How to Remove Coffee Stains from Your Car's Upholstery

To remove coffee stains from car seats and upholstery, immediately clean the mess. If it's too late, use soap and water, or try vinegar or lemon juice.
Written by Cheryl Knight
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Your coffee can be the delight of your morning...when you don't spill it all over the interior of your car. Any type of
spill in your car
can be a hassle, but coffee spills are among some of the most dreaded stains, like red wine and oil.
However, not all hope is lost. Insurance broker
has put this guide together so you know what to do if you spill coffee on your car seat.

How to remove coffee stains from car seats and upholstery

Tend to the stain as fast as possible

When you spill coffee on your car seat, it’s important to take action quickly. Tending to the stain before it dries makes it easier to remove, which will help you clean the upholstery. Immediately after the spill happens:
  • Blot the coffee up using a clean cloth, paper towel, or whatever else you have on hand
  • If you have water, wet the cloth and use it to blot the stain
  • Keep blotting until no more coffee appears on your cloth
If this does not completely remove the stain, try one of these methods to
clean your car

Use soap and water

A simple water and soap mixture might be enough to get the coffee stain out of the fabric. For this method you'll need:
  • 1 cup of warm, clean water
  • 3 drops of mild dish soap (like Dawn)
  • Clean microfiber towel
  • Vacuum
Start by using a vacuum to clean up any loose coffee grounds. Using soapy water and a cloth, rub the stain in a circular motion. Once the stain has been removed, dry the area with the microfiber towel.
Key Takeaway: You'll want to blot up the spill as fast as you can. If simple wiping does not get rid of the stain, you can try again using a soap and water mixture.

Methods for removing stronger coffee stains on car seats

Use vinegar

This stain remover is a little stronger than simple soap and water. For this method, you need the following materials:
  • 1 tbsp. of white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. of baking soda
  • Clean cloths
  • Toothbrush (optional)
Start by blotting the stain to remove as much coffee as possible. Next, mix the vinegar and baking soda to make a runny paste. Rub the paste into the stain with a circular motion using a clean cloth. If needed, use a toothbrush to access any hard-to-reach areas. Dry with a clean, dry cloth.

Use lemon juice

If you're put off by the smell of vinegar, lemon will also do the trick. The citric acid in the lemons has the power to dissolve the tannins in the coffee, making it easier to remove the stain. For this method, you need the following items:
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Clean cloths
Start by filling the spray bottle with ¼ cup lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Spray the affected area and scrub the stain until it lifts away. Afterward, rinse with cold water and dry the area with a clean cloth.
Key Takeaway: You can apply either lemon or baking soda mixtures to the stronger stains to get rid of them. Make sure you clean up and dry the affected area afterwards.

Cleaning leather upholstery

Cleaning and
repairing leather
requires a little more finesse than cleaning fabric because you need to be careful not to damage the leather with the cleaning solution. To clean leather car upholstery, you'll need:
  • 2 parts linseed oil (can also use olive oil)
  • 1 part vinegar
  • Clean cloths
Start by combining the linseed or olive oil with the vinegar. Gently rub the solution onto the leather. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes before buffing with a clean, dry cloth.
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