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Remove coffee & beverage stains from carpet and prevent them from coming back

When it comes to caring for carpet, one of the biggest challenges is getting out spots and stains.
A very common and troublesome type of carpet stain comes from beverages, whether it be coffee, juice drinks, red wine, sport drinks, soda or energy drinks.

What’s worse, sometimes after successfully removing a stain, it can mysteriously reappear days later through a process called “wicking”.

This post is going to discuss the best method to remove all types of beverage stains from carpet and how to prevent them from reappearing.

Select Your Spot and Stain Remover Wisely:  Those in charge of removing the stains often use a “general purpose” spotting chemical, which can make the job of removing beverage stains even harder.

pH Matters!  Coffee, Tea, and Colas contain a chemical called a “Tannin”.  A spot and stain removal chemical should have a mildly acidic pH (around 3-4).

Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in many plant materials, and are responsible for the dark color of these types of beverages.  Tannins have an alkaline pH, meaning they can be dissolved by an acidic pH spot and stain remover. Using general spotter with an alkaline pH  has little effect on Tannins.

Artificial colors in beverages quickly stain carpets.  These synthetic dyes are used to color sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, many juice drinks, Kool-Aid and others.  Artificially colored beverage stains are usually best attacked with an oxidizing type of spotter and stain remover containing Hydrogen Peroxide.  

Removing Beverage Stains Step by Step:

  1.  Apply spotting chemical to an area slightly larger than the stain.  Do NOT saturate, just enough to moisten the carpet fibers.
  2. Use a spotting brush or bone scraper to gently work the chemical into the stain.  DO NOT scrub with the   brush, it could fray the carpet fibers.
  3.  WAIT 2-3 minutes to allow the spotter to loosen the stain.
  4.  Blot the stain with a clean cloth, turning as necessary to expose clean portions of the cloth.
  5.  Option #1:  If you have an extractor, you can extract, but be careful about rinsing with too much water.
  6. Option #2:  Orbital agitation with an encapsulating spotter.  Watch the video that uses an orbital scrubbing machine and encapsulation spotting chemical to quickly remove old coffee stains in carpet.
  7.  Dry the spot area as quickly as possible to avoid re-soiling.

Getting Rid of Stains for Good!  Stains that reappear days later are often due to a process called “Wicking”.  This usually occurs with large volume stains, like a whole cup or pot of coffee. The graphic below helps to describe wicking.

         1. Stain Removed               2.  Carpet Dries, Stain Begins to Wick              3.  Stain Reappears






Here are the steps to prevent wicking from occurring:
1. Dry the carpet fast: After stain removal or cleaning, getting the carpet dry as fast as possible is the key to stopping wicking. Place a fan on the area to dry the carpet and stop the wicking process.
2. Use less spotting chemical: Try to minimize wetting the carpet. When using a spotting chemical, use a trigger sprayer to apply less rather than a flip top spout. Make the chemical work better by using a spotting brush or bone scraper to help the chemical penetrate the stain.

3.  Encapsulate the stain: Use an encapsulating spotter to help insure that loosened stain do not re-dry back into the carpet.  These products contains a crystallizing polymer to surround and encapsulate the stain.

4.  Blot instead of extracting:  Extracting a stain can over wet the spot and activate stain material below the backing.  Try to blot the stain out with an absorbent towel instead of extracting with water.
5.  Control Humidity: While this is usually not possible, working in an air conditioned environment helps. If conducting full carpet extraction cleaning, try to select days where humidity is lower.

VaMoose is an Encapsulating Oxy Spotter and Stain Remover from Multi-Clean.  It is a mildly acidic product that also contains hydrogen peroxide.  Perfect for Beverage Stains and many others.  Encapsulating chemistry helps prevent stain wicking.

Use VaMoose on these carpet stains

Coffee, Tea, Colas

Sports Drinks

Energy Drinks


Juice Drinks

Red Wine, Alcoholic Beverages


Visit our website at to learn more.


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  1. Agustin Delgado Reply

    Very informative material thank you

  2. Agustin Delgado Reply


  3. T Shanes Reply

    Great advice here on preventing stain wicking from happening. Many people are amazed by this process and find it incredibly frustrating, but you’ve covered the essentials for them to stop the wicking process.

    Thanks for covering a rarely discussed topic!

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