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How to Remove Coffee and Tea Stains From Plastic

Coffee and tea are some of the most-loved beverages by many people around the world. Unfortunately, if you drink coffee or tea from a plastic cup or mug, or you serve them from a plastic pitcher, it will eventually leave brown stains. Coffee or tea stains are unappealing on plastic cups and pitchers.

coffee tea stains on plastic

The standard method of cleaning plastic cups and other plastic containers involves using dish soap and warm water. However, this method is not strong enough to remove stubborn coffee and tea stains. While scrubbing plastic with steel wool may remove the stain, it will leave unsightly scratch marks.

Some people opt for chlorine to remove tea and coffee stains. Although chlorine is effective, it can cause any colors on plastic to fade. Also, chlorine degrades plastic over time. Instead of damaging your plastic utensils with harsh stain removal methods, we will show you how to remove coffee and tea stains from plastic safely.


Why Does Coffee and Tea Stain Plastic?

The black or brown color of coffee and tea makes them potent staining substances. They stain almost everything. In fact, coffee and tea have been used as a dye to stain items such as paper and clothing.

Unfortunately, it is often difficult to remove coffee and tea stains from plastic due to polymerization. Polymerization occurs when at least two molecules come together and react, thereby creating one large molecule. Tea and coffee contain molecules such as oxygen and an organic chemical.

Once you leave coffee or tea stains on a plastic cup for quite some time, polymerization may occur. If you do not remove the stains immediately, they will become bigger over time. Consequently, the entire cup will look completely stained.


How to Remove Coffee and Tea Stains From Plastic

If your plastic cup, pitcher, or container is stained by tea or coffee, you can remove the stains by following these simple steps:

Step 1- Take a clean rag and dampen it with water.

Step 2- Sprinkle the damp rag with 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

Step 3- Clean the cup with the rag. Clean the stained areas more thoroughly.

Step 4- Rinse the cup thoroughly. Wipe it dry if the stains have cleared.

Step 5- If the stains do not clear, fill the plastic cup with warm water. Then add 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

Step 6- Allow the baking soda and warm water solution to soak the cup for about 30 to 60 minutes.

Step 7- Pour the solution and check whether the stains have cleared. If not, repeat the process until you are satisfied.

Step 8- Rinse the cup thoroughly and wipe it dry.


How to Prevent Coffee and Tea Stains on Plastic

Rather than waiting to stain your plastic cups or mugs, you can carry out various preventative measures such as:

  • Rinse your plastic cup thoroughly with water as soon as you finish drinking your favorite cup of tea or java.
  • Any time you notice a brownish or darkish ring around the top surface of your plastic cup, scrub it gently with a sponge under running water and some dishwashing detergent. Doing so early enough will prevent the stain from worsening.



After going through this article, you now know how to remove coffee and tea stains from plastic. Remember to avoid using any harsh cleaners or scrubbers on plastic as they can scratch the surface. To make matters worse, the scratches can collect dirt and stains faster, making your plastic cups or mugs look worse. Also, treat coffee and tea stains quickly. The longer they set on plastic surfaces, the harder it will become to remove them.