How To Remove Coffee Stains from Carpet

Coffee stains on carpet are easiest to remove if you get to them quickly. Photo Credit: creacart / Getty Images

The same principles of stain removal for clothing can apply to your carpet. If you get to a stain early, you have a much better chance of completely removing it from the carpet. And the earlier you treat a stain, the easier it will be and the less complicated methods you'll need to attempt.

Removing Fresh Coffee Stains

Remember to always work from the outside of the coffee stain to the middle. Coffee stains are notorious for spreading as you treat them, and this method will help.

It's also important not to scrub the carpet.  This damages the fibers and can even pull pieces of the carpet out. Instead, use a blotting or pressing motion without any scrubbing.

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 onto the cloth until no more of the coffee transfers onto it. Pour a small amount of cold water onto the coffee stain. Use a new clean white cloth and continue to blot up all of the liquid. You might need to repeat this process at least twice depending on the type of coffee and how much 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 your cloth.

As a final step, use your favorite carpet stain remover. Be sure to follow the instructions thoroughly. Don't over-spray the cleaner since cleaner residue in your carpet can actually attract more dirt in the long run.

  Follow the directions to allow the carpet to fully dry.

Removing Old Coffee Stains From Carpet

The steps to remove an old coffee stain are very similar, but be aware that it may take a lot of repeated effort. It's also important to lightly wet the stained area before beginning to treat the stain. Repeat all the steps for removing fresh coffee stains above until you can't see any progress.

Old coffee stains may need a little extra help to be fully removed.  If your carpet is wool or a wool blend, or if you are unsure of the type, try 3 drops of a mild dish soap mixed in a cup of water.  Sponge this solution onto the carpet and continue to blot it away alternating between a wet and dry cloth.  If you know your carpet is not a wool or wool blend, you can try mixing a tablespoon of ammonia with a cup of water.  Test this solution in a hidden spot on your carpet to make sure it doesn't damage the color. Gently blot the ammonia solution onto the carpet and wait 3-5 minutes.  Using another towel 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 fully dry.

What You Need to Remove Coffee Stains

  • Clean white cloths or towels
  • Cold water
  • Carpet stain remover
  • dish soap
  • ammonia (optional for non-wool or wool blend carpets)

What To Do If Coffee Stains Reappear?

If a coffee stain reappears, it often means that that the original stain soaked much more deeply than you had originally thought. or that not enough liquid was blotted out of the carpet during the stain removal process.  That liquid finds its way to the surface, often creating a lighter ring of the stain.

  Try repeating your stain removal methods again and fully drying the carpet. You can put a towel on the wet area with something heavy on top of it to force up as much liquid as you can.  Then try using a fan to blow across the wet area of the carpet to allow it to dry more quickly.

What About Coffee and Cream Stains?

If you love cream in your coffee and there has been a spill, 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 from in the carpet.  Be sure to rinse the carpet and blot it dry before moving on to any other stain removal methods.

Different Types of Carpet and Coffee Stains

The longer the carpet fiber, the more difficult the stain removal can be.

  For longer carpet fibers, be sure to blot completely and watch the amount of liquid you put into the carpet closely.  Use a fan to help fully dry the carpet. For carpets with wool, wool blend or other natural fibers, ammonia and some stain removers can actually take out the color or damage the fibers.  Check the carpet manufacturer's recommendations and/or test any treatments in hidden areas before applying them to the stained area.