Tea and coffee stains on carpet. Can they be removed?
One of the most often questions I am asked is ”can I remove tea or coffee stains from a carpet”. It all depends on the type of carpet. Wool carpets are natural and will absorb the stain into the fibre. Many types of synthetic carpets however, may not have absorbed the stain into the fiber. Here in the UK the most popular types of synthetic carpets are made from polypropylene.
If you have a polypropylene carpet that has been guaranteed stain resistant, the chances are the coffee or tea stain will come out.
The bad news is, more often than not these coffee or tea stains can be impossible to remove in wool carpets due to the tannin present in the liquid actually having dyed or permanently changed the colour of the carpet.
Removing the tea or coffee stain if it just happened.
If the the tea or coffee has recently been spilled on the carpet, the first thing to do is to blot the area with a dry non coloured towel or kitchen absorbent towel.
Keep blotting the area until you see there it not much moisture coming out of the carpet. You will need to draw out as much as possible so you could also place a heavy object on the towel while waiting.
In the mean time using a suitable spray bottle, mix a small amount of clothes washing detergent with some tepid water to dissolve. Do not add too much detergent, only a little is needed as these are highly concentrated.
Treat the tea or coffee stain with a stain remover
Lightly spay the the affected area with the prepared detergent. Biological detergent is probably better if you have some to break down the enzymes from the tea or coffee. Do not over wet the area, over wetting could cause a problem with the stain getting worse and the carpet becoming damaged.
Leave for 10 to 20 minutes for the detergent to work then blot as much out as possible. If the stain is improving, repeat several times until it improves no more.
Following this, fill the sprayer with clean water and repeat the above to rinse out as much detergent as possible. Leave a towel on the area with a weight on top to keep drawing out as much moisture as possible.
There are many off the shelf tea and coffee stain removers available which you can also use. Always follow the makers instructions. Some off the shelf stain removers can bleach the carpet so always pre test in an inconspicuous area beforehand.
General tips and advice about stain removal
Scrubbing and wetting:
Avoid over wetting a carpet. Over wetting can cause the cellulose from the backing to dissolve and permanently stain the carpet brown. Always try to use a suitable sprayer and lightly apply to dampen the carpet to allow the stain remover to work
Scrubbing can also damage the pile of the carpet. If you have had to scrub the carpet to dislodge any caked on dirt, carefully trim off any fluffed carpet pile when dry.
Always pre test stain removers in an inconspicuous area beforehand. Some types of stain removers can affect the colour or bleach the carpet.
Using dish washing liquid to remove stains
Ok, many people will reach for the dish washing liquid to remove stains froma carpet. Used in a very small amount and diluted sufficiently, it probably won’t cause much of a problem.
The problem occurs when the liquid is used in an effort to remove a stain and the residue stays in the carpet. The washing liquid will stay sticky when dry and continue to attract dirt when the carpet is used. This is the reason why so many stains reoccur and the area slowly turns into a stain again. The washing liquid slowly wicks back up the fibers and continues to attract dirt.