How to Get Coffee Stains Out of Carpet: A Step-by-Step Guide

Gladys K. Connelly
As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a professional housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.
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Updated May 21, 2023

Get rid of the stain and the smell with these top tips

How to Get Coffee Stains Out of Carpet: A Step-by-Step Guide

It’s heartbreaking to see dark brown coffee spills in the middle of your favorite rug. And it happens all too easily with one clumsy moment while you’re holding a mug of coffee.

Luckily for you, we’ve got a few different cleaning hacks up our sleeve to help you stop the spills from ruining your carpet.

But you do need to act quickly! So grab the dish soap and white vinegar and discover how to clean coffee stains from carpet.

How to Remove Old Coffee Stains From Carpet

  • Dampen the coffee stain with warm water. Don’t soak it.
  • Mix ¼ teaspoon of liquid dish soap per cup of warm water. Blot this onto the stain with a cloth, but don’t rub!
  • Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of water and apply to the stain.
  • Leave it for a few minutes and blot.
  • Rinse the area with water and vacuum when dry.

How to Get Black Coffee Stains Out of Carpet

Are coffee stains permanent? No, but they are hard to remove!

First of all, they tend to happen at high heat, which bonds the protein content with the carpet fibers. Then you’ve got other things that are in your cup of coffee to contend with, like tannin.

And some types of coffee, like decaffeinated or organic, can have artificial colors added to them to produce a richer look. This poses another problem when removing coffee stains, as artificial colorings are often tough to get rid of.

With this in mind, our method to remove coffee stains uses a few different products. Each one plays a part in getting rid of the stain and restoring beautiful carpets.

For example, you need to use a detergent first to remove any substances that have been added. And an acid rinse makes light work of dissolving the natural tannins.

But we’ll explain more of this as we go.

And before you dive in and discover how to clean coffee stains, it’s worth checking out our top tips on removing carpet stains.

What You’ll Need

* : Either a standard one of a wet-dry version
** : Like this Diversey. Or you can try white vinegar
*** : Like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
*** : Like Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover

Now you know what kit you need, let’s get cracking with how to remove a black coffee stain.

1. Wet the Stained Area

Treating Carpet Stain with Squeeze Bottle

Damp is better than wet when it comes to carpet stain removal, so don’t soak the carpet. It’s better to drizzle a small amount of warm water straight onto the spill.

Blot the stain rather than rubbing, as this won’t spread the stain further.

Blot dry with your towel or a paper towel and vacuum when dry. You can skip this blotting step and use a wet-dry vacuum instead if you’ve got one.

You might find this is enough to remove the stain, in which case you can skip the next stage. Otherwise, move on to the second step.

2. Apply a Coffee Stain Remover

Janitor Cleaning Spilled Coffee On Carpet

There are two parts to a coffee stain remover, a quality detergent followed by something acidic for the tanning.


First up, make a detergent solution to help remove any added substances. To do this, mix ¼ of a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent per cup of lukewarm water.

Pop some of this onto your cloth and blot the coffee stain. Again, avoid rubbing so that the stain doesn’t spread any further.

If this isn’t getting rid of the stain then it’s more likely to be caused by tannin. So this is the time to move on to an acid-based detergent.

Acid-Based Stain Remover

An acid-based cleaning solution dissolves the tannin in set-in coffee stains. You want to use a tannin stain remover that contains acid, like this Diversey.

You could also try making your own version by mixing one cup of white vinegar with one cup of cold water. This method’s backed by the Carpet Rug Institute, so you know it’s a safe solution.

Whichever you choose, apply it to the spilled coffee stain using a dry cloth and leave it to work for a few minutes.

Finish by blotting to remove any excess moisture. You might have to repeat this step a few times until the stain disappears. Then, you’re ready to move to the next step.

3. Rinse and Vacuum

Professional Carpet Cleaning Service

You need to rinse the cleaning solution from the stain so you’re not left with residue from the liquid dish soap and other cleaners you’ve applied. It’s fine to use just cold water for this.

Place a stack of paper towel or a dry towel onto the stain and weigh it down. By applying pressure, it helps remove as much liquid as possible.

When it’s dry, run the vacuum around again to pick up any last bits of residue. But you must wait until the carpet’s dry or you could damage your appliance.

