How to Remove Coffee Stains from Your Mattress

Last Updated On April 18th, 2024
How to Remove Coffee Stains from Your Mattress

Key Takeaways

  • Removing Fresh Coffee Stains: Dealing with fresh coffee stains requires quick action. Begin by blotting up excess liquid without rubbing the stain deeper. Then, apply a suitable homemade stain remover solution, such as dish soap and warm water, white vinegar and warm water, or hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Rinse and allow the mattress to thoroughly air dry.
  • Tackling Set-in Stains: Older, set-in coffee stains are more challenging to remove. Start by dampening the stain with a water and vinegar solution or an enzyme cleaner. Create a baking soda paste and gently scrub the stain. Rinse, blot, and allow the mattress to dry completely.
  • Tips for Tea Stains: Tea stains, with their higher tannin content, can be particularly stubborn. Soaking in an enzymatic cleaner and using a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste can help tackle tea stains effectively.

Enjoying a warm cup of coffee or tea in bed can be one of life’s simple pleasures in the morning. That is, until you accidentally spill it across your pristine white sheets and watch in horror as the stain seeps into your mattress.

As anyone who has dealt with set-in stains knows, they can be extremely difficult to remove once they’ve had time to bond to the mattress fibers. But with the right techniques and solutions, even the most stubborn coffee and tea stains can be lifted to restore your mattress to its original glory.

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In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the best methods for tackling both fresh and old coffee and tea stains on your mattress and bedding. With a bit of elbow grease and prompt action, you can bid farewell to those unsightly marks for good.

Quick Guide: A 30-Second Summary

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Why Do Mattress Stains Happen?

Before we dive into stain removal methods, let’s first understand what causes stains on mattresses.

The outer layer of a mattress is typically made from fabrics like polyester, cotton, wool, or rayon. These materials are porous and absorbent, meaning spilled liquids can easily seep into the fibers.

Factors like the composition of the spilled liquid, the fabric weave, and time play a role in how deeply it penetrates or how stubborn the resulting stain becomes.

Substances like coffee, tea, cosmetics, sweat, and other bodily fluids contain pigments and oils that bond strongly to fabric fibers, especially when left untreated. Over time, this causes discoloration and stains.

Mattress stains also gradually develop from the oils secreted by our skin and hair while we sleep. Dust mites and dead skin cells further dirty the mattress surface. It’s even possible for a coil mattress to develop rust stains on the mattress surface.

That’s why you may notice yellowish stains and dirt buildup even if you haven’t spilled anything on your mattress before.

We must warn also that if you see a stain that “grows” it may be mattress mold. While it’s possible to deep clean a moldy mattress, it’s often best for your health to just dispose of it entirely.

Why Remove Mattress Stains?

Now you may be wondering, if stains are inevitable, why bother removing them at all?

Here are some key reasons:

  • Hygiene: Stains indicate the accumulation of dirt, bacteria, allergens, and skin cells on your mattress. This creates an unhygienic sleeping environment that can aggravate allergies and skin irritation.
  • Odors: Stains from liquids like coffee, urine, and sweat can leave lingering odors on your mattress over time.
  • Appearance: A stained and discolored mattress simply doesn’t look appealing. It detracts from the overall aesthetic of your bedroom.
  • Mattress Life: Regular cleaning keeps your mattress fresh and extends its lifespan so you don’t have to replace it as often.

Now that you know why it’s important to remove mattress stains, let’s go through the steps to remove two of the most common culprits when it comes to spilled drinks that stain—coffee and tea.

Cleaning Fresh Coffee Stains

Fresh stains that are still damp or wet are the easiest to tackle before they have a chance to dry and set into the mattress fibers. With prompt action, it’s possible to get fresh coffee stains out of a mattress easily with ingredients from your pantry! Here’s how to get rid of a fresh coffee or tea stain:

Step 1: Blot Excess Liquid

As soon as you notice the spill, grab a clean towel, cloth or stack of paper towels. Gently blot the stained area to soak up as much excess coffee or tea as possible, switching out with a new paper towel or fresh cloth as needed.

Avoid rubbing or scrubbing as this can further push the stain deeper into the mattress. Continue blotting from the edges inward until no more liquid transfers onto the towel.

