stained coffee cup

Whether you’re a tea drinker or a coffee drinker, you’ve probably looked down at the telltale stains and wondered, “Why do they make teacups and coffee mugs white on the inside!” We assume it’s just a natural result of the china or ceramic composition, and it’s probably a good practice not to paint or glaze the inside anyway. Regardless of why the interiors are white, we’re still left wondering how to get coffee stains out of mugs.

When you’re learning how to remove coffee stains from cups, your main goal is to safely bring back that brilliant white on the inside. Safe means no metal scrubbers and only using stain removers that are non-toxic and mild to protect the finish of your cup or mug. You don’t need any fancy commercial cleaners or harsh chemicals; you only need some natural stain cleaners and some muscle.

How to Clean a Stained Mug or Cup

There are plenty of ways to remove coffee stains from a mug or cup, so it’s best to start with the easiest stain removal technique first. Don’t worry; you’ll have plenty of options if you can’t remove coffee stains from cups with a quick fix. Below we’ve provided some pointers:

  • Wash the stained mug with dish soap and water to remove debris and residue. A pre-wash will make the stains more visible and easier to scrub out.
  • Using your stain remover of choice, test an inconspicuous area of the cup before starting. Wait a minute or two to see if the solution causes damage, then proceed if it’s safe.
  • Rub the stained areas firmly, but don’t overdo it. A broken or chipped cup is worse than a stained one.
  • Rewash the cup with soap and water and let it air dry.

Now that you have the basics down, let’s figure out how to remove coffee stains from a mug using everyday items you likely have in your home.

How to Get Coffee Stains Out Of Mugs

Most coffee mugs are made with glazed ceramics, so they’re typically pretty durable. Unlike china teacups, you can safely put a bit more elbow grease behind your stain removal efforts. Here’s how to remove coffee stains from cups using safe but effective stain removers.

Baking Soda

Mix baking soda and enough water to form a paste. Rub the paste into the stains with your fingers or a damp dishcloth. Let the stain remover work for about 5 minutes, then use the dishcloth to give the stains a good scrubbing. The baking soda is a mild abrasive, so you shouldn’t worry about scratches.

Salt and Vinegar

Mix a stain remover paste using distilled white vinegar and table salt. Use a damp dishcloth to scrub the stains with the paste, let it sit for 5 minutes, then wash out the mug. The salt will give you a bit more scrubbing power than baking soda, and the acid in the vinegar will help break down the stains.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are great for removing scuff marks and other household chores, and they work well for removing tea and coffee stains. Dampen a magic eraser and scrub the stains, using only as much pressure as you need to remove them.

Now that you have the basics down, let’s figure out how to remove coffee stains from a mug using everyday items you likely have in your home.

Toothpaste

Most toothpaste contains whiteners, brighteners, and a boost of abrasives, making it an ideal DIY tea and coffee stain remover. Use a damp dishcloth to rub the stains with plenty of toothpaste until they disappear (feel free to use your favorite flavor).

For most coffee stains, the four stain removers above should get the job done and get your mug shiny again. While they are similar, coffee stains and tea stains sometimes require different approaches, particularly when you’re learning how to remove tea stains from cups made with china or porcelain.

How to Remove Tea Stains From Cups

Your everyday teacups are probably made from ceramic-like coffee mugs, so you don’t have to be too cautious. Use the same approach for how to remove coffee stains from cups for your ceramic teacups. You can use the tips below for stubborn stains on ceramic cups, but they are ideal when you’re learning how to get tea stains out of mugs that are more fragile.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Mix hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to form a paste. Rub the paste into the tea stains with your fingers and give them a little scrub with a dishcloth. Let the stain solution sit for at least 10 minutes, then wash, rinse, and dry the cup.

Lemon

Lemons have acid and an amazing aroma perfect for removing stains from teacups. Cut a lemon into fourths and rub the flesh sides vigorously across the stains. Let the juice sit for 5 minutes to break down the stain, then wash and dry the teacup.

Alka Seltzer

Alka seltzer contains citric acid and sodium bicarbonate. This dynamic duo gets rid of headaches and heartburn, and it also makes a terrific teacup stain remover. Fill the cup with warm water, drop in two Alka seltzers, and let it sit until the stain disappears.

White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is a safe, eco-friendly cleaner, disinfectant, and stain remover. Fill your stained teacup half full of boiling water and top it off with undiluted white vinegar. Let the concoction sit for five minutes; once the water is cool enough, scrub the stains with a sponge.

Now that you know how to remove coffee stains from cups and tea stains from teacups, your cabinet should be free of dingy cups! Be sure to check out our library of housekeeping guides for more helpful tips and tricks.

For more help around the house, check out our popular residential cleaning services. Those coffee and tea stains are on you, but The Maids can take care of just about everything else. Find out how to get your home cleaner more often when you get your free estimate today.


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