Everyone has had one of those days, you know, the one that starts with a coffee spill all over your car seats. If you’re lucky your cup holder may have caught some of it, but that’s not the case today. Your seats are soaked and you need to know how to fix it, fast. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. In 6 simple steps.

The six-step process on how to remove coffee stains from car seats.

1. Pull over and park.

Please don’t try to clean and drive.

We know. You’re running late or you have something extremely important to get to. Regardless, we want our customers and everyone to stay safe. That’s why step 1 is simply to pull over as soon as safely possible and park your car. All safe? Good. Now let’s get to work on that stain!

2. Quickly, remove the excess coffee.

coffee stain on a car seat

Blot, don’t scrub!

As soon as you spill your drink, act quickly. Remember, fresh stains are far easier to clean up than dried ones. Look around and grab the closest colorless towel or rag and start blotting up the excess coffee. DO NOT SCRUB. Scrubbing will actually spread the stain around and make your already bad day worse. Continue to blot until most of the liquid is absorbed.

3. Remove coffee grounds or debris.

You don’t want to make more coffee.

There may have been some coffee grounds in your beverage that step 2 didn’t remove. You’ll want to gently brush or vacuum these off your seats. If they find their way into cracks and crevices or are present for the remaining steps, they will likely make the stain worse or cause future stains.

4. Apply a cleaning solution.

For Leather Seats: Mix one teaspoon of colorless detergent or dish soap mixed with one cup of lukewarm water should do the trick.

For Cloth Seats: Mix one ounce of white vinegar into two cups of lukewarm water.

There are a variety of cleaning solutions available, from places like Wikihow but these will absolutely work and are ingredients that are more commonly available. After you mix your solution, blot the stained area. As you do this color will begin to come out of the stain and transfer to your cleaning rag. Continue to blot until the color is removed from the stain completely. Do not proceed any further until the color is removed. You will likely end up with a permanent stain.

5. Rinse with clean water and blot.

You’re almost there!

The stress is building and the process is taking forever. But do not skip this step! Rinse the stained area by blotting with a new clean rag and clean water. This will remove the detergent or vinegar solution from the previous step. While these solutions are extremely helpful in Step 4, you don’t want them on your seat for extended periods of time. Be careful not to soak the whole seat or use too much water. Remember, you need just enough to remove the solution.

6. Dry the wet area. (Optional)

Hairdryer Drying Coffee SpillIf someone needs to sit there, this will help!

Grab the closest hair dryer or fan and direct it to the wet spot. If you’re using a hairdryer, especially on leather, it’s best to do so on the lowest heat setting. If you’re not in a hurry you can skip this step and let the area dry on its own.

Additional cleaning tips for difficult coffee stains.

If you’ve completed steps 1-5 and the stain persists, there are a few more things you can try.

  • Repeat the steps. Unfortunately, it’s easy to whip through the steps and not get the results you would like. Take a deep breath and try them again. Patience is the key.
  • Try a new mixture. Be careful what you put on your seats. However, a stronger mixture of something like ammonia and water may be necessary.
  • If a smell persists, use baking soda. Baking soda applied directly to the affected area or left open nearby is a great odor reducer. Clean up and refresh the baking soda as needed until the smell disappears.
  • Change your mindset. Okay, this sounds crazy, but if the stain is pretty cleaned up most people won’t likely notice. You can choose to live with it knowing this. However, if you just can’t, perhaps consider professional detailing.


There you have it! How to remove coffee stains from car seats in six simple steps. Did the stain come out? We hate bad days just as much as the next person. Hopefully, our simple 6 step process saved the day! If you’re looking for other cleaning tips or you just love vehicles as much as we do, check out our other blog articles. Need assistance? We’re happy to help! Simply contact us and we’ll get back to your shortly.