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How to Remove Coffee Stains From Carpet

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In this post, I’ll show you EXACTLY how to remove coffee stains from carpet in two steps or less. 

The first step is to try to remove the coffee stain by cleaning the stained area with a spotter. A spotter is a cleaning agent that is used to lift a stain away from the carpet fibers. 

Sometimes the natural pigments in coffee (melanoidin pigments) can permanently attached to carpet fibers resulting in a permanent stain. When this happens, a stain removal method should be used to break down, decompose, or destroy, the melanoidin pigments that are permanently stuck in the carpet.

Professional carpet cleaners use stain removal methods all the time to remove many kinds permanent carpet stains. I'll show you exactly how we do it in step two of this article. 


- Step 1 - Spot Removal

- Step 2 - Set-In Coffee Stains

- Video Instructions

How to Remove Coffee Stains From Carpet

Step 1 - Remove Coffee Stains Using a Spotter

Step one is simple - clean the coffee (milk, cream, sugar, pumpkin spice, etc.) out of the carpet. The goal is to remove as much of the stain/contaminants as possible simply by cleaning the affected area.


This step is called spot removal and it can be done many different ways and with many different types of spotters. 

If your coffee spill is fresh, immediately use a white towel to absorb as much of the liquid coffee from the carpet as possible. This should be done before cleaning the stained area with a spotter. I recommend standing on the towel and using your whole body weight to try and absorb as much coffee as possible.


Option 1


Use a store bought spotter with a white cotton cloth to blot up and remove the coffee from the carpet.


Effectiveness: 3.5 / 5 stars.


These store bought spotters are inexpensive and work really well at loosening the coffee contaminants away from the carpet fibers. The drawbacks to this method are: 


1) The instructions generally don't require the spotter to be rinsed from the carpet after using. This can sometimes cause problems with re-soiling (soap residue attracting dirt) among other issues.


2) simply blotting the coffee spill with a cloth can tend to push more coffee deeper into the carpet backing or carpet underlay. This coffee that lies deep in the carpet could migrate to the surface during a future cleaning. 


1) White Cloths (USA, UK, CAN)

2) Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover (USA, UK, CAN), or

3) Spot Shot (USA, UK, CAN)


Option 2

Use my homemade spotter recipe (DIY Spotter) - it's highly effective, cheap, and easy to make. Check out this article to learn more about it: How to Remove Spots From Carpet Like a Professional Carpet Cleaner. I recommend using DIY Spotter with a mini wet/dry vacuum to extract the coffee contaminants from the carpet.


Effectiveness: 5 / 5 stars.

If a permanent brown stain remains in your carpet after completing step 1, proceed to step two to learn how to remove permanent (or set in) coffee stains from carpet!


Remove Set-In Coffee Stains From Carpet (Step-By-Step Guide)


After completing step one, you may be left with a permanent brown stain that looks something like this: 


Set-In Coffee Stain In Carpet


If we could zoom into this stain to a microscopic level, we would see millions of tiny coffee dye molecules (melanoidin pigments) that have become welded to the outer surface of the carpet. 

This coffee stain could be cleaned with a spotter 100 times and these melanoidin pigments will never let go of the carpet fibers. 

Instead of removing the melanoidin pigments from the carpet, we are going to use an electrochemical reaction to break them down and destroy them. 

The main ingredient for this reaction is 6% salon grade hydrogen peroxide (also know as 20 volume clear developer). 

This stain removal method is color safe so it is safe to use on colored carpet. Hydrogen peroxide is strong enough to break down melanoidin pigments from coffee but it is not strong enough to break down the synthetic dyes that carpet manufacturers use to dye carpet. 


1) 6% Hydrogen Peroxide / 20 Volume Clear Developer (USA, UK, CAN)

2) Household Ammonia Cleaner (USA, UK, CAN)

3) Spray Bottle (USA, UK, CAN)


How to Remove Set-In Coffee Stains From Carpet - Step 1

Step 1 - Ensure the stained area is completely dry before you begin. If the affected area is damp after doing step 1, wait until the carpet completely dries prior to starting this next step. 


How to Remove Set-In Coffee Stains From Carpet - Step 2

Step 2 - Spray 6% hydrogen peroxide liberally over the stained area. The carpet does not have to be soaked but all of the stained carpet fibers should be coated in hydrogen peroxide.  


How to Remove Set-In Coffee Stains From Carpet - Step 3

Step 3 - Next apply a few sprays of household ammonia cleaner. Household ammonia cleaner is a high pH cleaning solution that accelerates the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. It essentially activates the hydrogen peroxide, allowing the peroxide to break down the brown melanoidin pigments. 


How to Remove Set-In Coffee Stains From Carpet - Step 4

Step 4 - Allow the hydrogen peroxide and household ammonia to sit in the carpet for at least 8 hours, or until the stain disappears. 

TIP: If you cover the stain with a piece of plastic wrap after adding the hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, it will speed up the stain removal process. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top, then put a heavy object, like a book, over the plastic wrap. This works because it prevents the ammonia from evaporating. 


How to Remove Set-In Coffee Stains From Carpet - Step 5

Step 5 - After 8 hours, the coffee stain will have disappeared completely, or will have lightened significantly. Once 8 hours has passed, the solution in the carpet will be mostly water, as the hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water and the ammonia evaporates.

If the coffee stain is still visible after 8 hours, absorb the remaining liquid from the carpet with a white towel, allow the carpet to fully dry, then repeat steps 2 to 5. The stain in this demo took 3 repetitions for the stain to fully come out of the carpet. 

How to Remove Set-In Coffee Stains From Carpet - Step 6

Step 6 - When the coffee stain is gone, use a white cloth to absorb the remaining solution from the carpet, and allow the carpet to dry. 

How to Remove Set-In Coffee Stains From Carpet - Step 7

Step 7 - After two to three repetitions of steps two to five, the coffee stain should be completely gone. Most people who comment on my coffee stain YouTube video note that it takes 3 repetitions. 

Remove Coffee Stains From Carpet Video Instructions



  • No Dilution Needed: Do not dilute the 6% hydrogen peroxide or household ammonia. Use them as-is for optimal results.

  • Handle Delicates with Care: Avoid using these methods on delicate materials such as wool, silk, or other natural fibers. For these items, it's best to consult a professional cleaner.

  • Test in an Inconspicuous Area: Always test any stain removal method in an inconspicuous area on your carpet before full application. This can be done on a scrap piece of carpet or in the corner of a closet.

  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Stain removal should not be conducted in direct sunlight. Close the blinds to prevent exposure to harsh sunlight when using hydrogen peroxide.

  • Ventilation for Ammonia: Household ammonia can have a strong odor. We recommend opening a window to enhance ventilation and reduce the odor. Rest assured, the ammonia odor dissipates completely as the carpet dries.

  • Safety First: During spot and stain removal, it's best to keep your children and pets in another room to ensure their safety.

  • Protect Your Skin: Always wear plastic gloves to shield your skin when handling hydrogen peroxide.

  • When Cleaning Area Rugs: While our methods effectively remove stains from carpet, we advise against using them on area rugs placed directly on hardwood floors. To prevent potential damage, we recommend relocating the rug to a plastic surface before cleaning.

  • Never Mix with Bleach: Never mix household ammonia cleaner with bleach. This combination produces a toxic gas called chloramine, which can lead to shortness of breath and chest pain.

  • Use at Your Own Risk: These methods are offered for informational purposes, and we recommend using them at your own risk.


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