If everyone drank their coffee black, at room temperature, and it was the caffeinated type, coffee spots would not be the problem that they are. The problems are compounded by the cream and sugar that commonly goes down with the coffee, as well as the temperature at which it is spilled. Things really got tough with the increasingly popularity of the decaffeinated coffee. Many of the decaf coffees contain a synthetic, food grade dye which is much more difficult to remove than a tannin stain ever was. 

When attacking these or other tannin stains, we commonly rely on our “tannin spotters”. The tannin in coffee, tea, wine and cola is actually tannic acid. This is a naturally browning substance derived from vegetable matter. The tannin spotter on the other hand, is actually a reducing agent and/or a combination product designed to reduce or remove entirely the stain from the textile surface.

One of the most prevalent complaints regarding coffee spots are the reappearing spots. They can be so frustrating because they may be easily cleaned away, but will persistently come back. They will usually reappear in one of two ways, which will indicate the reason for its return as well as dictate the procedure for permanent removal.

Reappearing Spot No.1

One type of reappearing spot is the one that goes away with cleaning, but gradually reappears as the carpet dries until it has completely returned by the next day. These can be extremely frustrating because the natural tendency is to clean the area deeper, and more aggressively. This deeper penetration of the cleaning agent actually solubilizes the latent reservoir of the spilled substance, and allows for its return via capillary action (wicking).

The most thorough method for addressing this latent culprit is to drain the reservoir by forcing the capillary action. We accomplish this task by solubilizing, thus reactivating, the reservoir. It is usually best to incorporate enzymes for this task because they are more effective in solubilizing the cream and sugar. Once solubilized, we are ready to force the reservoir to migrate to a thick layer of absorbent material (nappies, towelling, paper towelling_. Place hooks or other flat weights onto the absorbent material to assist the wicking action. Once the reservoir has been emptied, we can aggressively attack the visible coffee stain without fear of wicking. 

Reappearing Spot No.2

The other types of reappearing spot is the one that usually cleans up very easily but comes back in the exact same shape and in the exact same area. These spots do not reappear immediately upon drying, but take some time. They could show up as quickly as a day or two, but usually take from a couple of weeks to a month or so. The culprit here is an invisible only residue that attracts soil. The amount of time required for the reappearance is dependent on the amount of oily residue and relative tackiness of the spot, as well as the amount of soil brought in by foot traffic.

These are probably the most persistent of all reappearing spots, because the soil is so easily removed from the residue that the spot seems to disappear with even the mildest cleaning. The culprit residue, on the other hand, is usually very stubborn. The problem is compounded by the fact that you cannot see the spot until it is too late and the soil is reattached. 

We usually start by forcing the wick into an absorbent layer, in case there is a reservoir of this invisible substance. This is followed by an aggressive co-solvent (Dri-Sol Spotter) or enzyme pre-treatment (PreKleen) depending on whether the oil is petroleum or protein based, and then extract with a hot detergent flush. Regardless of the surface size or the depth of the coffee spot, the visible tannin stain is best treated with a reducing product such as Cleancare’s Coffee Stain Remover. Another approach to the tannin stain is with Cleancare’s Rescut Kit. Rescue Kit is GUARANTEED to work on stubborn coffee and other tannin spots. Simply mix equal parts of the two products together in the accompanying mixing bottle, spray it on and walk away.

It’s as simple as that!