Step 2: Apply a Stain Remover Solution

Next, prepare a DIY stain remover solution. The most effective homemade cleaners for fresh coffee and tea stains include:

  • Dish soap + Warm water: Mix a few drops of dish soap like Dawn Ultra with warm water. The surfactants in the soap help lift stains.
  • White vinegar + Warm water: Mix equal parts white distilled vinegar and warm water. The acetic acid in vinegar breaks down stains.
  • Hydrogen peroxide + Baking soda: Form a paste with 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts baking soda. The combination of an oxidizer and abrasive lifts stains.

Use a clean cloth or sponge to gently dab your chosen solution onto the stain. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes.

Step 3: Rinse and Blot

Use a fresh damp cloth to blot the area and rinse away the cleaning solution. Check if the stain has lifted – you may need to repeat steps 2 and 3 until it fades.

Once gone, blot the area with clean towels to absorb any excess moisture.

Step 4: Let Dry

It’s crucial to allow the mattress enough time to completely air dry before using it again or making the bed.

Open windows, use fans, or a blow dryer on a cool setting to speed up evaporation. Direct sunlight also helps eliminate any residual moisture.

Removing Old, Set-in Stains

As challenging as fresh stains seem, getting rid of stains that have had time to dry and bond to your mattress fibers is even trickier. With some heavy-duty products and a bit of patience, even the worst stains can eventually be removed from your mattress. Here are tips to remove stubborn, set-in coffee stains:

Step 1: Loosen the Stain

Old stains need a bit of prep before cleaning solutions can penetrate and act on them.

Mix a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part white vinegar in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz the stained area just enough to dampen it. The moisture helps loosen the stain.

You can also use an enzyme cleaner like Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Remover. Check the label instructions.

Step 2: Make a Baking Soda Paste

Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the stain. Add just enough water to form a spreadable paste.

Using an old toothbrush, gently scrub the paste into the fibers in circular motions. The baking soda will provide a mild abrasive action to lift the stain without damaging the mattress.

Let it sit for 20-30 minutes before vacuuming up the paste.

Step 3: Repeat and Rinse

Examine the stain – you may need to repeat steps since set-in stains often require multiple treatments. Rinse thoroughly after each application.

Once it fades, blot away any residue with a dry towel. Let the mattress dry completely before making up the bed to avoid mold growth.

Removing Stains from Bedding

Coffee can also stain your bed sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers, and other linens if left untreated. With some pretreating and the right detergent, your sheets and covers will be back to their crisp, bright appearance. Here’s how to get rid of these stains to refresh your bedding:

Step 1: Blot Excess Liquid

After a spill, immediately blot the bedding fabric with clean paper or cotton towels to absorb as much liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing the area.

For stubborn stains, apply a small amount of dishwashing liquid and let it sit briefly before rinsing with cool water.

Step 2: Pretreat the Stain

Mix 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts water and pour it into a spray bottle. Liberally spray over the stain.

For tea stains, make a paste of baking soda and water and gently rub it into the fabric. This helps lift the stubborn tannin stains.

Step 3: Wash with Detergent

Check the laundry care label and wash the bedding in the washing machine with regular laundry detergent. Use the hottest setting safe for the fabric.

For heavy stains, add an oxygen bleach to the wash cycle for extra cleaning power.

Repeat washes as needed until the stains fully release from the fabric. Avoid using chlorine bleach on tea stains as it can set them permanently.

Tips for Removing Tea Stains

Tea stains can be even trickier to remove than coffee due to the higher levels of tannins that bind strongly to fabrics. Here are some tips:

  • Soak in an enzymatic cleaner before washing to break down tannins.
  • Make a paste with equal parts baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for stubborn set-in stains.
  • Avoid using hot water or chlorine bleach solutions as they can further set tea stains.
  • For delicate fabrics, gently dab stains with lemon juice using a cotton swab. Rinse and launder.
  • For extra stain-fighting power, place dry tea bags over the stain and press before washing.

With some modifications to account for the higher tannin content, the same general stain removal principles apply. Patience and perseverance are key!

How to Prevent Future Mattress Stains

While stain removal is handy for occasional accidents, it’s better to take proactive steps to keep stains from marring your mattress in the first place.

Use a Mattress Protector

Investing in a high-quality, waterproof mattress protector creates a barrier against spills and stains. Not only does this make cleanup easier in our experience, but it will also protect against dust mites, allergens, and skin oils.

Some accidents that a mattress protector can make easy to clean up or the minor to major damage a protector can prevent include:

Look for protectors made of soft, breathable fabrics with a water-resistant backing. Maintain it by washing the mattress protector every few months or after a spill has occurred.

