How To Remove Coffee Stains
From Carpet


Whether you prefer coffee black or with cream and sugar, coffee stains on your carpet can be successfully removed.

Removing stains from coffee on carpet hinges on several variables.

  • Is the carpet fiber natural or synthetic?
  • Is the spilled coffee wet (fresh) or dry?
  • Is the stain from black coffee only or is it compounded by cream and or sugar?
  • Is the spilled coffee "brewed" or "instant"?

Carpet stains from coffee are brown and darken with heat and age. Coffee contains tannin, oils and fatty acids. The stain may contain sugar, milk or cream and food dye (if "instant" coffee). Black coffee is on the acidic side of the pH scale (pH 5).

Procedures to remove freshly spilled coffee

  1. Time is of the essence! Immediately blot up as much of the spill as possible. The longer a stain sets the more stubborn it becomes to remove. Use a clean white bleach-free cloth to remove a stain. The color from a colored cloth could transfer to the fabric or surface you are cleaning.
  2. Apply an alkaline cleaning solution (pH 9-10) and blot.

    Always pretest any stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the carpet. Apply a few drops to each color in the carpet test area. Press a clean, white cloth on the wet area for approximately 30 seconds. Check both the towel and the carpet for color transfer, color change or any other damage. Repeat same procedure with another stain remover if you notice any change.
  3. Do not scrub the area. Scrubbing can distort the pile and harm the fibers. Scrubbing can result in making the stain set into the carpet or rug.

    Work from the edges of the coffee stain to the center to prevent the stain from spreading. Continue as long as the stain is getting transferred onto the towel. Apply more solution to a fresh area on the towel and repeat the process as long as the stain is being removed. Patience is a virtue as far as this step is concerned!

  4. Apply an acid spotting solution (pH 2-3) (a solution of 2 ounces acetic acid mixed with 32 ounces of hot water) to any remaining stain and blot.
  5. If there is milk or cream in the spilled coffee, apply an Enzyme Digester to the stain. Allow recommended dwell time then blot.
  6. Rinse all spotting agents from the carpet, as these can create their own stains if left in the fabric.

    Blot with dry clean bleach-free cloth to remove and dry any moisture from the rinsing procedure. When most of the moisture is removed, you may use clean, dry towels weighed down by flat, heavy objects like a book or brick on the damp area to absorb any remaining moisture. This helps prevent wicking of any deep staining material not removed that will move to the surface as the carpet dries.

Generally, old coffee stains are more difficult to remove than fresh coffee. It can't always be known if the spilled coffee contains milk, sugar, food dyes or what stain removal attempt was made.

Procedures to remove old and dried coffee stains

  1. Apply an alkaline cleaning solution liberally and blot. Always pretest any stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the carpet. Apply a few drops to each color in the carpet test area. Press a clean, white cloth on the wet area for approximately 30 seconds. Check both the towel and the carpet for color transfer, color change or any other damage. Repeat same procedure with another stain remover if you notice any change.

    Do not scrub the area. Scrubbing can distort the pile and harm the fibers. Scrubbing can result in making the stain set into the carpet or rug.

    Work from the edges of the coffee stain to the center to prevent the stain from spreading. Continue as long as the stain is getting transferred onto the towel. Apply more solution to a fresh area on the towel and repeat the process as long as the stain is being removed. Patience is a virtue as far as this step is concerned!
  2. Apply an acid spotting solution ( a solution of 2 ounces acetic acid mixed with 32 ounces of hot water) to any remaining stain and blot.
  3. If there is milk or cream in the spilled coffee, apply an enzyme digester to the stain. Allow recommended dwell time then blot.
  4. If the coffee stain is still visible, an oxidizing or a reducing bleach may be utilized to remove the coffee stain.

Oxidizing bleaches work best on natural (organic) stains and reducing bleaches work best on synthetic (man-made) stains, however, oxidizers can be used on synthetic stains and reducing agents can be used on natural stains.

Oxidizers work faster when an alkaline is added. Reducing bleaches work faster when an acid such as acetic acid or heat is added.

  • Always follow the bleach manufacturer's directions for use.
  • Always pre-test in an inconspicious area or on a carpet sample before using on the coffee stain.
  • Use the minimum amount of chemical necessary. Apply solution using a sponge, cloth, or brush.
  • Always work from the outside toward the stain center.
  • When desired results are acheived, flush the stained area thoroughly

Caution needs to be exercised when using oxidizers or reducing agents on natural (wool, silk, & cotton) fibers and nylon fibers due to the possibility of fiber damage and or color loss.

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