It's a beautiful morning and you're sipping your cup of coffee when, suddenly, tragedy strikes and it spills all over your carpet. Unless you like brown spots on your carpet, you need to move quickly to eliminate a coffee stain -- luckily, the removal process is pretty straight-forward and can be done in seven simple steps. To do it, you'll need:

  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • A plastic scrub brush
  • Soft cloth

1. Blot Up As Much Coffee As You Can

high quality paper towel

Before you add any cleaning fluid or drag out a steam cleaner, remove the liquid that is causing the stain. While the coffee is still wet, blot it up with paper towels -- the fluids will travel from the porous fibers of carpet into the paper towel. While paper towels will prevent any serious damage, not all the coffee will absorb up into it, which leads us to the next step.

2. Irrigate The Stain

After blotting up the coffee, add some cold, clean water to the stain a little bit at a time. The cold water will break up the color of the coffee and further reduce the chances of a permanent stain. Keep adding small amounts of water so that the stain won't be able to set, but beware of adding too much water -- you don't want to damage the carpet pad or the subflooring underneath the carpet.

3. Add Vinegar

white distilled vinegar with a small glass bowl

Vinegar works especially well in neutralizing coffee stains -- soak a soft cloth in plain white distilled vinegar, and gently blot the stained area to wet the carpet with vinegar. Let it sit for five minutes and then try blotting up the vinegar and stain with paper towels. If the stain is still not completely gone, re-wet the area with vinegar and gently scrub with the plastic scrubber to loosen any dried coffee pigments.

4. Boost Vinegar With Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are great partners -- by combining them, you create a foam that moves the cleaning power of vinegar all around the stained fibers.

Try adding some baking soda to the area you applied vinegar to and then blot it up to remove the stain.

5. Try A Small Amount Of Cleaning Fluid

If your stain is being stubborn, try a little mild cleaning liquid such as dish detergent. Liquid dish detergent is a surfactant -- a chemical that reduces surface tension in water and other substances that, when added to the coffee stain, allows the dirt and coffee pigments to mix with the water and be cleaned up with ease. Add a small amount of dish detergent to the stained area, use a plastic scrub brush and scrub over the stain.

6. Irrigate The Cleaner

Add some cold water to the soapy area of the rug so you don't end up with a sticky soapy coffee stain, and then use a soft cloth to remove as much of the soap mixture as possible. Add small amounts of water and repeat this process several times to ensure you remove as much of the coffee stain and suds as possible. Take care not to over soak the carpet.

7. Blot Dry

After using vinegar, detergent and water, your carpet should be stain-free. Use paper towels to blot any area that had soap, coffee or water and make sure everything is as dry as can be, removing any excess liquids. Should your carpet still have some stain left in it, a steam cleaner might be worth looking at, but this is an extreme, last-resort tactic that should be employed only after trying these seven steps. Acting quickly can make the difference on getting a stain removed or not.

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