How To Remove Coffee Stains From Upholstery

Many people rely upon their morning cup of coffee to help them get moving in the morning, but the slightest spillage can lead to unsightly stains all over your home.

Coffee stains on your upholstery can seem particularly difficult because upholstery tends to absorb liquids rapidly.

Luckily, you don’t have to write off your favorite upholstery as ruined over an early morning coffee accident.

We’ve done the research, and learning how to remove coffee stains from your upholstery is easy if you follow the steps below.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need a few essential household items to remove coffee stains from your upholstery.

  • Water
  • Paper towels

Now that you have everything you need, read on to learn how to remove coffee stains from upholstery.

1. Blot the Spill with a Paper Towel

Upholstery will absorb any liquid quickly, so you need to act immediately once the coffee has been spilled on it.

The longer you wait to begin treating the coffee stain, the harder it will be to remove the stain altogether.

As soon as you realize coffee has spilled on your upholstery, grab a paper towel and blot the affected area.

Try to remove as much of the liquid as possible, but don’t scrub the affected area.

Scrubbing will encourage the oils of the coffee to seep into your upholstery more quickly.

Instead, blot the area gently until you have removed as much of the coffee as possible.

2. Rinse the Area with Water

After you have blotted away the liquid that your upholstery has not absorbed, take a cup of cool water and rinse the affected area thoroughly.

Doing this will help to remove more of the coffee from your upholstery. Use a cleaning cloth to blot the area again, working to remove even more of the liquid.

3. Rub the Area with Dish Soap

Next, apply a small amount of mild dish soap to a clean, damp cleaning cloth or a sponge.

Rub the dish soap gently on the affected area in a circular motion until the coffee stain disappears.

Dish soap usually works well because the soap will break down the oils in the coffee and lift the entire stain out of your upholstery.

We recommend using Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap.

It has great cutting power on any type of stain and gets excellent reviews on Amazon.

Pro tip: Once you are finished removing the coffee stain from your upholstery, rinse the area to remove any soap traces, and then allow the site to dry thoroughly. You may need to aid this process by setting the affected upholstery in the sun or running a fan until the area is completely dry. If you do not dry the affected area thoroughly, you could be creating an ideal environment for mildew and other forms of mold to grow. Don’t trade coffee stains for mildew; rinse the area of soapy residue and make sure it dries as quickly as possible.

4. Combine Vinegar and Water into a Solution (if Necessary)

If the coffee stain is strong or has sat for a while, you may need to take an additional step to remove it from your upholstery altogether.

Mix 1/3 cup of white distilled vinegar with 2/3 cup of room temperature water.

This solution will give you the stain-fighting power of vinegar while also diluting the vinegar to the degree that it shouldn’t damage your upholstery.

We recommend using Lucy’s Family Owned – Natural Distilled White Vinegar.

Lucy’s is a family business and their vinegar gets the best reviews of any cleaning vinegar on Amazon. 

5. Rub the Affected Area with the Solution

Dampen a fresh cleaning cloth or a sponge with the water and vinegar mixture and rub the solution on the lingering coffee stain.

Gently rub the stain in the circular pattern, starting outside the stain and working your way towards the center.

We’ve found that these MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloths work really well.

They are super absorbent and get wonderful reviews on Amazon.

Continue using your damp cleaning cloth until the stain is completely gone, making sure to rinse periodically to remove loose coffee components and evidence of staining.

The following video demonstrates how to remove coffee stains from upholstery. 

00:05—Blot the spilled coffee with a paper towel.

0:14—Apply a little liquid dish soap to a damp sponge and gently rub the affected area.

0:25—For persistent stains, combine water and vinegar.

0:34–Gently rub the affected area with warm water and vinegar solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does coffee leave stains on so many surfaces?

Coffee will stain a variety of surfaces, not just upholstery, because it is made up of various compounds, including sugar, milk, and oil.

The oil from the coffee beans is exceptionally proficient at staining surfaces because it tends to stick to surfaces long enough to be absorbed.

This same oil will then lead to discoloration and stains that can be difficult to remove altogether.

Adding sugar and milk to coffee will further increase its staining power, making your morning cup of coffee an ideal candidate for creating stains of your upholstery. 

What else can I use to remove coffee stains from my upholstery other than vinegar?

If you find you are short on distilled white vinegar, there are a couple of other household cleaning items you can use to remove coffee stains from your upholstery instead.

Vinegar tends to work best, and it is the most recommended, but our research has found a couple of other cleaning solutions if you don’t have access to distilled white vinegar.

You can use club soda to remove coffee stains.

Pour the club soda on the stain in question and blot it dry with a paper towel or fresh cleaning cloth.

The carbonation of the club soda helps to dislodge the oil and sugar in the coffee, making it easier to remove the stain.

You can also use baby wipes to remove coffee stains from your upholstery.

These are designed for removing stains of all sorts from delicate surfaces, so they work well on your upholstery.

Blot the coffee stain with a baby wipe to absorb the stain and remove it from your upholstery.

Baby wipes can also help remove any dripping from the spill, ensuring that a coffee accident does not leave lasting repercussions on your upholstery or flooring.