How to Clean Coffee Stains

Jennifer L. Betts
Coffee spill

For many, coffee is a necessity of life. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that coffee stains can be found on multiple surfaces and fabrics. Don't let that coffee stain on your shirt ruin your day. Instead, grab some cleaners and clean that coffee stain with gusto.

Getting Coffee Stains Out of Clothing

Spilling coffee on your favorite shirt might seem like the end of the world, but rest assured it's not. You can save your clothing by acting fast. Grab some paper towel, a stain removing pen or some baking soda and then:

  1. Use the paper towel to blot up the stain.
  2. Run the fabric under cold water for about 5 minutes to remove as much of the stain as you can.
  3. Apply the stain removing pen or baking soda and let it sit for about 10-20 minutes.
  4. Launder as usual.
  5. Repeat if the stain is stubborn.
Businessman spilling coffee on shirt

Treating Set-In Coffee Stains on Clothes

You can treat set-in coffee stains on clothes by using vinegar followed by baking soda.

  1. Using a cloth, blot the area with vinegar. Get the area good and saturated.
  2. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda over the area.
  3. Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse and repeat as needed.

If vinegar and baking soda don't work, you might try blotting the area with rubbing alcohol.

Removing Coffee Stains From Carpet

Coffee stains on carpet can and do happen. Whether you tripped over a child's toy during your morning reprieve or were just in a hurry to get out the door, there are a few homemade carpet cleaners that you can try to pull that stain out of your carpet. What you'll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Peroxide
  • Iron
  • Cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • Paper towels
  • Vacuum

Baking Soda and Vinegar Power Pack

Baking soda and vinegar can get rid of just about any stain including fresh and set-in stains on carpet. To remove the coffee stain, you'll:

  1. If a fresh spill, blot up as much of the liquid as you can with a paper towel.
  2. Fill a spray bottle with straight white vinegar.
  3. Coat the stain generously.
  4. Sprinkle on some baking soda.
  5. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Vacuum up the baking soda.
  7. Repeat until the stain is completely gone.
Coffee Spilling from Cup onto Carpet

Peroxide and Iron

For this one, you are going to need to use a bit of caution and make sure that your towel is very wet. You'll also want to use a medium iron setting, so you don't melt your carpet. Now, follow these carpet cleaning instructions:

  1. Blot the stain.
  2. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and peroxide.
  3. Spray the stain.
  4. Wet a towel and lay it over the stain.
  5. Place a heated iron on the towel for 15-20 seconds.
  6. Remove the heat and lift the towel and check the stain.
  7. Repeat steps 2-5 until the stain is gone.

For darker carpets, you'll want to test the peroxide on a discrete area to ensure it won't harm the color or fibers.

Getting Coffee Stains Off Stainless Steel

Coffee stains in your favorite thermos or kettle can be unsightly. But removing them is pretty simple as long as you have some baking soda and peroxide laying round.

  1. Pour ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide in your thermos or stainless-steel kettle.
  2. Add about 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
  3. Swirl the concoction around letting it coat all the surfaces for a minute or two.
  4. Let the peroxide and baking soda sit for about 20 minutes.
  5. Rinse with hot water.
  6. Repeat for particularly thick or stubborn stains.

This method can also work great for removing coffee stains from mugs.

Stainless steel coffee pots

Cleaning Coffee Stains From Fabric Furniture

You're just sitting around minding your own business and phone rings. In your frenzy, you spill your coffee all over the arm of your couch. Before the stain sets, you'll need:

  • Dish soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean towel

Get Cleaning

With your stain fighting tools in hand, you are ready to march into the great coffee war. Simply follow these steps to avoid getting a new throw pillow for stain coverage:

  1. Combine a cup of water and tsp of dish soap in a spray bottle.
  2. Generously coat the stain.
  3. Use the towel to blot the stain until it starts to lighten.
  4. Keep spraying and blotting until the stain is gone.

If the soapy water doesn't work, you might try sprinkling some baking soda on the stain and letting it sit until it dries. You can then vacuum or brush the baking soda off.

coffee cup on sofa

Wiping Coffee Stains Out of Wood

You might not think that you have to worry about coffee stains on wood, but if you accidently spilled your coffee on your wooden office chair and didn't realize it, then it can seep right into the grain. If you don't want your clients to see that unsightly brown mess, you're going to need a few supplies.

  • Vinegar
  • Wood polish
  • Cloth
  • Paper towel
  • Buffer cloth

Steps for Coffee Free Wood

With your tools in hand and maybe some rubber gloves, it is time to make sure you boss never finds out about your clumsy coffee mishap. Simply follow a few steps to have your wood shining again.

  1. If the coffee stain is fresh, use a paper towel to clean it up.
  2. Add about a tbsp of vinegar to the stain and let is set for a minute or two.
  3. Wipe it up.
  4. Let the area sit until it is completely dry.
  5. Add a tsp of wood wax to a clean cloth.
  6. Spread the wax in a circular motion.
  7. Allow the wax to dry completely.
  8. Buff with the cloth.
  9. Celebrate your victory.
Cup of coffee and coffee ring on table

Coffee Stains on Leather

Did you drop coffee on your leather purse or maybe spill it on your shoes? Don't panic. Blot up as much of the liquid as you can and grab:

Freeing That Stain

With your soap and vinegar, it is time to gently remove that coffee stain. Remember, never to soak leather as this will make the problem worse. To clean your spill, you'll follow these steps.

  1. After blotting up the warm liquid, you'll want to apply a little water and soap to a towel.
  2. Gently rub the stain following the grain of the leather.
  3. Rinse clean with a damp cloth.
  4. If the stain is still holding fast, mix ½ cup of vinegar with a cup of warm water.
  5. Apply the mixture to a fresh cloth.
  6. After testing an hidden area to make sure the vinegar doesn't harm the leather, rub the stain following the grain.
  7. Use a dry cloth, soak up any excess moisture and buff the leather.

Tips for Cleaning Up Coffee

The dark color and texture of coffee can make it a particularly hard spill to clean up, especially if it has a chance to set. Keep a few of these tips in mind when it comes to coffee spills.

  • The quicker it is cleaned up the better. Getting coffee up that hasn't set-in is much easier than trying to tackle a set-in stain.
  • Vinegar is a powerful tool that can usually combat coffee stains on most materials in a pinch.
  • Run the stain under cold water before using stain fighting methods to make your job a lot easier.
  • Sprinkle baking soda or baby powder on the stain before it sets.
  • Try working a beat egg yolk into coffee stains that have set in. This can make them come up a lot easier.

Removing Coffee

Coffee stains can and will happen. Knowing how to clean them up and what to have on hand can take a big crisis to a little bump in the road. Now go have a nice warm cup of Joe, but try not to spill it.

How to Clean Coffee Stains