Coffee is a much-needed kick to get the morning started or when the night shift draws on, but accidents do happen, and coffee spills are inevitable at some point. As your company’s carpet plays a considerable role in the impression your company makes, it’s important to make sure your carpet looks pristine at all times. Therefore, speed is essential when cleaning up spilled coffee before it becomes a permanent stain. The longer you wait, the more time the stain has to spread to adjacent carpet fibers and the harder and more time consuming the carpet stain removing process becomes.
If you’re wondering why coffee stains are so hard to remove, it’s because coffee, tea, and wine all contain tannins. Tannins are naturally occurring vegetable dyes found in many plants, and they bring a bitter taste to coffee. These natural dyes make coffee stains difficult to remove from carpets. And decaffeinated coffee is even worse, it often contains artificial colors to give it a richer appearance. The high temperature of the coffee, combined with the tannins, “opens up” the carpet fibers, allowing the dye to penetrate, even if fabric protection has been applied to the carpet.
When coffee spills on your office carpet, it’s important to take quick action. The first step is to grab a paper towel or well-rinsed cotton towel and blot the stain gently. Avoid scrubbing or moving the towel aggressively over the stain as this will cause the oils to be absorbed at a faster rate. The best strategy is to start from the outside of the stain and work your way in so the chances of the stained area expanding are decreased. To dilute the coffee, pour small amounts of cold water onto the carpet—taking care not to soak the carpet—and continue to blot until no more coffee transfers from the carpet onto the towel.
Next, mix together one tablespoon of liquid dish soap, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and two cups of warm water in a bowl. Using a clean, dry cloth or clean paper towels, blot the stain with your solution. Once again, start from the edges of the stain and move inward. Dip the cloth back into the bowl as needed. This should completely eliminate the stain. If not, repeat the process a couple of times.
If the coffee contained milk, cream, or sugar, combine one capful of laundry detergent and one cup of warm water in another bowl. Stir the solution to blend it well. Using a new cloth, dab this cleaning solution onto the old coffee stain. This will remove the bacteria from the dairy and prevent nasty smells. Again, time is of the essence, because the dairy will quickly begin to rot and cause set-in odors.
Once you’re finished, rinse the carpet with cold water. Using another dry, clean towel, blot up as much liquid you can with a towel and allow the carpet to air-dry the rest of the way. It’s important to dry the carpet as quickly as possible because not only do wet carpets attract dirt, but the longer you leave it wet, the more wicking will occur—pulling up any of the remaining spill back up to the surface. Additionally, leaving a carpet wet can cause delamination, where the layers of the carpet separate and the glue dissolves, which can create buckling and a safety hazard. Avoid walking on the area until the spot has completely dried.
Next time there’s a fateful spill in the office, you now know how to tackle it quickly and efficiently. Many people put off cleaning up a spill as they assume that replacing the carpet is the only answer. However, armed with the right tools and knowledge, you can take the first steps to prevent a long-term coffee stain on your office carpet.
If this doesn’t work, it’s time to call in the experts at Cubix, Inc.. We have professional-grade spot cleaners and chemical cleaning systems that can remove coffee stains without damaging your office carpet. Our team can handle even the most stubborn carpet stains, restoring your carpet to a like-new appearance.