How to remove coffee stains in carpet
Coffee stains can be really stubborn and annoying, especially if you had that coffee spill on your carpet early in the day and don't see it until you come home in the evening. By that time, the stain has set in and now stubbornly refuses to come out. So, what do you do?
The reason coffee stains can be so deeply set is due to the tannins within, which are traditionally used for treating leather by being absorbed into the leather’s protein structure. Likewise, coffee stains can literally bond into your clothes’ fibres.
These are the same tannins that will stain your teeth with regular coffee drinking.
If it is a fresh stain and the tannins are still wet, it can be easily washed with cold water. However, if the tannins have set in, here is what to do:
Firstly, try to rehydrate the stain to get as much of the coffee out as possible. Most of the spill will still be soluble so lets get rid of the easy stuff first and leave just the tannin stain.
Once that is out the way, start with the most gentle method to essentially change the chemical structure of the tannins and discolor it. It can be very difficult to remove it entirely once it has bonded to the fibres of your carpet so this is the best alternative.
If you can’t see the coffee tannins anymore, it’s gone right?
So the first step is to match the pH of the stain and see if it properly discolors it to colorless. Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of white vinegar to make a solution with a pH of 4.5, the same pH as coffee. Lightly soak the stain with the solution, wait a minute then blot it out with a clean rag. Repeat if the stain lightens.
If the stain remains stubborn, add two tablespoons of laundry detergent and repeat the above method, letting the solution sit for no more than 1 minute. The detergent is to dissolve any oil-solution tannins that have fused with your carpet.
Now you may ask, if we are trying to discolor the tannins, why are we matching the pH. Should we not use Bleach or Peroxide-type solutions like Oxiclean that has a pH of 11 to 14? Yes, that is true. It is more effective in coffee stain removal but such a drastic change in pH is more harsh on your carpet. This is especially true if you have a natural fibre carpet like wool.
So vinegar with a similar pH to coffee is the better and more gentle solution to start with, then work your way towards the harsher chemicals.
As always with any stains, test the solution first on a part of your carpet that is hidden away, in case of the color discoloration or color run.
If you have pets, you can mistake the stain for a forgotten pet pee stain. The initial method to remove both are the same. If it is a pee stain, the distinct smell of uric acid will be obvious as the vinegar dissolves it and releases ammonia gas. Then proceed with the tips given here for pet stains.
And don't forget, it's important to book a professional carpet cleaner to clean your carpets at least once a year to maintain its appearance and lifespan!
At Carpet Cleaning Airdrie Pros, we are passionate about carpet & upholstery cleaning.