How to remove coffee stains from a car seat

Coffee is great because it keeps you awake, gives you the energy to drive through your day, and is packed with antioxidants. However, it can really mess up your car’s seats, and the stain sticks around unless you act fast! So how do you get rid of those pesky brown stains in your car after an accidental coffee spill? Keep scrolling for some stain-removing tricks.

To get rid of coffee stains on car seats, you can a few common household products:

  • Dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Baking powder
  • Glass cleaner

Act quickly

When it comes to coffee spills in cars, you want to clean your car as soon as possible because the stains will become more difficult to remove, the long they are left on your seats. The high acidity of the coffee and how it reacts with different types of fabrics in your car is what makes the stain removal a bit difficult, but not impossible.

When the stain first happens, it’s advisable to pull over and blot the spill with wet wipes, then when you get home there are a few different cleaning approaches you can try.

Using liquid dish soap

You can remove coffee stains from many things using a simple solution of liquid dish soap.

You will need the following:

Prefer videos? Check out the How2RemoveStains channel.
  • A tablespoon of liquid dish soap
  • A cup of water
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Paper towels


  1. First, blot the stain with paper towels to get rid of any excess liquid or coffee residue.
  2. Mix the dish soap and water to form an even solution.
  3. Dip the cloth in the mixture and rub gently on the stain until it clears. 
  4. Using cold water and a wet cloth or paper towels, rinse the affected region and blot the area.
  5. Blot out excess moisture.
  6. Let it air dry.

White vinegar and dish soap

White vinegar can be used for a ton of cool things, but one of the lesser-known uses is to remove coffee stains from all types of surfaces.

When using white vinegar and liquid dish soap to get rid of coffee stains on your car’s seats, you will need the following:

  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
  • 1 cup of water
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Paper towels 

Follow these steps:

  1. First, blot the excess coffee spill with paper towels if it’s still fresh, or rub off any remaining residue.
  2. Mix the ingredients in an open container to make an even solution.
  3. Dip the cloth into the solution and use it to rub gently onto the stain until it gradually disappears. You can alternatively use a dishwashing sponge.
  4. Using a wet microfiber cloth, blot to rinse the region.
  5. Blot with paper towels to get rid of any remaining moisture.
  6. Allow it to air dry

Video: How to clean coffee stains off car seats with vinegar and dish soap

White vinegar and baking soda

Another good stain-fighting combination is white vinegar and baking soda. They are cheap, 100% natural products that remove a wide range of stains from fabrics, carpets, and floors. The combination of the two is the best at getting rid of coffee stains on car seats.

You will need the following:

  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • A cup of water
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Paper towels
  • An old toothbrush


  1. Mix the vinegar and baking soda with water to form a thick paste.
  2. Apply the paste to the coffee stain and rub it gently into the fabric with the old toothbrush so that the paste can get into the fibers.
  3. Allow the paste to act on the stains for fifteen to twenty minutes.
  4. Using wet microfiber cloth dipped in clean water, rub the area clean.
  5. Use the paper towels to rub off excess moisture and leave your seats to dry.

Using glass cleaner

Although it’s main purpose is for cleaning glass, you can also use glass cleaners such as Windex  for other cleaning purposes. Glass cleaner is actually pretty handy in removing stubborn coffee stains on fabric. This is because glass cleaners consist of surfactants and ammonium compounds that are good for breaking down organic stains.

The best part is that glass cleaners are readily available since they are commonly used to clean car windows. However, you will need to do a spot test to see how the glass cleaner reacts with the upholstery fabric. It is advisable to use a clear-colored glass cleaner, especially if you have light-colored seats.

To use a glass cleaner to fight coffee stains on your seats, you will need the following:

  • A bottle of a glass cleaner 
  • A cup of water
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Paper towels


  1. First, blot the area to remove as much spilled coffee as possible and clear any residue left.
  2. Spray the stained area with the glass cleaner.
  3. Allow the glass cleaner to act on the coffee stain for five to ten minutes.
  4. Using a wet microfiber cloth, rinse the affected spot to clean off the glass cleaner.
  5. Blot dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
  6. Open your car to air to dry the seats.

Frequently asked questions about removing coffee stains

Can I use these methods on any car seat fabric?

Most of the methods above apply to cloth car seats.

For leather car seats, a mild liquid dishwashing soap solution is recommended for getting rid of coffee stains. Be careful not to use a brush to scrub the leather as this may wear it off.

For vinyl, it is advisable to use baking soda and a soft brush.

Which method is the best for set stains?

A diluted white vinegar and baking soda solution is a powerful mixture that can effectively deal with tough set-in coffee stains. Coupled with a good scrubbing, it will leave the seats looking as good as new.

Glass cleaner is also an excellent cleanser; however, you should first do a spot check on an inconspicuous part of the upholstery to see how it will react before use.

If the two methods fail, contact a professional cleaner.

How can I get rid of the coffee smell on the car seat?

Baking soda is good at clearing odors, just sprinkle a little it on the affected spot. Vinegar can be used as well, but it will leave your car smelling like salad. Alternatively, you can go for commercial car fresheners.

Wrapping up

Now that you know that it is possible to get rid of coffee stains on your car seats, prevention is always better than cure. To avoid stains, it is best recommended to set ground rules for having your favorite beverage.

Secondly, always have paper towels or wet wipes on hand as they might come in handy for stain first aid. Remember, fresh stains are much easier to clean than set coffee stains. Lastly, regularly clean your car, as this may reveal unseen stains, and treat them before they become stubborn

Happy cleaning and enjoy your coffee worry-free!

how to remove coffee stains from car seat

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