How to Get Coffee Stains With Cream and Sugar Out of Carpet

Coffee with sugar and cream is a whole different ball game to black coffee, so you need to treat the stain in a different way. A carpet cleaner with enzymes will yield the best results.

These types of carpet cleaners contain chemicals that are stuffed with bio-enzymes.

But what is a bio-enzyme?

These handy minibeasts are digesters that will eat the food or drink source that caused the stain in the first place. So they’re an ideal carpet stain remover for coffee spills with cream and sugar.


Be aware of how “Oxy” products, like the suggested enzyme product, can affect your carpet. They could alter the color of your carpet, so it’s best to test a small discreet patch first and see how it reacts.

If you don’t want to use an “Oxy” product, then try a dry solvent solution to remove coffee stains. Rubbing alcohol, like this one from Amazon, is a good trick for dried coffee or fresh coffee stains.

What You’ll Need

How to Do it

You can use these cleaning hacks on a dried or fresh coffee stain. But always do a spot test first to make sure it’s safe to use on your carpet.

Enzyme Cleaner

Dust cleaning equipment

  • Soak the stained area with the enzyme cleaner and leave it to sit for at least 30 minutes, but longer is better.
  • Use a clean cloth to blot the stain away. Leave it to dry for 24 hours.
  • Vacuum the carpet to fluff it up and restore the texture
Rubbing Alcohol

rubbing alcohol

If you’re not using an enzyme cleaner, you can use rubbing alcohol instead by following these steps.

  • Create a water barrier around the stain first to stop the alcohol from spreading away from the coffee spill.
  • Pop a little of the solvent onto your clean cloth and blot the coffee stain.
  • Once the set-in stain has all gone, rinse the solvent out using warm water. You need to make sure all the solvent is rinsed away so that you’re not left with a ring around the stain.
  • Blot or gently rub the carpet with a damp white cloth to remove as much of the rubbing alcohol as you can.
  • Let the carpet dry for around 24 hours
  • Vacuum the carpet to fluff it up and restore the texture

What to Do if The Stain Is Still Present

hydrogen peroxide solution in brown amber bottle

If you’re faced with a seriously tough stain that’s still there after all of this, it’s time to move on to your last resort. A bleaching agent.

By this stage, the coffee stain’s been sitting there for a while, so it’s best to use an oxidizer. They work best on organic stains, like coffee, and are tough on old stains.

Hydrogen peroxide is the top choice for an oxidizer.

You could always try a reducer, like an ammonia solution, but it probably won’t be as effective. It is quicker, though.

What You’ll Need

* : Like Proxi® Spray and Walk Away. Or try standard Hydrogen Peroxide 3%, like Amazon Brand

How to Do it

  • Check the instructions on the label before you start. For the Proxi, it’s simple to spray straight onto the coffee stain and leave it. There’s no need to blot. Vacuum after the correct amount of time.
  • If you’re making your own cleaning solution, mix one tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide with three tablespoons of lukewarm water. Then pour it into the spray bottle.
  • Spray the mixture onto the coffee spill and leave it to work for at least an hour.
  • Rinse and blot the carpet to remove all moisture

If you’re still seeing coffee despite trying our best tips, it’s time to call for professional help. They can use all kinds of equipment that you don’t have access to, after all.

Does Baking Soda Remove Coffee Stains From Carpet?

Woman hand pouring baking soda

No, it doesn’t. It won’t remove coffee, red wine, or any other liquids from your carpet.

Even though the internet is bursting with baking soda tips, it’s not a good idea to use it to get coffee stains from your light carpet. It doesn’t remove stains but it does cause damage.

It’s abrasive and loves everything to do with water. This combination means it sticks to carpet fibers, scratching and ruining them every time you walk over the surface.

If you sprinkle baking soda onto your carpet and add water, it dries back into a white powder that’s difficult to get rid of. It then appears as a white film on top of your carpet, making the surface look a different color.

If all of this didn’t convince you enough, then baking soda can also damage the backing of your carpet. The tiny particles work their way through the fibers and into the backing.

Since baking soda is alkaline, it breaks down the latex adhesive used to hold your carpet in place. This could lead to delamination, which is an expensive issue to fix.

So, in short, don’t use baking soda on coffee stains! Stick to the same steps mentioned above and your carpets will look fresh in a flash.

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