damage the fibers; use a blotting or pressing motion without any scrubbing.

  2. Add Cold Water

    Pour a small amount of cold water onto the coffee stain. Use a new clean white cloth to blot up all of the liquid. You might need to repeat this process at least twice, depending on how much coffee landed on the carpet. Don't over-saturate the carpet. You are trying to dilute the coffee but still be able to soak it up with the cloth.

  3. Apply Stain Remover

    Apply your favorite carpet stain remover, following the product directions. Be careful not to apply too much stain remover, since its residue in your carpet can attract more dirt in the long run. Let the carpet dry fully, then vacuum the carpet to fluff the fibers.

  4. Watch for Reappearance

Keep an eye on the affected area for a while to see if the stain reappears. This usually means that the original stain soaked in more deeply than it originally seemed to, or that not enough liquid was blotted out of the carpet during the stain removal process. The liquid finds its way to the surface and forms a ring around the stained area. Repeat the stain removal steps, laying a towel on the wet area, and placing a heavy weight on top to force up as much liquid as possible.

Tip

If you've spilled coffee with cream, you may need to use an enzymatic carpet cleaner to break down the protein in the stain. Try using a pet carpet stain remover. These are the usually the best at breaking down protein-based stains and will prevent unpleasant odors in the carpet. Be sure to rinse the carpet and blot it dry before moving on to any other stain removal methods.

Tips for removing coffee stains from carpet
Ashley Nicole DeLeon / The Spruce

If the stain is persistent, or you discover an old dried coffee stain, first wet the stain with a bit of water. If you know your carpet is not a wool or wool blend, you can try mixing one tablespoon of ammonia with one cup of water. Gently blot the ammonia solution onto the carpet, and wait three to five minutes. Then, alternate blotting with water and blotting with a dry towel to rinse and dry the carpet. Finish by blotting with a dry towel and allowing the carpet to dry fully.

If your carpet is wool or a wool blend, or if you are unsure of the type, mix three drops of a mild dish soap with one cup of water. Sponge this solution onto the carpet, then alternate blotting with a water and a dry cloth. Let the carpet dry.