Car Cleaning Confidential: Here Is How to Clean Coffee Out of Car Carpet

National Coffee Day
? Lillie Morales-Torres

“Spilled coffee is the adult equivalent of losing your balloon.”

I couldn’t agree more. With a good majority of people being coffee drinkers, myself included, how many times have we rushed out the door to work and grabbed our coffee to go? My answer to that question is, “almost every single morning.” So what happens when you hit a bump, turn that corner too quickly and coffee goes everywhere it shouldn’t? Next thing you know, car cleaning is your focus for the morning and you’re wondering how to clean coffee out of car carpet.

There are two things to consider here…. Are you able to clean the spill immediately or due to your already busy schedule, did you have to let it sit?

If time permits, here is how to clean coffee out of car carpet rapidly and avoid minimal damage.

Get it: Keep this Meguairs microfiber car cleaning cloth handy for emergencies

A Girls Guide To Cars | Car Cleaning Confidential: Here Is How To Clean Coffee Out Of Car Carpet - 2021 Honda Odyssey Review 36

These floor mats in the Honda Odyssey are designed to be easy to clean, and to hide stains. Photo: Erica Mueller

The First Step to Clean Coffee out of Car Carpet is Blotting the Stain

Find a clean cloth, paper towel or anything absorbent that you happen to have lying around. Microfiber cloths work best, but use what you have on hand. Soak up as much of the spill as you can without rubbing the stain. Rubbing the stain would only allow the stain to spread or set deeper into the carpet fibers.

Get it: This car cleaning brush will clean coffee out of all the little crevices 

Second, Apply a Cleaning Solution to the Coffee Stain

Add a solution the spot and let it sit so that the cleaner can break down the stain, then gently rub with a clean cloth. One easy cleaning solution to use is to mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

Get it: Meguiars leather cleaner will remove the stain while keeping your leather lovely

Next, you Want to Really Scrub the Stain

Use either a clean cloth or soft-bristled brush to scrub gently in a circular motion. Avoid any kind of brush too harsh or abrasive as this can cause damage to the carpet fibers.

Related: How To Remove Stickers And Decals From Your Car

The Final Step to Clean Coffee Out of Car Carpet is to Rinse and Dry

Rinse the area with clean water and blot with yet another clean cloth to remove any excess moisture. Repeat until no coffee stain appears on the cloth you are using. Allow the carpet to air dry completely. You can leave the windows down to airdry the spot if weather permits.

Related: How To Remove Gum From Your Car’s Exterior

If the smell of coffee lingers in your car, purchase some baking soda or other odor absorber of your choice and let your car air out.

Note: Be sure to test any area that you are cleaning in a small and inconspicuous area of carpet first.

Get it: Restore that new car smell with Meguiars New Car Scent wipes – yes, there is such a thing! 

Don'T Do This: Pop Your Coffee Cup Into The Cup Holder. You'Re In For A Day Of Car Cleaning If You Do. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Don’t do this: pop your coffee cup into the cup holder. You’re in for a day of car cleaning if you do. Photo: Scotty Reiss

When the Coffee has had Time to Sit

If you had to let the stain sit because you were already late for work, do not fret! Instead, follow these steps to clean a stain that might have set in the carpet:

Wet the stain lightly with warm water; this will loosen the dried coffee. Then blot the area using a clean cloth just like the steps discussed above. Continue to wet/blot until there is no more coffee from the carpet on your clean cloth.

Again, just like the steps above, you are going to apply a cleaner. The recommended solution here consists of a tablespoon of liquid dish soap, a teaspoon of vinegar and two cups of warm water. Shake or stir the solution. Once well blended, apply the cleaner with a clean cloth. Blot the stain, rotate blotting using a wet cloth and a dry cloth for best results. If your coffee included cream or sugar, you might use a cleaner that has a little bit of laundry detergent with one cup of warm water. Stir this solution also until well blended. Use the same procedure, blotting with a wet and then dry cloth. This will help break down any stickiness.

Other cleaners you may have on hand that are equally as effective: shaving cream, hydrogen peroxide, or club soda.

Related: Spring Cleaning: Have You Cleaned Your Car Lately?

Last, rinse the carpet with cooler water, blotting up the liquid and then allowing the carpet to air dry.

In either situation, you want to avoid driving the vehicle until the spot has dried completely. In most instances, this will not take long. Safety advice:  Whatever you do, do NOT try to clean the spill while driving!

But what is the best advice for how to clean coffee out of car carpet? Avoid getting in a hurry in the first place and sip responsibly!

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I teach 6th grade social studies, travel the world in the summer, write auto/moto news between grading papers and... More about Tabatha Chovanetz