How to Remove Coffee Stains from Car Seats


Last Updated on July 1, 2023 by Timothy Byron Smith

Accidents happen, and sometimes that accident involves spilling coffee in your car. Unless you have mocha upholstery, this is a big problem.

But worry not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to remove coffee stains from car seats and upholstery. Whether you’re dealing with a fresh spill or a stubborn stain, we’ve got you covered.

Coffee stains on car seats can be unsightly and challenging to remove. However, with a little know-how and prompt action, you can restore your car’s upholstery to its former glory. This article provides valuable guidance on how to tackle coffee stains effectively, ensuring your car remains clean and inviting.

How to Remove Coffee Stains from Car Seats?

Whether you’re dealing with a fresh spill or a stubborn stain that has set in these methods and tips will help you tackle the problem with ease.

1. Tend to the stain as fast as possible

The key to successful stain removal is acting quickly. When a coffee spill occurs on your car seat, follow these steps immediately:

  1. Blot the coffee: Use a clean cloth or paper towel to blot the coffee spill. Absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing the stain, as it can spread and further embed the coffee into the fabric.
  2. Wet cloth with water: If available, dampen a cloth with water and use it to blot the stain gently. This will help dilute the coffee and lift more of it from the upholstery.
  3. Continue blotting: Keep blotting until no more coffee appears on the cloth. This will prevent the stain from setting and make the subsequent cleaning process easier.

If the stain persists, proceed to the following cleaning methods.

2. Use soap and water

For fresh coffee stains, a simple mixture of soap and water can often do the trick. Here’s how to proceed:

Materials needed:

  • 1 cup of warm, clean water
  • 3 drops of mild dish soap (e.g., Dawn)
  • Clean microfiber towel
  • Vacuum


  1. Vacuum loose coffee grounds: Start by using a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose coffee grounds from the seat. This will prevent them from embedding further into the fabric during the cleaning process.
  2. Prepare the soapy water mixture: In a container, combine 1 cup of warm water with 3 drops of mild dish soap. Mix them well to create a soapy solution.
  3. Apply the solution to the stain: Dip a clean microfiber towel into the soapy water mixture and gently dab it onto the coffee stain. Avoid rubbing the stain vigorously, as it can damage the upholstery.
  4. Rub in a circular motion: Using the soapy cloth, gently rub the stain in a circular motion. This motion helps lift the coffee particles from the fabric.
  5. Dry the area: Once the stain is removed, dry the area thoroughly with a clean microfiber towel. This step is essential to prevent any leftover moisture from causing mold or mildew.

3. Methods for removing stronger coffee stains on car seats

If a fresh coffee stain has already dried or if the above method didn’t completely remove the stain, you may need to use stronger cleaning agents. Here are two effective methods using vinegar and lemon juice:

3.1 Use vinegar

Materials needed:

  • 1 tbsp. of white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. of baking soda
  • Clean cloths
  • Toothbrush (optional)


  1. Blot the stain: Begin by blotting the stain with a clean cloth to remove as much coffee as possible.
  2. Make a paste: In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. of white vinegar with 1 tbsp. of baking soda. Stir well until you achieve a runny paste.
  3. Apply the paste to the stain: Using a clean cloth, apply the vinegar and baking soda paste to the coffee stain. Gently rub the paste into the fabric in circular motions. If needed, use a toothbrush to access hard-to-reach areas.
  4. Dry the area: After successfully removing the coffee stain, use a clean cloth to dry the area thoroughly.

3.2 Use lemon juice

Materials needed:

  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Clean cloths


  1. Prepare the lemon juice solution: In a spray bottle, mix ¼ cup of lemon juice with 2 cups of warm water. If you don’t have a spray bottle, you can mix the solution in a bowl and apply it using a clean cloth.
  2. Spray and scrub: Spray the lemon juice solution onto the coffee stain, ensuring it is thoroughly saturated. Use a clean cloth to scrub the stain in a circular motion until it starts to lift away.
  3. Rinse and dry: Rinse the area with 1 cup of cold water to remove any remaining lemon juice. Finally, dry the area with a clean cloth.

4. Cleaning leather upholstery

If your car’s seats are made of leather, it’s important to take extra care when cleaning to avoid damaging the material. Here’s a gentle method to clean leather upholstery:

Materials needed:

  • 2 parts linseed oil (olive oil can also be used)
  • 1 part vinegar
  • Clean cloths


  1. Combine the ingredients: In a small bowl, mix 2 parts linseed oil with 1 part vinegar. Stir well to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  2. Apply the solution: Using a clean cloth, gently rub the solution onto the leather upholstery. Be careful not to use excessive force, as it can lead to discoloration or damage.
  3. Allow it to sit: Let the mixture sit on the leather for approximately 10 minutes. This allows the solution to penetrate and lift any coffee stains.
  4. Buff with a dry cloth: After the designated time, use a clean, dry cloth to buff the leather gently. This will remove any remaining residue and restore the shine to your car seats.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: Can I use bleach to remove coffee stains from car seats?

No, using bleach is not recommended for removing coffee stains from car seats. Bleach is a harsh chemical that can damage the upholstery, discolor the fabric, and weaken its fibers. It’s best to use mild cleaning agents and gentle techniques to avoid further harm to your car seats.

Q2: How can I prevent coffee stains on my car seats in the future?

To prevent coffee stains on your car seats, consider the following tips:

  • Invest in a spillproof travel mug or a more stable cup holder to minimize the risk of spills.
  • Use travel mugs with secure lids to prevent liquid from splashing out.
  • Avoid placing open cups of coffee on unstable surfaces within your car.
  • Encourage passengers to drink their beverages with caution while in the vehicle.

Q3: What if the coffee stain persists even after trying multiple cleaning methods?

If the coffee stain persists and none of the cleaning methods mentioned above seem to work, it may be time to seek professional help. Professional car detailing services have specialized tools and products to tackle stubborn stains effectively. They can provide deep cleaning and restoration services to bring your car seats back to their original condition.

Summing Up!

Coffee stains on car seats may seem like a nightmare, but with the right approach and immediate action, they can be successfully removed. By following the steps outlined in this guide and using the appropriate cleaning methods, you can remove coffee stains from car seats.

Remember to always test any cleaning agent on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire stain. Happy cleaning!

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