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Clean Your Mattress Regularly

Every couple of months, remove all bedding and vacuum your mattress thoroughly to remove dust buildup. Follow up by spot cleaning any visible stains with an enzymatic cleaner. As a final step, we suggest deodorizing your mattress with a sprinkling of baking soda.

Also deep clean your mattress one to two times per year. Cleaning your mattress refreshes the surface and kills dust mites and microbes.

Rotate Your Mattress

Rotating your mattress 180 degrees every 3 to 6 months evens out wear so stains don’t accumulate in just one spot. It takes little effort but pays off by extending your mattress’s lifespan.

Fix Well-Fitting Sheets

Sheets that are too small won’t adequately cover the mattress edges and seams. This allows spills to directly hit the mattress surface. Invest in well-fitting, oversized sheets with deep pockets.

Exercise Caution with Beverages

Avoid drinking beverages in bed to prevent accidental spills. However, if you do, use cups with secure lids and set them on a waterproof surface rather than directly on your bed. A little mindfulness prevents stains.

Move away from the bedroom for your morning brew, and if you drink a cup of tea for sleep at night, keep it away from the bed.

More Cleaning Guides for Bedding

For pillows:

For sheets:

For blankets, duvets, comforters, and other coverings:

For other bedding items:


How do you clean spilled drinks from a mattress?

If you’ve had a drink spill on your mattress, quick action is crucial. Begin by blotting up as much of the liquid as possible using a clean, dry cloth or paper towels. Avoid excessive rubbing, as it can push the liquid deeper into the mattress and spread the stain. After blotting, mix a solution of mild liquid detergent and water.

Dampen a clean cloth with this solution and gently blot the stain. Rinse with another fresh wet cloth dampened with clean water, blotting the area again to remove any soap residue. To dry, place the mattress in a well-ventilated area, ideally in the sun, to prevent odors from setting in. Allow the mattress to fully air dry before remaking the bed.

Will baking soda remove mattress coffee stains?

Baking soda is effective in removing coffee stains from a mattress. When a coffee spill occurs, blot up excess liquid immediately. Then, generously sprinkle baking soda over the stained area, ensuring it covers the entire stain.

After sprinkling baking soda, allow it to sit for several hours or even overnight. This gives it time to absorb the coffee and its associated odors. Lastly, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda. The abrasion from vacuuming also helps lift the stain. Repeat as needed for tough stains.

What should I do if I spill coffee on my bed?

If you accidentally spill coffee on your bed, act promptly and remove any stained bedding. To treat any liquid that got onto your mattress, start by blotting the coffee spill with a clean, dry cloth or paper towels to soak up as much liquid as possible.

Then, create a solution of mild liquid detergent and water for gentle stain removal. Blot the stain with this solution and rinse with clean water, blotting again to remove soap residue. If the stain persists, sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it sit before vacuuming it up. Finally, ensure the mattress dries completely in a well-ventilated area.

Does coffee stain permanently?

Coffee stains and discolorations can become permanent if not treated promptly. Quick action is essential to prevent this and remove coffee stains as they occur. However, even a dried coffee stain can be removed or at least lightened with some persistence.

Will a spilled coffee smell go away?

The odor from spilled coffee can linger even after stains are removed. To combat odors, sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and allow it to sit for several hours or overnight before vacuuming.

For persistent odors, try airing out the mattress in a well-ventilated space, preferably in the sunlight, to help dissipate the smell. Consider also using an odor-eliminating spray made for fabrics and upholstery.


Dealing with coffee and tea stains on your mattress and bedding can be tiresome. But armed with the right techniques and solutions, you can permanently eliminate them.

The key is to act fast on fresh stains before they have time to set. For dried, set-in stains, use heavy-duty cleaners formulated to break down organic stains like coffee and tea.

While stains may be inevitable, they don’t have to be permanent. With some strategic prep and intervention, you can keep your mattress fresh, clean and stain-free for years to come.

With this comprehensive guide, you have all the techniques needed to bid those pesky coffee and tea stains goodbye. Now relax and enjoy your morning brew without worrying about stains ruining your mattress! And feel free to share our tips with your friends on social media!

About the author

Mitchell Tollsen is a graduate student and a freelance writer who’s contributed to the Early Bird blog for three years. Mitchell’s always been fascinated by the science of sleep and the restorative processes our bodies undergo when at rest. The self-titled “Sleep Expert” is always looking for ways to improve his shut-eye, and throughout the years has implemented numerous lifestyle changes and tried dozens of sleep-promoting gadgets to determine the best ways to truly get better rest.

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