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Coffee Tips

How to Get Coffee Stains Out Of Cups?

If you drink coffee every morning, your coffee cups or coffee mugs are likely to develop brown coffee stains over time. These stains can make your cups look quite ugly.

You may have tried washing off the stains with water and soap but they appear too stubborn to remove. White mugs are especially susceptible to staining and stubborn discoloration.


remove coffee stains before and after


Serving guests or friends with discolored mugs can be quite embarrassing. The embarrassment may push you to use harsh chemicals or cleaners such as bleach to get rid of the coffee stains.

However, it is not advisable to use bleach to clean your cups. Also, you should not use rough utensil cleaners such as steel wool, since they will leave your cup or mug with ugly and permanent scratches.

Probably, you already have safer cleaning items in your medicine cabinet or kitchen pantry that can remove the stains efficiently. In this article, we will guide you through the best ways on how to get coffee stains out of cups and mugs. Regardless of how stubborn the stains might be, you will surely find options that will work well for you.


Method 1- Clean the Cup with Dish Soap and Water

One of the easiest coffee stain removal methods you can try is hand washing with dish soap and water. Dish soap is among the most readily products that can deal with the problem of coffee stains.

You only need some muscle and elbow grease with this method. You will need gloves, liquid dish soap, boiling water, and a nylon scrubber. Here are the instructions to get it done:

Step 1- Wear a pair of gloves. Place the cup in the kitchen sink.

Step 2- Fill the cup with boiling water.

Step 3- Add liquid dish soap.

Step 4- Allow the soapy water to soak the cup for a few minutes.

Step 5- Clean the cup with a nylon scrubber.

Step 6- Repeat the process until the stains clear and enjoy the results.

However, if this method fails to remove stubborn coffee stains from your cups or mugs, proceed to try the next ideas.


Method 2- Try Cleaning With Your Dishwasher

Your home dishwasher can remove heavy coffee stains. Before you think about rough cleaning methods, why not try your dishwasher? Besides, it will save you from spending a lot of energy. You will just make the necessary settings as per the manufacturer and let it get the work done. Just set a thorough washing cycle.

Also, turn off the drying cycle as the heat can bake in any remnant stains. You can dry the cup with a paper towel rather than the drying cycle. If the stains look very stubborn, start with scrubbing the cup with the help of a nylon scrubber before putting it in your dishwasher.


Method 3- Removing Coffee Stains With Vinegar

Vinegar is a proven cleaning agent for dishes. It is a product used for many purposes in a house, especially in the kitchen and part of ingredients for many cooking recipes. It is also used for removing coffee stains from a carpet, rug, furniture, and clothes. Besides, you can find it at affordable prices from a local store or shop.

Specifically, white vinegar is a powerhouse for getting rid of coffee stains from both mugs and cups. Its mild pH makes it highly effective at breaking down tough grease and grime on most hard materials such as cup materials and glass. However, it is not very powerful to clear extremely tough coffee stains. You may need some scrubbing to remove tougher stains.

Here are the steps you need to follow to get coffee stains out of your coffee cups with vinegar:

Step 1- Fill the cup halfway with very hot water or boiling water. You can do this from your hot water tap. If you do not have a hot water tap, boil some water in a kettle and add it to the cup.

Step 2- Add distilled white vinegar to the cup until full.

Step 3- Allow the mixture of hot water and vinegar to soak in the cup for at least 10 minutes.

Step 4- Pour the water and vinegar mixture down the sink.

Step 5- Scrub the cup thoroughly with the help of an abrasive sponge to get the job done.

Step 6- Rinse the cup thoroughly with clean water. Rinse a couple of times to remove any remnant vinegar smells that can interfere with the flavor of coffee. The cup should be clear now. If you do not rinse the cup thoroughly, any remnant odor will ruin your coffee.


Method 4- Removing Coffee Stains with Baking Soda

Another option you can try is to scrub your stained coffee cup with baking powder or baking soda. It is among the best cleaning agents. The good thing about baking soda is that it does not leave behind any odor and works within a matter of a few minutes.

Baking soda is inexpensive and you likely have it in your kitchen. It makes a paste that is abrasive enough to remove most coffee stains. Here’re the steps to follow when removing stubborn coffee stains with the help of baking soda:

Step 1- Sprinkle a scoop of baking soda into the bottom of the cup.

Step 2- Add a little amount of warm water into the cup until the mixture forms a paste. If the paste becomes too runny, you can add a little baking soda to help thicken it.

Step 3- Use a scrubby sponge to scrub the cup with the mixture. You can scrub for a minute or two. The abrasive nature of baking soda will get rid of the stains.

Step 4- Rinse the cup with clean water. Rinse it thoroughly to get rid of any baking soda residue.


Method 5- Removing Coffee Stains with Melamine Foam Sponge

One of the best solutions to remove coffee stains is using a melamine foam. A melamine foam sponge is an abrasive cleaner sponge that contains melamine foam as its active component for removing stains. The foam works by loosening up stains, spills, dirt, and grime.

Upon loosening them, it absorbs and traps them in the sponge. It only requires some elbow grease and a few scrubs to remove stains. Here’re the steps to follow when removing coffee stains from your coffee mug:

Step 1- Dampen the melamine foam sponge with clean water. Rub the cup with a sponge.

