How to remove stains from coffee cups


A coffee break is a good way of catching up with friends, but serving that coffee in a stained cup can be embarrassing. Tossing your cups in the dishwasher will not remove the stains and water and dish soap alone will also not do the trick.

Fortunately, with a few ingredients that you readily have available in your home, you can remove the ugly coffee or tea stains from your coffee mugs and leave them looking as good as new.

  1. A combination of lemon and salt
  2. A vinegar and hot water solution
  3. Salt and dish soap
  4. A baking soda and lemon paste

It’s important to note that you should never use a rough scourer when cleaning your cups, this will scratch the surface, so use a soft cleaning sponge or cloth when trying these approaches.

Lemon and salt for removal of coffee cup stains

Lemon and salt make a powerful combination that can remove stains from coffee cups.  Lemon is an excellent cleaner and a natural bleacher. Salt, on the other hand, is a natural abrasive that works well on stains.

You’ll need:

  • A slice of lemon or lime cut into half
  • A sponge or soft dish scourer
  • Hot water
  • Salt

Follow these steps:

Prefer videos? Check out the How2RemoveStains channel.
  1. Squeeze the lemon into the mug, then add hot water to fill the cup
  2. Mix the solution with a spoon.
  3. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. After the 15-mintute mark, pour out the solution.
  5. Sprinkle salt all over the stains.
  6. Using the squeezed lemon, rub the salt against the stains as you continue to squeeze any juice left in the peel
  7. As you do this, you will notice the stains disappear
  8. Once you’re done, clean your mug as you normally would with dish soap.

Baking soda is also effective on coffee cup stains

Baking soda is known as a whitener and a mild abrasive that works gently on many stains, including those found in coffee cups.

You’ll need:

  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • Water
  • A sponge or soft kitchen scourer

This is how you do it:

  1. Put 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda into the cup
  2. Add a little water to make a thick paste.
  3. Use your fingers to spread the paste all around the inside of the mug, making sure all the stained areas have been coated.
  4. Take your kitchen scourer or sponge and scrub gently.
  5. Rinse the coffee cup to remove all baking soda.
  6. If all the stains haven’t come off, repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the results

Salt isn’t only for flavoring food

Salt is the easiest method to remove brown stains from your coffee cups. Salt is a great, natural and cheap scouring agent. It has been used over the years to clean glassware, metals, clothes, carpets, and so much more.

You’ll need:

  • A tablespoon of salt
  • Water
  • Soft kitchen scourer

Follow the procedure:

  1. Give the mug a rinse to make the inside wet.
  2. Add the salt and use your fingers to spread it evenly inside the mug.
  3. Take the scouring pad and use it to rub the salt against the sides of your cup.
  4. Rub well until you are satisfied all the stains have come off.
  5. Rinse the mug for a shiny clean look

Vinegar eliminates coffee and tea stains on cups

White vinegar is another household product that has some phenomenal cleaning powers. What can vinegar not clean? There is a saying for cleaners, “when in doubt, use vinegar.”

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup of hot boiling water

Follow these steps:

  1. Pour the vinegar in the mug till half full.
  2. Pour hot water on the vinegar until the cup is full.
  3. Let the solution sit for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Pour out the water and use a scouring pad and liquid dish soap to clean the cup as you normally would.
  5. Rinse for the final clean outcome.

Frequently asked questions about coffee cup stains

What causes the stains in coffee cups?

Coffee cups end up stained from all the warm, dark-colored liquids we drink from them. Coffee and tea contain an ingredient called tannins. Tannins are known for leaving brown stains behind.

If you’re not drinking out of a regular coffee mug, but a plastic cup instead, read here to learn more about removing tea stains from plastic.

Coffee stains are one of the most challenging stains to deal with. But just because coffee leaves behind nasty stains, does not mean you give up on your favorite drink. Removing those coffee cup stains is easy, just make sure to clean after every drink and soak in vinegar water regularly. This helps to prevent buildup.

My coffee mugs look gross, help!

To remove coffee and tea stains from your coffee mugs and restore their beauty and shine. Soak the coffee mug in a white vinegar and hot water solution. Later, scrub with salt and dish soap. If you don’t have vinegar, you can use lemon juice as an alternative but never use bleach.

How do you remove stains from other dishes?

Coffee cups are not the only dishes that get stained in your kitchen. Wine glasses get stained, kids plastic bottles and cups get stained, ceramic plates get stained, cutting boards get stained and so much more.

One thing all these dishes have in common is how to remove the stains. You can use lemon juice, salt, baking soda, and white vinegar as a solution for more types of stains on most types of dishes.

Is bleach safe to use to remove stains from coffee cups?

Bleach is not safe to use on coffee cups. While the bleach might get the job done, did you consider these are the cups you drink from? Why would you risk your health and that of your family by using bleach when lemon juice and vinegar work just fine to produce the same results?

Vinegar and baking soda should be staples in every home. They do a lot of magic when cleaning and not just coffee cups. Many cleaning hacks around the house use vinegar and baking soda.

If your coffee manages to stain more than just its cup, check out this article about getting rid of coffee stains on clothes to deal with these stains as well.

Wrapping up

If you love your tea and coffee cups, now you know maintaining them is easy and removing those ugly stains is possible. Next time you have a tea party at your place, host with confidence. Serving guests with stain-free, clean, and shiny cups is always best.

how to remove stains from coffee cups
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