How To Remove Coffee Stains From Leather Shoes

Coffee stains can happen anywhere at any time!

In the car or your kitchen or even on the walk to your office, you can spill your coffee, and of course, it will land on your favorite pair of leather shoes.

Leather shoes can be expensive, so you need to be sure to do an excellent job of cleaning them off to ensure their longevity.

If this is you, we can help.

We’ve done the research and removing coffee stains from your leather shoes is not as difficult as you might think.

Be sure to read on to learn how to remove coffee stains from leather shoes.

What You’ll Need

Now that you have everything you need, continue reading to find step-by-step instructions on how to remove coffee stains from leather shoes.

If you find this article helpful you may also be interested in our article dedicated to showing you how to remove coffee stains from your clothes while at work.

1. Remove the Excess Spill

Once a fresh stain is spilled on your shoe, use a clean cloth or sponge to soak up the excess liquid.

Doing this will help remove most of the problem, allowing you to focus on reducing any ill effects of the coffee on your leather shoes.

I recommend using these microfiber cleaning cloths that I found on Amazon.

They are super high-absorbing and get great Amazon reviews.

2. Create the Cleaning Solution 

Mix a solution of one part dishwashing soap and five parts cold water in a small bucket or bowl.

Please be sure to stick to this ratio because using too much dishwashing soap could create too sudsy of a mixture.

Doing this can make it difficult to remove the excess soap and leave residue on the leather shoe.

3. Dab the Stain with a Clean Cloth

Begin dabbing the coffee stain gently.

Using either a clean cloth or a sponge, dip into the cleaning solution you made of water and dishwashing soap.

Continue dabbing until you can see the stain be less visible and entirely removed from your leather shoes. 

4. Remove Excess Liquid

After rinsing off the sponge or clean cloth you used previously, continue to dab the area, which should now be free of the coffee stain, to remove any excess cleaning solution that may remain on the leather shoes.

Now allow the shoes to dry and check to be sure the entire coffee stain has been removed. 

5. Repeat Steps if Necessary

After checking the leather shoes once they have dried, see if there are any remaining coffee stains.

If any coffee stains remain on your shoes, repeat the steps above until the coffee stains have entirely been removed from your leather shoes.

Video Instructions

The video below shows how to remove stains from leather furniture and can be used to remove stains from leather shoes as well.

  • Step 1 (:22) — Remove excess spill
  • Step 2 (:33) — Create cleaning solution
  • Step 3 (:40) — Dab stain
  • Step 4 (:43) — Remove excess liquid


Is Dish Soap Bad For Leather Shoes?

Dishwashing soap is not bad for leather shoes if you use the correct amount.

Dishwashing soap is a typical and trusted at-home remedy to clean leather.

As always, when using dishwashing soap, a little goes a long way.

If you use too much dishwashing soap, you may be left with a soap residue on your leather shoes. 

Can I Use White Vinegar To Clean Coffee Stains From Leather Shoes?

Technically, yes.

White vinegar can be used to clean coffee stains as it is good at breaking down the acid of coffee stains using its acid characteristics.

The drawback of using white vinegar on leather is that it can dry out the leather of your shoes. 

If you choose to use white vinegar to clean your leather shoes, be sure to follow it up with a leather conditioner that is safe for your leather shoes. 

Can I Follow These Steps To Remove Older Coffee Stains From Leather Shoes?

If you cannot immediately remove fresh coffee stains from your leather shoes, it is still possible to remove the coffee stain.

Follow the same steps as above, but you will likely need to repeat them.

In addition, the wetness of the water and dishwashing soap should be allowed to sit for a short amount of time.

Doing this will allow the cleaning solution to penetrate the leather and begin to remove the stain. 

By rule of thumb, however, it is essential to remove coffee stains and any other type of stain as quickly as possible.

Set stains in leather can be permanent as it is challenging to use better stain cleaners without damaging your shoes’ leather. 

What Happens If I Do Not Remove Enough Of The Excess Liquid?

If you do not remove the excess liquid from the dishwashing soap and water mixture, you may have different types of stains on your leather shoes.

If too much moisture remains on the leather of your shoes, it can cause the leather to stain from the water and dishwashing soap mixture. 

What Household Cleaning Products Should Not Be Used On Leather Shoes?

When cleaning leather shoes, or anything leather, avoid using any harsh cleaners.

Make sure not to use any bleach, as it can harm the leather and cause discoloration.

Any cleaning product that contains petroleum should also be avoided as it may damage the leather shoes and the thread used to stitch together the shoe. 

Although olive oil may seem like an excellent option to condition your leather shoes, please do not use it!

Like soap, less is more when it comes to oils and leathers.

When you add olive oil to the leather of your shoes, it will seep into the leather and later come back out and create oil spots if you use too much.

How Can I Avoid Getting Coffee Stains On My Leather Shoes?

Not spilling your coffee is a start!

But of course, life happens.

It is good to use a leather shoe protectant, such as water or weatherproof spray or cream specifically for leather and leather shoes.

Do not use a protectant spray or cream that is not explicitly for leather, as different fabrics and materials require other treatments. 

In my research, the best leather conditioner that I have found is Leather Honey Leather Conditioner.

It’s formulated to use on any type of leather, including shoes, plus it gets excellent reviews on Amazon.

In addition to treating your leather shoes with some protective layer, you will want to periodically clean off your shoes to remove any natural dirt and debris that will be on your shoes.

Doing this will help remove any stains on your leather shoes and make them easier to upkeep.