Step 2- Wash the cup with warm, soapy water. Scrub it with a scrub brush.

Step 3- Rinse the cup with clean water.


Method 6- Removing Coffee Stains with Salt and Ice

Another effective option for cleaning coffee stains from cups or mugs is to use table salt and ice. Their combination makes an effective scouring agent due to their abrasion strength.

They are coarse enough to remove coffee stains without using any chemicals. The things you need with this method are some ice cubes, table salt, plastic wrap, and a microfiber cloth. Here is how to get it done:

Step 1- Add a scoop of salt into the cup.

Step 2- Crush some pieces of ice in a container and add them over the salt.

Step 3- Cover the cup with plastic wrap.

Step 4- Shake the salt and ice mixture vigorously.

Step 5- Remove the plastic wrap and scrub the cup with a microfiber cloth.

Step 6- Empty the contents and rinse the cup.

Step 7- The cup should be free of stains. If not, repeat the process or try another method to get rid of the mug stains.


Method 7- Removing Coffee Stains with Denture Tablets

If you love science and DIY experiments, this is a method you will surely love. Denture tablets foam and bubble in a very pleasing action, while still getting rid of those ugly coffee stains.

Although they are commonly used for cleaning teeth like toothpaste, they are also effective in removing coffee and tea stains. However, we advice you to wash your cup thoroughly after cleaning it with denture tablets to get rid of any remnant smell. Here is how to remove coffee stains from cups and travel mugs with denture tablets.

Step 1- Fill the cup with warm water.

Step 2- Add a denture tablet into the cup.

Step 3- Allow the tablet to fizz. It will clear the stains when fizzing.

Step 4- Once the fizzing stops, pour the water down the sink drain.

Step 5- Wash the cup thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Use a scrub brush when washing it.

Step 6- Rinse the cup thoroughly. Your spotless cup is now ready for use.


Method 8- Getting Coffee Stains Out of Cups with Lemon

Lemon is a natural cleaning agent, thanks to its acid content. It does not contain any harmful chemicals, making it an ideal stain remover. Thus, it does not pose any health risk to your family. Its acidic properties help in removing coffee stains from hard surfaces and fabrics. Here is how to remove coffee stains with lemon wedge:

Step 1- Squeeze a slice of fresh lemon over the stained spots. Alternatively, run the slice of lemon around the inside walls of the cup.

Step 2- Allow the cup to sit for at least 10 minutes.

Step 3- Dampen a piece of microfiber cloth. Use the cloth to scrub the cup.

Step 4- Rinse the cup to prevent your next cup of coffee from getting lemon taste.

Step 5- Repeat the process as needed.

If the stains are very tough, add a tablespoon of salt into the cup after allowing it to sit with the applied lemon juice. Then scrub with the cloth. The abrasiveness of salt will help to scrub the cup further. Rinse the cup thoroughly and enjoy its new, sparkling look.


Method 9- Getting Coffee Stains Out of Cups with a Scouring Pad

If other methods have failed, it is time to go the extreme way. In this case, your last option would be to try a scouring pad. Commercial scouring pads can remove the most stubborn stains that other methods may fail to remove. They have effective abrasive power. However, the disadvantage of this idea is that scouring pads may scratch some types of cups. Thus, you should use them as your last option.

With a scouring pad, you just scrub the stains gently with great care. You can cut the pad into a size that will fit the cup in question. Rinse after a few scrubs to check whether the stained areas have been cleared. Continue scrubbing until the stains clear. Once done, hand wash the cup with dish soap and rinse it thoroughly.


Extra Tricks and Stain Removal Tips:

Although some porous cup materials such as stainless steel, china, and ceramic can eventually get stained, it is possible to keep them stain-free for a little longer. Here are some extra tips for preventing coffee stains on your cup or mug.


Tip 1- Rinse Your Mug Immediately After Drinking Coffee

Leaving your coffee cups dirty and allowing it to dry up before washing them is probably the reason why they develop stubborn brown stains. The best way to prevent your coffee cup from staining sooner is to rinse it immediately after taking your favorite cup of joe for breakfast, brunch, or dinner.

Even if you do not intend to wash the cup right away, a quick rinse can prevent it from staining as you will get rid of any coffee residue. After all, leaving dishes in your sink will create a mess that a friend or other people visiting may not like.


Tip 2- Use Filtered Water to Brew Coffee

Hard water or unfiltered tap water contains calcium carbonate and limestone. These mineral deposits create a layer of insoluble material over the interior walls of your cup. As such, coffee tannins get a better surface to bond to, thereby forming more stubborn stains.

Here, the trick is to reduce the likelihood of coffee stains by using filtered water to brew coffee. Filtered water does not contain any mineral deposits or residual stuff. Thus, the tannins will not have a good surface to stick on, thereby reducing staining. Also, rinse your coffee pot/pots, coffee maker, French press, and carafe after brewing.



There are many effective methods that everyone can try to get coffee stains out of coffee cups. Most of the methods we have discussed do not require any tools. However, avoid all the trouble by cleaning your cups as soon as you drink coffee.

If you will be cleaning the cups later in the day, simply rinse the cups rather than leaving them to dry out in your sink. To rinse the cups, swirl clean water in the cups and leave them soaked. That way, there is less likelihood of staining.


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