How to Clean Coffee on your Rug

How to Clean Coffee on your RugOf all the liquids you could spill, coffee is probably one of the worst. It has a deep, rich color, meaning it’s very likely to stain quickly. On top of that, it’s typically hot, making cleaning difficult, and drinking a fresh cup of coffee is the first thing many of us tend to do in the mornings. All of these factors combine to create a spill that seems like the absolute worst to clean up—luckily, it’s not as bad as it seems.

Hi! My name is Katie, and I have a lot of experience in spot cleaning. Having rugs and furniture with two dogs and two kids around means I have to clean many messes in my daily life, which has allowed me to learn and practice many of the spot-cleaning tips and tricks I share here on this blog. Today, we’re tackling coffee stains and how to eliminate them from your rug. 

When you spill anything, coffee included, the first steps are to stay calm and act quickly. The faster you clean up the spill, the less likely it is to leave a stain. However, before I list the materials you’ll need to gather to clean this spill, I need to make one thing clear: these steps are for cleaning regular coffee. The steps for cleaning decaffeinated coffee will be in another blog post, so keep your eyes open for that. With that out of the way, let’s look over the material list.

Gather the Materials

To remove coffee spills from your carpets, you’ll need the following items:

  • A few white towels or washcloths
  • Water (preferably hot)
  • White vinegar
  • Ecoclean (or your preferred) spot cleaner
  • Access to cold water

Start Cleaning the Spill

Take one of your white towels or washcloths and blot up the spilled coffee. To blot, place your towel on top of the spill, apply a slight amount of pressure, and then remove the towel from the stain. Do this instead of scrubbing or wiping, as both of those will spread the spill to more areas on the carpet, creating a bigger mess you’ll have to deal with.

Once the liquid coffee has been blotted up, take some hot water and splash that on top of where the coffee was spilled. We’re talking about spilling hot coffee today, so we’ll use hot water, but make sure the water you splash is the same temperature as your spilled coffee. So, for room-temperature coffee, use room-temperature water, and so on. 

After the water has been splashed onto the spill site, blot up any excess before focusing heavily on blotting the water and coffee that have soaked into the carpet or rug. Apply pressure either by pressing hard with your hand or by standing on your towel to ensure as much liquid wicks up into the towel as possible. 

After the water has been wicked up, you may also want to mix a small amount of vinegar in with your water to dilute it, then splash some of this mixture onto the coffee stain as well. Both coffee and vinegar are acidic, so using vinegar to clean up this mess will provide great results. Plus, the vinegar will help eliminate any smells that may try to linger once the mess is cleaned. 

If you need to work the diluted vinegar into the rug a bit, blot the spot with a cleaning brush (see the video below for a visual example), avoid scrubbing for the reasons mentioned above, and blot up the liquid once again.

If the stain is not completely removed visibly at this point, or you can still smell it in the carpet, then you should spray a small amount of either my EcoCleaner or your preferred carpet cleaner onto the spot. You may want to do this even if you think you’ve got it all, just to remove any residue the stain or the vinegar may have left behind. Then, blot the spot once again. 

I personally recommend rinsing your towel with cold water and blotting the spot with it to ensure you’ve removed the cleaner from the carpet. Failing to remove the cleaner from the carpet completely will allow dirt, dust, and other unwanted debris to cling to the carpet fibers, making your carpet dirtier quicker and making future cleaning and spot treatments more difficult.

Watch the Process

If you’d like a visual example of how this process is done, here is a video of me cleaning spilled coffee from my rug:

Removing Leftovers

If you followed this process but the stain remained, read and follow the instructions on your preferred carpet cleaner of choice. Should the stain remain after this, then you may need to take your rug to be professionally cleaned or schedule an appointment with a professional if the affected carpet is installed.

Cleaning While You’re Busy

Sometimes, accidents occur while you’re too busy to stop and fully clean it. If this happens, I recommend cleaning up the excess and then splashing hot water on the stain. Next, place a towel over the spot, then cover this towel with an impermeable object such as a cookie sheet. Then put something heavy, such as a stack of books, on the cookie sheet. 

If you can, also place a towel underneath the rug where the spill occurred. However, this isn’t necessary. Now, just leave it for a while, preferably twenty-four hours, then return and follow the rest of the steps outlined above. 

The stain and water should have wicked up into the towel, leaving you with a clean, dry carpet. Following the rest of the steps will ensure you’ve completely cleaned up the mess and haven’t left any residue behind.


Happy Spotting!