Stain Busters: How to get coffee stains out of carpet.

Last Updated: March 23, 2021

Coffee stains can be difficult to lift out of carpet, but our step-by-step guide outlines the best natural cleaning products and tips for the job.

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Lead image by: Alina Hvostikova

Aside from blood stains and other bodily fluids, we daresay coffee stains are definitely second runner up when it comes to most annoying and difficult to remove. This is especially true when trying to get coffee stains out of your carpet.

Maybe it’s just a quirk of carpeting, but sometimes it seems like the fabric tricks you. You can scrub and scrub and feel vindicated as you watch the stain disappear—only to stare with dismay as it reappears once the carpeting is dry!

Unfortunately, there’s no way around this dance. Sometimes you just have to scrub your heart out, let it dry a bit, and then scrub some more. Eventually you will see success, especially if you follow our tips outlined below.

Are coffee stains permanent?

Person holding a natural stain remover working on a coffee stain in the carpet.

Sometimes when you get a dark stain on a beautiful carpet, it can feel like it has been ruined completely. On the contrary, we propose to you that this is simply not the case with coffee stains. Yes, they may take some time to clean, require a little extra elbow grease, and yes, it may also necessitate quick action… but we are extremely confident that you can indeed get that monstrous stain out of your carpet completely.

How do you get coffee out of carpet?

Person gently blotting their carpet to remove a coffee stain

The first and most important step in getting coffee out of carpet is to clean it right away. The longer you wait, the more time it will have to absorb into the carpet fibers. That said, there are many ways of removing coffee stains, and different ones can be used depending on the type of coffee and the severity and time period of the stain.

Method 1 — For fresh stains

You will need:

Step 1:

Blot out as much of the moisture as possible using a paper towel or dish cloth. Avoid rubbing and scrubbing.

Step 2:

Blot until no moisture transfers to the paper towel by simply pressing down.

Step 3:

Pour some cold water on the stained area to dilute the coffee. Be sure not to saturate the stained area.

Step 4:

Blot the stain again and soak up as much water as possible.

Step 5:

Apply the carpet stain remover, following the instructions on the product bottle.

Step 6:

Rinse with cold water and blot dry after making sure the cleaner is completely removed.

Step 7:

Dry the carpet with the help of a fan, or a paper towel. Vacuum to restore the fluffy texture.

Method 2 — For coffee containing cream or sugar

You will need:

Step 1:

Blot out as much of the coffee as possible using a paper towel or kitchen towel to absorb moisture.

Step 2:

Dilute the stain with clean, cold water. This will loosen the stain and make it easier to remove.

Step 3:

Again, using a paper or kitchen towel, blot out as much of the moisture as possible. Repeat this step as needed.

Step 4:

Apply an enzyme-based stain remover on the affected area, following the manufacturer's instructions. Enzyme cleaners are designed to break down the protein content. As cream contains protein, this cleaner works efficiently on it. Pet stain removers are the best enzyme-based cleaners in the market.

Step 5:

Let the enzyme cleaner sit for a few minutes and then rinse.

Step 6:

Again, pour clean water on the stain and use a paper or kitchen towel to blot out the moisture.

Step 7:

Repeat until all the product is gone and the carpet is mostly dry.

Step 8:

Dry the carpet completely to avoid mold and mildew, using a paper towel or fan.

How do I get coffee stains out of different types of carpets?

Car carpet

For fresh stains on the car carpet, a wet cloth may be enough to wash them out. For harsher stains, use a mixture of dish soap and water to remove them. Dampen a kitchen towel with this solution and blot the stained area, and repeat this until it’s gone.

Dark carpet

You can use the above mentioned cleaning methods to also clean coffee stains on dark carpets!

Light carpet

For light-colored carpets, make a solution of white vinegar, liquid dish soap, and water. Using a white cloth, dampen the stained area with this cleaning solution. Rinse gently until the stain disappears. Clean with a fresh, water-dampened cloth and blot dry with another clean towel. Lastly, sprinkle baking soda on top to absorb any excess moisture. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes, then vacuum it off.

How do you remove old coffee stains?

Coffee beans watercolor illustration

Granted, getting fresh coffee stains out of your carpeting tends to be much easier than removing aged ones. That just means that for coffee stains that are old and dried, you may need to do an extra step or two to get them out. You can handle that!

Our best advice is to make sure you dampen the stained area with water to soften and loosen the coffee. If the dried coffee stain is particularly severe, you can also sprinkle some salt on the damp area and let it sit for a while. The salt helps draw out the moisture from the carpet and as it does that, it pulls the coffee pigments out along with it.

Best natural stain removing products

Woman cutting fresh lemons for her natural cleaning products

  • Baking soda:
  • Baking soda is an excellent cleaner and works efficiently to remove coffee stains on carpets. It absorbs excess moisture and ensures the stain does not settle into the fibers.

  • Lemon / vinegar:
  • You can make a solution of vinegar and dish soap with water for the easiest DIY cleaning solution on the planet. For old and stubborn coffee stains, you may also mix some lemon juice with a commercial cleaner for quick removal.

  • Salt:
  • This mineral has many dehydrating properties. That means that when salt is sprinkled on fresh coffee stains, it lifts out water molecules along with the coffee, making it easier to remove the stain.

Remember, to get coffee stains out of your carpeting, you don’t need anything more than the right tools and the right cleaners to do the job, coupled with a healthy dose of determination to see it through to completion. Even if you have to clean the area multiple times, with every clean that stain will get lighter and lighter. Don’t give up and before you know it, your carpet will look as good as new!

Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to take on more coffee stains, shop Grove Collaborative's cleaning essentials for the cleaning tools to tackle the job.